Student Highlight: David Wiegn ’19

David
David, on the left.

Hey guys! I’m Eimi (pronounced ‘Amy’) and I’m your correspondent for Student Highlight this year, a column dedicated to highlighting the scholars who attend this institution. While I’ve deduced that there’s no ‘typical’ Brown student, I hope to share a small glimpse into the wonderful and diverse individuals of this community.

If you’re reading this David: You’re welcome.*

[*Backstory: I needed a picture of David for this post but since he is ‘off the grid’ as he likes to say (no social media of any sort), I asked to take a picture of him while I interviewed him at dinner, to which he replied, “You can’t do this right now Eimi, I look so janky eating this quesadilla.” So he sent me one of himself, which is quite generous of me because usually I just pick one off Facebook or something (with permission of course) where the student looks presentable, make sure the student is the only subject in the picture, and just post it. And then I got even more generous by allowing his friend to stay in said picture per his request, although that’s as far as it went because I certainly didn’t photoshop out that hover hand.]

When I was a wee freshman in the orchestra, a then-sophomore girl named Becca (shoutout to my first stand partner in the orchestra) decided to ‘adopt’ me into her circle of orchestra friends, who are now the people that I am closest to in the orchestra. I’m realizing now that Becca and Co. are seniors and that I still have one more year of orchestra to go through when they graduate, so this year I decided to adopt a freshman of my own. That freshman is David.

It’s no coincidence that I was also David’s first stand partner in the orchestra (I hope you’re getting the message, David). I feel like there’s always this unspoken upperclassmen-underclassmen tension with freshman that’s never really broken, but David this year literally came in like a wrecking ball and decided that wasn’t going to be a thing anymore. I probably know more about David than some people in the orchestra that I’ve supposedly known for longer, and I’m really glad I’ve gotten to know him in the capacity that I have so far. It’s hard containing him in an adjective because he’s so… interesting? I tried. See for yourself.

Name: David Wiegn

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Concentration: Economics, Latin American and Caribbean Studies (also an 8-year PLME student)

What classes are you taking this semester? Pride and Prejudice in the Development of Scientific Theories (BIOL 0190P), Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure, (CHEM 0330), Principles of Economics (ECON 0110), Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics (HISP 0710C)

Favorite class thus far? Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics (HISP 0710C) with Professor Silvia Sobral. It combines 2 things I really love: Spanish and Linguistics. We work in smaller groups so we can practice our Spanish, and we focus a lot on regional dialects so there’s a large practical component to the class as well. Professor Sobral is extremely knowledgeable and available to answer questions outside of class (case in point: she responded to me the night before the exam with a 3-paged email, which was really helpful and awesome so I appreciated her for doing that!). She’s from Spain, and that’s a dialect of Spanish that I haven’t encountered too much so it’s nice that I get a variety of Spanish dialects all in one class.

What do you do on or off campus? I’m in the orchestra and Model UN, and I’m also part of an organization called Generation Citizen that teaches action-based civics in inner-city middle and high schools. I’m a democracy coach for an 8th-grade current events class at Roger Williams Middle School, and our class has chosen police and community relations as their focus issue for the semester. We’re currently working to pass the Providence Community Safety Act through the city council by circulating petition, and we’ll be holding meetings with elective representatives soon. Working with middle school students brings a new perspective to learning; it’s fun seeing so much energy and vitality. They’re really passionate about the issue and really optimistic about the impact that they can make.

Favorite place on or around campus and study spot? Classrooms in Sayles Hall; they’re old but have new technology. You can open the windows out into the Main Green and it’s really nice and aesthetically pleasing. My study spot is the Rock Reading Room.

Favorite Brown memory or experience? Waterfire. It happened the first weekend of orientation, which was a weird time because I was in this flux of wanting to be at Brown but also wanting to be home. I went with my unit-mates and it was really crowded and a little cold. There were all these strangers around me, but I had just arrived at college so I was also technically a stranger there too? And I sat down and my feet dangled over the river and all of a sudden this really eery music came on and it was a weird, poignant, melancholic tune and then the boat lit up the fire pits alongside the river, followed by the sound of wood crackling, and then the faint hint of heat emanating from the bonfire… it created a very spiritual mood, ripe for introspection. It forced me to examine why I’m here.

Why Brown? The intellectual freedom of taking whatever classes you want that comes along with being a Brown student is not something you can find on any college campus. There’s this creative writing class in Spanish that I want to take S/NC to explore my writing skills in another language, and it would be a huge risk for me to take it for an actual grade. The S/NC option allows me the privilege to not stress out about it too much. I also didn’t want to be a biology major like every other pre-med student out there, and PLME allows me to explore other disciplines. I hate saying this, but knowing that you have a place in the medical school here is liberating because I know I can always come back to that. I’m thinking of taking some time off between undergrad and medical school to explore different facets of the world, whether that be through NGOs or graduate school; the options are limitless. Speaking to Brown in general, I value the careful attention that this institution pays on being at the forefront of cultural sensitivity and the emphasis it places on not continuing society’s privilege. The fact that this blog exists as a resource for students who are unable to visit because of financial or other reasons shows that Brown cares about serving all communities.

Quesadilla order at Jo’s? Mushrooms, corn, LOTS of jalapeños (because I’m from Dallas), and cheese. And don’t forget about the bag of baby carrots so I can fill up my meal credit.  

Know someone who should be featured or want to get in touch with a highlighted student? Shoot me an email at eimi_satoh@brown.edu!

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