Presidential Hosts: Bios

Presidential Host

Dakotah Blue Rice ’16

Dakotah Blue Rice ‘16 is originally from Huntsville, Alabama. At the age of twelve, Dakotah moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he resides with both his mother and grandmother. Dakotah intends to major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He hopes to morph his studies into a career first in investment banking and eventually in venture capital focusing on developing economies. Outside of Econ, Dakotah’s passions include watching reality television and helping students at a local Providence High School learn and compete as policy debaters as a coaching assistant and coordinator with the Rhode Island Urban Debate League. In addition to being a member of the Undergraduate Finance Board, he serves as the finance chair for BSU and the production chair for the Queer Alliance.

Presidential Host

Mark Villanueva ’15

Mark Villanueva was born in Warwick, Rhode Island to Filipino parents and raised in the adjoining town of West Warwick. Grafted into the Brown community at a young age, he learned to play piano at Steinert and wandered the halls of the Anthropology department, long before college was a consideration. In 2011, he graduated from West Warwick High School after holding multiple positions within and participating in a wide variety of extracurricular activities including drama, choir, and student government. As a Brown University student, Mark is currently pursuing a Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations degree. In his spare time on campus, he works for Media Services, and has taken part in activities with Brown’s Fantasy Gaming Society and the Branch Campus Ministry as well as Sacred Harp Singing. Off campus, he enjoys time with his family, continues playing music recreationally, and is an active member of his community.

Presidential Host

Robert Weiner ’16

Rob grew up among the rich mix of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, he developed a deep appreciation for the vast landscapes, diverse ways of life, and Pre-Columbian ruins scattered throughout his birthplace. At Brown, these interests have manifested in Rob’s dual concentration in Archaeology and Anthropology, where his interests range from the Late Bronze Age Collapse in the Mediterranean to the practice of indigenous archaeology alongside local populations. Rob is a dedicated practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism in the Shangpa Kagyu lineage and actively seeks to integrate the practice of meditation, mindfulness, and compassion into his daily life. He is also a leader with the Brown Meditation Community. Additionally, he enjoys hiking, traveling, reading and writing poetry, and training with kettle bells.

Presidential Host

David Eugene Johnson ’16

David was born in Harlem, New York and grew up in a town called Greenwood Lake, located in upstate New York. He is concentrating in Neuroscience with a focus in education. His dream is to attend medical school and conduct autism-related research. To have a deeper understanding of his interest in autism, Mr. Johnson started assisting in research in Downtown Providence at Woman and Infants Center, as this was his first real step in autism related research. At Brown, he participates in various groups, such as the Black Student Union (this year, he holds Community Service Chair), the Brotherhood, the Cognitive Neuroscience Departmental Undergraduate Group (DUG), and the Minority Peer Counselor Program at the Third World Center. He has also participated in the Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM). He credits his strong drive and willingness to succeed with his mother's consistent encouragement to be humble. He firmly believes that humility is an essential human trait and a major component of personal and professional success.

Presidential Host

Jonathan Vu ’15

Jonathan is a Public Policy concentrator from York, Pennsylvania, and a member of Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education. In his time at Brown, Jonathan has been actively involved with student government and has served on UCS, the Strategic Planning Committee for Financial Aid, the BUCC, and as President of the Class of 2015. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys martial arts, weight lifting, cooking, and getting involved with his church back home. He is blessed to have a loving family and amazing friends, and is thoroughly enjoying his Brown experience.

Presidential Host

Liliana Sykes ’15

Liliana is from Seekonk, MA. She is concentrating in Art History. On campus, she is involved with the Bruin Club, where she gives tours and helps plan ADOCH, as well as Brown Lecture Board, and Brown's fashion magazine "Unhemmed." Additionally, she loves working her job at the Admission Office. Liliana studied abroad in Florence, Italy where she fostered her love of art and Italian food. She loves Brown so much and is excited to be on campus.

