Student Highlight: Emmy Cantos ’17


Hi! I’m Kanita Wang from Taiwan and Thailand. I’m a sophomore, and a likely concentrator of Anthropology. My weekly posts will highlight individuals who belong to this diverse student body, and truly embody the spirit of Brown. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people, and I hope to share a bit of their awesomeness with you all.

Few people can parallel the passion and pride that Emmy has for her culture. From her Ecuadorian roots, Emmy is able to draw up great strength and warmth, which she shares through her words, actions and interactions with her friends and family. Emmy makes a home of wherever she goes, and at the same time, makes whoever she is with feel at home.

Class Year: 2017

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Concentration: Public Policy

What classes are you taking this semester?  Intensive Portuguese, Economics of Education, Politics of Latin America – I love my classes and the way they fit together snuggly. For example, right now I’m taking Portuguese, following Brazil in my Latinamerican policy class, which has events that I go to where I can understand certain Portuguese words and get a stronger picture of the economic and political field in Prazil. The classes have really inspired me to apply for dual citizenship in Ecuador – I feel like Latinamerica is calling me.

What are your extracurricular activities?  I’m co-president of LASO (Latin American Student Organization): we work to unify the Latino community on campus and provide a space that is safe and comfortable, reminiscent of home and family. We also perform local community service in Providence, and help host events such as Sabado Gigante (Spanish version of family feud). I’m also the Events and Publicity coordinator for the Hispanic themed house, Machado, which is also where I live, and a great location for people to immerse themselves in Hispanic culture and build strong friendships with people interested in Hispanic culture. Alongside that, I’m on the E-board of the Questbridge scholarship program and greatly involved in the Catholic community at Brown.

Favorite class so far?  I’m having so much fun in Intensive Portugese: the professors and TAs are wonderful, and have such dynamic teaching styles. We practice speaking through a variety of interactive activities, videos, music (I love Portugese music – listen to Roberto Carlos!). It’s been three weeks into the course and I haven’t been bored at all – I’m so into the language that when I call my mom I try to speak to her in Portugese instead of Spanish.

Why did you choose Brown?  ADOCH (A Day of College Hill) sealed the deal for me. The Brunonians were always smiling, always sharing Brown – they were so enthusiastic about having us at Brown. There was so much school spirit, and the people here just seemed like they really loved their school. I visited some other schools and I ended up missing the vibe at Brown, I feel like of all the Ivy League, Brown is the most laid back, and maybe the most…understanding. Because the people you find here are understanding

Favorite spot at Brown? Andrews Commons, the dining/study space that was opened at the start of 2014. It’s close to my dorm, and this is where I have pho for lunch almost everyday, and where I can also study very effectively in the study area upstairs. It’s nice and calm– people respect the silence.

Fondest/funniest memory from your Brown experience so far? I have a very fond memory of when I was moving out of Brown at the end of Freshman Year. I remember waiting for my family to pick me up, with all my possessions packed up in boxes. When they arrived, it was a very exciting reunion and I remember feeling so happy that they were here to help me move my things. And at one point I remember looking into the car and noticing how much stuff I had, and suddenly thinking, “wow, I made it through Brown – I made it through a whole year at Brown – at an Ivy league school,” and I thought of how surprising it was that I never actually worried about failing a class throughout the year (well, kind of for math, but it’s math), and more importantly, that I didn’t’ lose myself. I never lost who I was when I came to Brown, my faith, my beliefs, my love for my family; if anything, I grew, I felt like I’d gained so much in terms of emotions and people and opportunities that I didn’t think I’d ever encounter – and when the car started driving away I remember thinking: “it’s time to go already?” Because life can fly by so quickly and you don’t have control over how fast it goes, how much things can change.

Words of wisdom for prospective Freshman? Believe in yourself – don’t be afraid to try things or speak out: during my first semester I was so self conscious; I was constantly worrying about what others thought of me, and for a while I thought I didn’t belong here, that I wasn’t ivy league material and didn’t have that many experiences. But then I realized that my own experiences were unique and that I could connect with others by sharing our different stories. I realized that I didn’t have to be so self-conscious because I was not here for other people, but for myself, my family for my education, and for those who I am opening the doors for within the Latino community. I think it helps to make a little chart of your motivations, reminding yourself of what drives and pushes you. For me, that’s myself, and my family.

What does Brown smell like to you? The scent of Ecuador: when the air is cold at Brown, there is a smoky feel, like that of burning woods, a bonfire, with roasting and cooking. In Ecuador, the Andes, the morning and nights are really chilly, and what people usually do there is to create bonfire to incinerate the trash. Once, last year, when I went into the bathroom at Alumnae hall, I remember thinking, “this smells like the bathrooms in Ecuador.” Sometime I have the sense that if you just changed the language and people, you would be in Ecuador.

Know someone who belongs in this column? Think YOU deserve a student highlight? Send me an email at and we’ll make it happen!



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