Nettie Brown, a 2018 biochemical engineering graduate and now 2nd year Ph.D. student, wanted to attend a diverse, Research 1 university. Receiving the Rowan Scholarship helped to make that possible.


Why did you choose to attend UGA?

I chose to attend UGA because of the amount of opportunities and resources available. During my junior year of high school, I participated in the Young Scholars Program through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The program was designed to provide a hands-on research experience for high school students while preparing them for college through seminars. Through the program, I gained many mentors and was a co-author in our publication. The opportunity to attend a Research 1 institution resonated with me. Other than research, I like the diversity of UGA. There is diversity in students, organizations and classes.

What is one of your favorite memories of your time at UGA, and why?

The one UGA experience I will always remember was my first IMPACT trip to Atlanta for LGBTQ Advocacy. Most of my group were strangers at first but by the end of the first day we felt like family. I met people with different backgrounds, majors and experiences. Although we had different backgrounds, we came together to have an impact on the LGBTQ community in Atlanta. One of the things that made this experience the most memorable was the vulnerability of the group. We did many exercises to get to know one another throughout the week and every day we would go a little deeper. We shared many laughs and tears. We made a difference in Atlanta by volunteering at thrift shops and meal packing companies. This amazing group of volunteers was comprised of leaders from organizations like UGA Heroes, RHA and SGA. Many of us still talk and hang out to this day. That is an experience I will never forget. #ServiceisLoveMadeVisible

How did you choose Engineering?

I chose engineering because I knew it would give me a problem-solving mindset to be successful in any field I pursued. I specifically decided on biochemical engineering because it is an interdisciplinary degree and UGA is one of the few schools in the country that offers that program.

In your opinion, what makes the College of Engineering special?

The College of Engineering is special in many ways. It’s a close-knit community with staff members from all across the country, small/medium class sizes, and a sense of transparency. On any given day I could run into Dean Leo along with assistant deans and school chairs and have a friendly conversation. This created a positive atmosphere in the college that made me excited to walk all the way Driftmier.

How did receiving the Rowan Scholarship impact your educational experience?

Receiving the Rowan Scholarship helped me focus on my studies and applying for graduate school during my senior year. During senior year, we are tasked with finishing classes while dedicating a lot of time to are senior deign project. And for students like myself pursuing graduate education, we complete these tasks while taking entrance exams and applying for graduate programs. So receiving this scholarship helped me put less stress on working my desk assistant job and more focus on finishing senior year and completing my graduate school applications.

How did receiving the scholarship impact your view of philanthropy?

Receiving a scholarship helped me understand the importance of giving back. My parents always taught me to “give back to the people who made you who you are” and the experience of receiving a scholarship made me want to do the same for others when I am capable.

If you could say one thing to scholarship donors, or to those who are considering giving to the college, what would it be?

First, thank you to all of our College of Engineering donors. Through your philanthropy, students are able to strive and obtain their engineering degree. To those considering giving to the college, I would say that financial contributions are always welcome but there are opportunities to give back to the college through talking to students, attending career fairs, or even becoming a mentor.

What do you miss most about UGA?

I miss the college town feel of UGA. Everything I needed was in a 10-mile radius, there were college student discounts everywhere, and not too much traffic.

What are you doing now, and what are your future plans?

I am a rising 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering between Georgia Tech and Emory. I currently work under Dr. Scott Hollister and Dr. Johnna Temenoff on hydrogel injected 3D printed scaffolds for tissue regeneration. After earning my Ph.D. I want to pursue a career in science policy. Specifically, after graduation I would like to participate in a policy fellowship to learn more about different science-based agencies’ (like NSF and NIH) roles in science policy advocacy.