Student of Color Perspectives: People Do Research in High School???


Hi! I’m Naomie Shembo and I will be one of your first-year bloggers for Student of Color Perspectives. I blog about what it’s like the be #Black@Brown, in order to give some insight on what it is like to be a student of color here!

So, this semester I became a tour guide (it’s actually been a goal of mine since I got to Brown, so I’m super hyped about it), and I just started given solo tours. I’ve noticed that a lot of prospective students are worried about not having done research in high school. A worry which I totally understand, Brown is an Ivy League school, meaning people assume that you basically have to have won a Nobel Peace Prize before you get in. But (thank the Ivy League gods), it’s not like that.

Before I got to Brown, I didn’t even know that high schoolers could get involved into research. Much less did I know anyone at my high school who was involved in any sort of research project. So I was shocked when I got to Brown and heard people telling stories about the ground-breaking research that had been apart of in high school. And for a while, I let those stories impact how much I thought I deserved to be at Brown. I would tell myself that maybe this was all a mistake. Maybe I took someone else’s spot. After all, I had barely completed a lab at in my high school chemistry class, much less worked in one.

But then, I realized that I hadn’t taken part in any sort of research because my school just didn’t have the resources to fund independent studies. I have friends here who had labs at their school, or who did research at the universities in their city. But in my humbly middle class high school, we didn’t have that kind of thing. And it’s okay.

Brown knows what kind of resources your school district has, and they won’t hold a lack of them against you. Don’t feel like you don’t have access to a school like Brown just because research isn’t something that is available to you. Just do everything you can do in terms of what’s available to you. And if that means just volunteering at your local middle school that is okay. You’re still Ivy League potential- research or not.

Until next week,

Naomie Shembo

I am always here if you have any questions or just want to learn more about Brown! Just email me at and I will get back to you ASAP.


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