Student Highlight: Adriel Barrios-Anderson ’17

Adriel (left) and yours truly debuting at Carnegie Hall with the Brown University Orchestra!

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.

4Y: Part 3 of 4.

Adriel was my first point of contact in forming what is now known as the 4Y String Quartet. We got to know each other during our first semester at Brown as we were both wee freshman members of the orchestra, and I knew if I was going to play violin with someone else in a quartet it would be him. The statement still holds true today! Except when our quartet goes into silly overdrive at late-night rehearsals, which pretty much looks something like this.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you what Adriel is doing at any point in time. You know the annoying kid in high school who did everything, like LITERALLY everything? That is Adriel, minus the annoying. He is a valuable member of the quartet, does research, takes private music lessons, is a teaching assistant, was a member of the men’s crew team and the orchestra, takes 4 (or at times, 5) classes and still manages to sleep and socialize. I find myself always asking, ‘How does he do it all?!?!’ But even in his constant busy state, Adriel is still one of the nicest and most dedicated people I know at Brown who never fails to disappoint. Perhaps one day someone will make a musical about him. Let’s do it.

Name: Adriel Barrios-Anderson

Hometown: Houston, TX

Concentration: Neuroscience (also an 8-year PLME student)

What classes are you taking this semester? Language and Medicine in Practice (ANTH 1311), Statistical Inference I (APMA 1650), Development of the Nervous System (NEUR 1930C), Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics (PHYS 0060)

Favorite class thus far? Neural Systems (NEUR 1030) with Professor Monica Linden. It was my first in-depth exploration of what neuroscience really is and how complex biological systems give rise to sensory and motor control. Professor Linden is also excellent at explaining complex concepts, and I gained a great mentor in the process of taking (and later being a teaching assistant!) for the course. Doing well in the class positively reaffirmed that I was studying something I love at Brown.

What do you do on or off campus? I’m a member of the 4Y Quartet, where I play the first violin! I also do research in a lab run by Dr. Barbara Stonestreet over by the medical school; it’s a perinatal brain injury lab that investigates treatments for neonatal and perinatal brain injury and examines the ways in which we can curb the impacts of those injuries to prevent neurodevelopmental problems. Additionally, I’m a teaching assistant for NEUR 1030 in which I teach section and help students learn about processes that make up the nervous system. I’m also a part of the New Scientist Program, a mentor program that supports undergraduate minority students at Brown in science education and cultivates their love for science.

Favorite place study spot? Sidney Frank Hall, 1st floor. It’s this huge, open space with high ceilings and makes me feel like I’m not alone in this world…

Favorite Brown memory or experience? My sophomore fall, I had the opportunity as a member of the Brown University Orchestra to go play at Carnegie Hall, which was one of the best life experiences I’ve had. It was beautiful!

Why Brown? I applied to Brown during the early decision cycle because I really liked the space the school provided, where I felt like I could study what I really wanted (Neuroscience) in a research environment but also in an environment that was known to be a happy campus. Being accepted into the PLME program was also a big component in my decision to come here.

Pick a composer to be for a day. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky! I would like to know, even if only for a moment, what it was like to have the most beautiful, expressive, and emotive music just floating around in his head. I would want to learn how he was able to breathe the most sincere and nuanced of emotions into sound that still touches people today. I have felt especially inspired by his work in my own life, and it’s a good excuse to be in a composer’s shoes!

Know someone who should be featured or want to get in touch with a highlighted student? Send me an email at!


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