Student Highlight: Nikko Pasanen ’17

Nikko

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.

Nikko Pasanen… how do I even begin to explain Nikko Pasanen?

Nikko Pasanen is flawless. I hear his hair’s insured for $10,000. One time he punched me in the face… it was awesome. (All joking aside, Nikko does have pretty nice hair. Not entirely sure if it’s insured, but thankfully he hasn’t punched me in the face).

Last summer, I worked for the Undergraduate Admission Office with 7 other students, Nikko being one of them, extending many services to prospective students visiting Brown. It was hard not to get along with a great cohort of people, especially in the crazy, humid, tan-inducing heat and so we got to know each other as we duked it out over who got to stay in the comfort of air-conditioning while the others braved the frying sun to give tours.

Nikko is author to some of the most ridiculous actions I’ve seen and phrases I’ve heard at Brown, but not in the outright Key-and-Peele manner that you might be thinking. His sense of humor is enigmatic especially because you don’t see it coming, but it delivers and executes in a manner that leaves his audience on the floor. This quality, combined with his sassy wit and rare but overtly heart-warming displays of his soft side (coining the nickname ‘Nikkie Poo’ amongst our peers) has allowed me to bond with Nikko in ways that I usually wouldn’t with the average person.

Name: Nikko Pasanen 

Hometown: South Burlington, VT 

Concentration: International Relations

What classes are you taking this semester? Essential Statistics (APMA 0650), Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON 1210), Introduction to Oceanography (GEOL 0070), Classics of Political Economy (POLS 1415)

Favorite class thus far? My current political economy class (POLS 1415). Professor Mark Blake is a super funny Scottish guy and does a good job of breaking down classic readings by authors like Adam Smith and David Ricardo. He makes sense of the works in the contexts they were written back then and also in today’s contexts. The other professor, Professor Alex Gourevitch, is a really cool Marxist thinker and explains things really well.

My GLISP that I did while studying abroad in Cuba on the role of sports in Cuban pop culture and how it’s changed before, during, and after the revolution is also a favorite. I focused mainly on baseball. I had so many great opportunities, like getting to talk with baseball players in Cuba and watching the Penn State baseball team play at Cuba. While I was there, the Cuban baseball players who had defected were invited back to the country and that was pretty cool to see. I’m hoping to do a thesis on it, where I can apply sport to the framework of Cuban culture.

What do you do on or off campus? A lot of my other extracurriculars revolve around athletics. I’m the sports director at WBRU; I’m on air around 9-10 pm talking about funny sports stories. My DJ name is McBuckets. I have a job with athletic communications where I update and maintain the website, track statistics for hockey, and announce games for wrestling, gymnastics, softball, baseball, field hockey, soccer, and volleyball. I’m a senior staff writer at the Brown Daily Herald and a tour guide, and I also studied abroad in Cuba last semester.

Favorite place on or around campus and favorite place study spot? Smitty B and the Watson Institute, especially the bamboo garden when it’s nice out. I like playing wiffle ball there.

Favorite Brown memory or experience? At the end of spring semester my sophomore year, my friends and I sat at the top of the fire escape at Littlefield Hall and listened to 1979 and Tonight Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins. Some of us (including me) were leaving Brown for a long time to study abroad so it was really emotional but also very beautiful.

Why Brown? I remember my sophomore year there was this one day where my friends (most of whom study computer science) were working on designing some form of Google Maps and then a few minutes later were just sitting in front of the TV watching and cheering on the Warriors. That kind of blend and balance is nice to have, where students are doing incredibly cool things but also know to have a good time and you find that in a lot of different ways, not just in computer science and sports. The Open Curriculum isn’t about just the curriculum at Brown either. When I was designing my GLISP for Cuba, I had a professor help me out and she was so supportive despite the fact that she barely knew me. She helped me make it come to life and that was really neat.

Alter ego? Frozone.

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

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