Four outstanding students have been chosen to represent their class as Brown School Marshals for 2021: Hana Bekele, Sarah Kang, Angelica Santiago Gonzalez, and Katherine Irani.
Selection as a marshal is an honor. Students are nominated by faculty and other students for commitment to their scholarship, passion in 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.
Find more information on this year’s Virtual Brown School Recognition Ceremony on the Commencement page.
Master of Social Work Marshal: Hana Bekele
Concentration: International Social and Economic Development
Hana is passionate about helping people living with disabilities become empowered and live independent lives. “My intrinsic need to help others is a powerful drive that I see as my path to positive impact,” she said.
The native Ethiopian did practica with two organizations: Paraquad and the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired; and Disability Resources at WashU. After graduation, she would like to pursue her PhD and possibly make her home in St. Louis.
Hana is especially thankful to Amy Roither, Peter Coogan, Amber Brown, and Lori Siegel for their support. She’d like to give special thanks to Tammy Orahood, who was her academic advisor.
“She was always there for me whenever I encountered difficulties in my academic and personal life. I cannot express my appreciation to her.”
Master of Public Health Marshal: Sarah Kang
Concentration: Health Policy Analysis
A native of Los Angeles, California, Sarah immersed herself in the Brown School community. During her program, she served as the MPH Representative on the Student Coordinating Council, co-chair of the Brown School Alliance of Asian and Pacific Islanders (BAAPI), and as a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions.
“I plan to use public health ideas and values to inform my public policy research. My career goal is to make prescription medicines more affordable,” she said.
Sarah is grateful for everyone who formed her graduate school experience, with special thanks to Professors Ross Brownson, Tim McBride, Derek Brown, and Peg Allen; as well as Renee Parks and Sarah(s) Dexter and Birch, her employers.
“These individuals truly went above and beyond and helped keep all of those imposter syndrome feelings at bay. I always felt that I had a home and a community here and for that, I am truly grateful.”
After graduation, Sarah will return to California and pursue a PhD in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica.
Master of Social Policy Marshal: Angelica Santiago Gonzalez
MSW concentration: International Socioeconomic Development | Specialization: Sexual Health Education
Angelica honed her skills in policy during her time at the Brown School. In addition to serving as an MSP graduate assistant, she became a Graduate Policy Scholar.
Angelica served as co-chair and event planning coordinator of Mi Gente, a group that fosters community among Latinx-identified individuals and allies. She also founded and co-chaired Intersect, a student group that seeks to amply artistic voices and creations grounded in social justice and equity promotion both on campus and in the St. Louis region.
“After graduation, I plan to work with and for marginalized communities, especially surrounding child development, children’s issues, and sexual health education,” she said.
Angelica would like to thank all her professors and advisors: Karen Stewart, Amy Hart, Molly Metzger, Cynthia Williams, Miriam Jorgensen, Wynette Whitegoat, Dan Ferris, Atia Thurman, Jacque Martinez Pullen, Amber Brown, Dalychia Saah, Susan Stiritz, Brad Tucker, Janelle Gibson, Jenny Hoffman, Von Nebbitt, Joe Steensma, Sarah Moreland-Russell, Jenni Harpring, Lindsay Stark, Jessica Levy, Joni Chester, and Melissa Jonson-Reid.
Master of Social Work/Master of Social Public Health Dual-Degree Marshal: Katherine (Katie) Irani
MSW Concentration: Domestic Social and Economic Development MPH: Generalist track
Katie is passionate about equity and liberation – and that was exemplified by her activities during her Brown School tenure. She worked with WashU student worker unions, serving one year as a steward. She also chose two respected practicum sites dedicated to erasing barriers: Arch City Defenders, and Fathers and Families Support Center.
Katie is excited about staying in touch with her fellow dual-degree graduates. “They have been my constant support system and built-in community since our first day here, and are already doing amazing things!” She will put her own dual-degree skills to good use after graduation as a Health Scientist and Presidential Management Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
Katie would like to thank her cohort and fellow graduates; Mykael Ornbaun (a Brown School alum); professors Darrell Hudson and Akilah Collins-Anderson, Molly Metzger, Rodrigo Siqueira-Reis, Angela Hobson, Ragini Maddipati, and Shruti Desai; and staff members Katie Von De Linde, Katie Noonan, and Danielle Bristow.