Presidential Host

Erin Kelley ’15

Erin Kelley '15 grew up in and often talks about San Antonio, Texas. Now an Environmental Studies concentrator at Brown, Erin can routinely be found at the Urban Environmental Laboratory, the cozy building on Angell Street that houses the Center for Environmental Studies, where she works as a TA. On Thursdays, though, Erin is more likely to be at the Brown/RISD Hillel building, helping to coordinate food distribution with Brown Market Shares. Her involvement in that program since her first year at Brown is rooted in her interest in food systems, a subject she studies academically as an important complement to her primary focus on environmental health. Erin also loves to go backpacking and has enjoyed doing so as a leader for Brown's Outdoor Leadership Training program. (Abroad)

Presidential Host

Yen Tran ’14

Yen was born in Vietnam and raised in Southern California. At Brown, he concentrates in Ethnic Studies, but has soft spots for social science and applied science fields as well. Outside of academics, Yen works as an archivist and office assistant for the Department of Modern Culture and Media and as an event coordinator for the Sarah Doyle Women's Center. He enjoys cooking, running, watching films, and doing collaborative works in his free time. He also loves traveling and meeting new people, and is very grateful to have had the opportunities to live in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Granada (Spain) and, of course, Providence within the last few years.

Presidential Host

Shaan Ahmed MD ’18

Shaan Ahmed is a first year medical student at Brown Medical School originally from Frederick, Maryland. As a student in the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), Shaan concentrated in Biology and Economics and graduated from Brown in 2014. While an undergraduate, he was an active member in Brown’s Model UN club, attending conferences at other universities, chairing for the annual high school conference (BUSUN), and serving as Co-Secretary General for the annual collegiate conference (BUCS). In his free time, Shaan enjoys traveling, playing basketball, swimming, and more recently, trying to learn to cook. He is looking forward to getting to know Providence better over the next four years.

Presidential Host

Blain Anderson ’16

Blain Anderson is from Pylesville, Maryland, a small town an hour north of Baltimore. He is double concentrating in economics and biology while at Brown, with the intent of applying to medical school after graduation. Each summer he returns home to assist in managing a 55-acre produce farm and orchard in his town, which he has played an integral role in running over the last seven years. His interest in agriculture and food systems has strongly influenced his life at Brown as well. He is a coordinator for the Brown Market Shares Program, a food distribution program that connects members of the Brown community with local food producers. He is also a part of the Swearer Center’s TRI-Lab on healthy food access in addition to serving as a Meiklejohn Peer Advisor. He also enjoys hiking, fishing, dirtbiking, and spending time with his friends and family.

Presidential Host

Camilla Brandfield-Harvey

Camilla Brandfield-Harvey is a senior from Houston, Texas concentrating in English. Though rooted in Texas, Camilla left home early to attend Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Now she is proud to call Brown her second home.

Outside of her English courses, which range from Jacobean drama to postmodern literary theory, Camilla writes weekly news articles as the Crime and Sexual Assault beat reporter for the Brown Daily Herald, reviews screenplay submissions for the Ivy Film Festival as part of its screenplay staff, and teaches high school students sex education with the Sexual Health Advocacy through Peer Education (SHAPE) program through the Swearer Center for Public Service. She also studied abroad at King's College in London last fall, where she studied British literature and wrote theatre criticism under The Guardian's theatre critic Michael Billington.

Camilla plans to attend law school after graduation, where she will explore her interests in entertainment law and sexual and gender harassment law.

Presidential Host

Alejandro Claudio ’18

Alejandro Claudio ’18 was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic and, at the age of eight, migrated to Providence, Rhode Island where he has lived since then. Alejandro hopes to pursue an independent concentration in Political Science, Philosophy and Economics. Outside of academics, community service has been an essential component of his experience at Brown. Through involvement in the Rhode Island Urban Debate League and other community based programs, Alejandro is able to work with students in the Providence School District and provides insight into the experience of a first-generation student of color at Brown. After Brown, Alejandro hopes to attend law school, get involved with corporate law, and start his own biomedical engineering company.

Presidential Host

Oksana Goretaya ’17

Oksana Goretaya was born in East Greenwich, RI, but grew up in the town of West Warwick, RI. Oksana comes from a large Russian family, lining up as fourth oldest among her siblings. At Brown, Oksana is a co-captain of the Women's Rugby Team, and also works at the IT Service Center. With hopes and dreams of becoming a doctor since the fifth grade, Oksana is studying either Chemistry or Chemistry Biology on a pre-med track. She recently finished taking an EMT-Basic class and hopes to pursue experience in pre-hosptial care. Aside from sports and work, Oksana enjoys hiking, skiing, ice skating, camping, and listening to music in her spare time! After Brown, Oksana hopes to travel outside the U.S. and seek out research opportunities before entering medical school.

