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Hometown: Oakland, CA
high school: Marin Academy
college: Princeton University
MAJOR: Public Policy
GRAD. PROGRAM: University of California, Berkeley (2010, PhD)
Much like his Ron Brown Scholar peers, Oakland native Brandon Nicholson has always felt a sense of commitment to promoting equity in the public realm, and particularly in the world of public education. At Princeton University, Brandon pursued his thirst for thinking about solutions to public issues by studying public policy in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Though his main focus was in educational policy, he had the opportunity to engage in semester-long policy task forces on family law (particularly with regards to how childsupport payments are distributed to families receiving public assistance) and undocumented immigration enforcement policies. Brandon spent also much of his time at Princeton involved in community service. He worked for Community House, a student-coordinated service organization on campus, and engaged in projects including mentoring, tutoring, teaching, and more.
Upon graduating, he received the Priscilla Glickman '92 Memorial Prize,which honors "independence and imagination in the area of service. "Brandon is now working to complete a doctorate in educational policy at the University of California, Berkeley, where his primary interests center on exploring issues of equity in resource allocation in public school districts. Nevertheless, he sometimes struggles with identifying as a "full-time student", as much of his time is spent tutoring student-athletes, working on the executive board of the Black Graduate Student Association, acting as the Graduate Minority Outreach, Recruitment, and Retention project coordinator for the graduate student government, and serving as Apartment Assistant in graduate student housing. Still, Brandon is happy to be working for the betterment of student life and the campus climate, and even happier to be back in his native Bay Area.
When Brandon is not involved in on-campus activities, he is often participating in any number of Buddhist activities with his organization,Soka Gakkai International. Brandon has been a practicing Buddhist since birth and now devotes much of his time to fulfilling various leadership responsibilities within the organization, including working with membersof junior high and high school age within his region. He hopes to one day apply the humanistic principles of his Buddhist practice to effect significant improvements with regards to matters of public policy, both within the education world and beyond."Back to 2001 Scholars