Student Highlight: Queen Nefertiti Shabazz ’17

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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.

Class: 2017

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Concentration(s): Double concentration in Anthropology and Education

Classes this semester: Culture & Health; Culture & Human Behavior; Sounds & Symbols: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology; Anthropology & Global Social Problems

What has been your favorite class so far? It’s a tie between Poetry & Involvement in the Community with Rick Benjamin and Native American Environmental Health Movements with Elizabeth Hoover. There was a great focus on community learning that made me feel more deeply engaged in all my academic senses. I was able to put my learning into practice, tangibly enrich myself from the knowledge that I acquired from my readings. For example, with professor Hoover, we learned about issues affecting the different tribes in America such as the Navajo and the Eskimo people, and had the opportunity to meet a Navajo women whose life and culture were impacted by the problems of erosion and pollution in the environment. In Rick Benjamin’s class, we read poetry, learned about poets and then applied our learning to a community in Providence.

What are your extracurricular activities? I’m an art teacher/therapist at a community art center in Cranston. I also intern for a healing arts program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where I’ve created my own program called slam therapy — “Words While You Wait.” Through this program, I introduce classic literature and visual arts to the children who are waiting to be treated in the emergency room. I am also founder and leader of Radical Artists, which is a group dedicated to engaging the community in learning about art therapy, using art as tool for social change, communal growth and development. Stemming off from Radical Artists, I am also working to start a venture that would facilitate communities in using art and creativity in their culture to develop and improve their environments.

What is your favorite spot on or around campus? Near the campus is Prospect Park, which the local Rhode Islanders call “The View.” It has a statue of Roger Williams and an amazing view that overlooks downtown Providence. It’s a wonderful place to relax.

Can you share a fond memory that you have had at Brown? The time I first learned about the secret part of Faunce. My friend and I were getting iced coffee from the Blue Room, when he said, I have to show you something. He led me up to the secret floor, and when we got there, it was amazing. This was a nice warm day in April, and we could see that the snow was gone, the sun was just coming out and it was starting to get a little warm. The day was just beautiful – we hung out in the classroom for an hour and talked about life.

What is your favorite time of the day? Saturday mornings. I love the freshness of Saturday mornings; the way it feels when I wake up, knowing that I don’t have too many obligations for the Saturday, and that it’ll be everything I want it to be. I’m not locked into anyone’s schedule – the time is all mine.

Words of wisdom for prospective first years? Have fun. Be yourself, and if you don’t know who yourself is, try to discover it by having fun.

Know someone who belongs in this column? Think YOU deserve a student highlight? Send me an email at sheau-yuan_wang@brown.eduand we’ll make it happen!

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