Presidential Host

Jasmin Jones ’17

Jasmin Jones is a first-generation student from Los Angeles, California. Outside of hosting, Jasmin is also an e-board member of Bruin Club where she serves as a Minority Recruitment Intern for the Admission Office. This job includes working to increase the retention rate of Students of Color at Brown. She also is a Student Info-Sessions leader, and a tour guide. Her freshman year, she co-founded OBSIDIAN magazine, which is a literary creative space for Black students to have an outlet to express different aspects of their identities on Brown's campus. Jasmin plans to major in Africana Studies and Public Policy, with a sub-focus in Economics. She also hopes to study abroad in the summer or fall in Madagascar to study Healthcare and Government systems.

Presidential Host

Caleb Miller ’16

After Caleb Miller grew up on the plains outside Vermillion, South Dakota, Caleb has spent his first two years at Brown diving into his two biggest passion: history and sports. He is pursuing the honors program in the history department, and outside of the classroom enjoys his posts as Sports Editor of the Brown Daily Herald, Sports Director of WBRU Radio, and member of the Brown Club Baseball team. He liked his first two years so much that he couldn't stop talking about them, so he serves as a campus tour guide and welcome specialist at the Admissions Office as well as the Recreation centers. His journey is guided by his parents, sister, and three brothers, the coolest people he knows.

Presidential Host

Sean O’Keefe ’17

Sean O’Keefe was born and grew up on the Upper West Side of New York City. Concentrating in Archaeology at Brown, Sean also competes with the university's varsity sailing club team and is a member of the Delta Tau fraternity on campus. Additionally, Sean is a member of the Brown Lecture Board, a student committee that invites speakers to Brown. He is an active member of the Brown-RISD Catholic community and his faith informs many aspects of his academic, social, and athletic life. In his spare time, Sean enjoys playing the guitar, practicing meditation, and hiking in upstate New York.

Presidential Host

Alison Oliveros ’17

Alison Oliveros was born in Colombia. At the age of four she came to the US and she currently resides in Pawtucket, RI with her mother and younger sister. She is pre-med and concentrating in Public Health. She loves animals and in her free time she enjoys being with her family and playing volleyball. Additionally she loves her job at the CIT and is happy to be at Brown.

Presidential Host

Sam Rubinstein ’17

Sam Rubinstein ’17 was raised in West Caldwell, NJ and studies Public Policy and Economics at Brown. He is passionate about student governance, and serves on several University committees, including Honorary Degree, Residence Council, and Campus Life Advisory Board. He also is highly active in Hillel, conducts interviews with prominent figures for the Brown Political Review, is pledging Zeta Delta Xi fraternity, and is an avid runner. Sam seeks to advance social justice through evidence-based government policy, and hopes to get the quantitative and qualitative skills at Brown needed to do that.

Presidential Host

Isabelle Thenor-Louis ’16

Isabelle Thenor-Louis was raised in Great Neck, NY, a small town on Long Island, where she resides with her mother, father, and brother. At Brown, Isabelle is on the pre-medical track and concentrates in Anthropology. Outside of academics, she serves as the University Affairs Chair for our campus' Black Student Union. During her sophomore year, she also served as a Minority Peer Counselor through the Brown Center for Students of Color. As an avid lover of the journalism and communications realm, Isabelle also serves as a staff writer for the Brown Daily Herald. In addition, she is also a DJ for 95.5 WBRU's 360 Experience in Sound. As a Presidential Host, Isabelle looks forward to serving Brown in this exceptional capacity while discussing ways we can push our University to greater heights in education and service.

Presidential Host

Matt Wood ’17

Matt was born in sunny San Diego, California and raised in Southern California as well as in Marietta, Georgia. He intends to concentrate in Public Health with interests in globalization and foreign languages. And at Brown, he is involved in a myriad of activities and organizations, including the Undergraduate Finance Board, Greek Life, the Queer Alliance, and the Sexual Health Awareness Group. He just got back from a summer abroad experience in South America, and is looking forward to the adventures to come. And when he is not planning his next trip, he enjoys dancing, watching foreign films, and spoken word.

Presidential Host

Ivania Zepeda ’16

Ivania was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She intends to double concentrate in Ethnic Studies and in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. Currently, Ivania works for the Third World Center as a Minority Peer Counselor, providing mentoring and support for first-year students of color. Aside from hosting events for President Paxson, Ivania also volunteers for the Sarah Doyle Women Center and manages Brown's Salsa Club. In her spare time, Ivania blogs for ‘I’m First,’ an online community founded by the Center for Student Opportunity to provide first-generation college students with information and support on their path to and through college. Her other interests include: dancing Salsa and running marathons with her mother. After Brown, Ivania hopes to attend law school to serve as an advocate for her community.