Meet the Brown School Student Marshals, Class of 2020

Community Engagement; PhD; Social Work; Students

Congratulations to Braveheart Gillani, Omoluyi Adesanya, Shanshan Du, and Tamsen Reed –- these outstanding students have been chosen as the 2020 Brown School Student Marshals. 

Selection as a marshal is an honor. Students are nominated by faculty and other students for commitment to their scholarship, passion for their practica and contributions to the school community. Traditionally, student marshals have been tasked with carrying the degree banners and leading their respective classes into the Brown School Recognition Ceremony. Learn about this year’s Virtual Brown School Recognition Ceremony on the Commencement page.

Learn more about this year’s marshals, their time at the Brown School and what comes next for these changemakers.

Master of Social Work Marshal: Braveheart Gillani
MSW Concentration: Individualized, combining elements of Social & Economic Development and Mental Health

Braveheart’s nominators cited his kindness, his advocacy and his dedication to the Brown School community.  As the MSW representative on the Student Coordinating Council, he advocated for inclusive practices, including the name and pronoun placards that are now in use throughout School classrooms.

During his time at the Brown School, he was a research assistant in the Social Systems Design Lab, where he worked on system dynamics models to better predict policy outcomes and helped facilitate modeling sessions across various communities. 

“It’s hard to find solutions when you don’t understand the problem,” he said. “Community-based system dynamics helps us break out of our silos to better understand the mental models of others and clearly visualize systems driving our society.”

Braveheart has used his systems-focused training at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center. He is also part of the first cohort for St. Louis Queer + Support Helpline, and during his concentration practicum, he helped lead RSVP’s Men’s Project, a student group that helps men examine concepts of masculinity. 

After graduation, he will pursue his PhD at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he plans to utilize system dynamics to research issues that impact the queer community.

Master of Public Health Marshal: Omoluyi Adesanya
MPH Concentration: Global Health; Dual Degree MBA Student at Olin Business School

Luyi Adesanya came to the Brown School after completing a fellowship at the National Institute of Health in Washington D.C. When she was ready to start her graduate education, the opportunity to study public health within social entrepreneurship and a sustainable business framework led her to the Brown School.

“This program has given me the opportunity to see the interconnectedness of the disciplines. I think it gave me a different perspective on healthcare. Especially now with the pandemic, we see how much we need social work efforts and how all of this is still layered by business and economics,” Luyi says.

Luyi, the daughter of Nigerian and German immigrants, has served as a fellow for the university’s Africa Initiative. Through her involvement with the local National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) minority health student advocacy group, she has advanced the availability of public health screenings for underserved populations within St. Louis City and County.

After graduating, Luyi looks forward to attending the public health sciences doctoral program at the University of Texas, furthering her interests in translational research, and dissemination and implementation sciences. She hopes to eventually work in lower-resource settings, developing and implementing sustainable and effective health systems.

Master of Social Policy Marshal: Shanshan Du

Shanshan Du knows that the key to good work and positive impact is expressing passion in all of the work that she does. 

“I want to believe in myself, believe that I can make a difference through a commitment to work, and make a future that we want to see. Passion is really important,” she said. 

Shanshan has been a dedicated researcher at the Brown School, focused on problems related to aging and working with Shenyang Guo, assistant vice chancellor for International Affairs – Greater China. She has even been able to apply her research to her interest in social entrepreneurship. Shanshan recently participated in Olin Business School’s Big Ideabounce, a campus-wide pitching contest, where she developed an idea around supporting older adult caregivers. 

Shanshan is in a dual degree program with a partner university in China. After completing a summer policy research practicum, she will return to Renmin University in Beijing to complete her master of demography program. 

Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health Dual-Degree Marshal: Tamsen Reed
MSW Concentration: Individualized; MPH Concentration: Generalist

When Tamsen Reed realized that the vital voices of social workers were not being included in voices around climate adaptation, she realized she had found her niche.

Tamsen developed her own research practicum with the help of professor Christine Ekenga to look deeper into mitigation efforts around coastal erosion. She also started the Climate Change at Brown group, which is dedicated to giving students more professional development opportunities, while also emphasizing that all Brown School students are going to have to navigate the social and health impacts of climate issues at some point.  She believes public health and social work practitioners can offer a much-needed perspective: an awareness of vulnerabilities and inequities that have been built into our current systems, and how they may be exacerbated by climate issues.

Tamsen volunteered her time in the Admissions Office as well as in the coordination of Research Without Walls, the annual student research symposium. Tamsen says she chose the Brown School because she recognized early on that she would find other dedicated and passionate people like herself. 

“We have so many incredible people who have come from very different places to do very different things. What unites everyone, in my opinion, is the dedication with which we do it,” she says. 

She’ll be entering a PhD program in City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall where she will continue working on climate mitigation issues.