Pursuing a Love of Science

Alexandria Brown ’14 is thrilled to finally put her passion for science into practice. She recently started working full-time as an environmental scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a B.A. in chemical engineering. “I’m very happy to have landed a great job in Mount Sinai’s environmental health and safety department,” she says. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for me.”

Alexandria’s love of science began at Harlem Academy. “Science was my favorite class in middle school,” she says. “The experiments we conducted really piqued my interest.” With encouragement from her teachers, Alexandria’s confidence in her science skills grew, and she found herself enjoying the work more and more. “Some of the topics were really hard to understand, but I wanted to learn and had fun along the way.”

Rigorous engagement with the scientific method and even working alongside college professors while at Harlem Academy played a role in Alexandria’s career choice. “I had so many fond memories of school trips where we actually did science that when it was time to apply to college, a research university like RPI was a no-brainer.”

Although her college journey wasn't always easy, Alexandria relied on a line from our School Creed to help navigate through it: I seek help when I need it. “The coursework at RPI became increasingly hard with each passing year. But I reached out for help from my teachers and other classmates when things got tough.”

Now, six months into her new job, Alexandria loves the work she gets to do every day. “My current project involves managing hazardous chemical inventory for the chemical labs onsite, and I’m looking forward to where this role takes me. Chemical engineers are needed in many industries: gas, cosmetics, agriculture, pharmaceutical, environmental, and more.”

But her career is more than a calling, she says – it’s an opportunity to open the door for young girls following in her footsteps. “Women of color remain underrepresented in STEM. I believe in the power of representation, and I’m glad that I can be a role model.”

Thank you to the Harry Winston Hope Foundation, Con Edison, and Columbia Community Service for sponsoring our middle school science program.
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Harlem Academy is an independent school (grades K-8) that drives equity of opportunity for promising students, guiding them to thrive at the highest academic levels and one day make a mark on the world.