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They don't rave about their freshman units and may get lost on parts of campus, but otherwise, transfer students are at home at Brown — at least according to Head Transfer Student Adviser Melea Atkins '10. A transfer student herself, Atkins acknowledged that while some of her peers may remain isolated, most transfers are very active and integrated on campus.

In addition to her role as an adviser, Atkins is the captain of "Team Tranny," an intramural softball team, which is symbolic of her view on the evolution of transfer students on campus. Atkins and her close friends created the team as a way to stay in touch after transfer orientation.

But now, with 20 members — only half of whom are transfers — and the runner-up title in last season's championship, Team Tranny is representative of transfer students' initial separation and progressive increase in participation in the larger Brown community.

Alex Vogel '10, who did not transfer to Brown, joined Team Tranny anyway because he likes "to dabble in the transfer crowd."

"They are all very indicative of the normal Brown student," Vogel said. "You wouldn't be able to tell the difference from anyone else."

Despite their comfort on campus, the members of the team often burst out with jokes about being transfers. "We perpetually joke that we don't know what's going on," Atkins said.
"The ironic part of that joke is that we are pretty involved."

Atkins transferred from Cornell to Brown as a sophomore in the fall of 2007, principally because she found Cornell too socially and academically intense. "It was definitely a hard decision to make," she said. "But it was a great decision."

To make the decision to transfer equally positive for others, Atkins coordinates the Transfer Orientation Programs at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. During the three-day sessions, transfer students have meals together, meet with deans and are informed about how to transfer credits.

The University has undergone a "large improvement" in the way it welcomes transfer students, Atkins said. This year, for the first time, every incoming sophomore transfer student was paired with a Faculty Advising Fellow. The fellows help transfers as they navigate Brown's unique academic environment.

The workload at Brown was a challenge after transferring from North Virginia Community College, Keith Sado '10 said, but he considered Brown his home by the end of his first semester.

"I had the impression it was this hippie, hacky-sack type people," Sado said. "But the classes have been enjoyable and the people really interesting."

Sado's sentiments were echoed by Miriam Joelson '11, a sophomore who transferred from Bryn Mawr College last fall. "Many of my relatives were afraid that Brown couldn't possibly live up to my sky scraping expectations," she wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "But Brown has not disappointed me for one second."

During the summer and fall of 2008, Joelson was in contact with Maitrayee Bhattacharyya, assistant dean for diversity programs and the transfer student academic adviser, as well as other deans and academic advisers. As a result, she wrote, the transition was a "breeze."

After the transition period, Joelson dove into many activities through which she met non-transfer students, who today account for many of her friends. "It really boils down to compatibility," she wrote. "And for that, it doesn't matter if you've transferred or not."

Transferring internationally can multiply the difficulties, according to Petros Perselis '10, who transferred to Brown from the National Technical University in Athens this fall. "My first thought was to leave a major Greek engineering school to search for better opportunities here in the U.S. and mature academically," he wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Brown's engineering program, the New England culture and the opportunity to do research with professors also appealed to Perselis.

He wrote that he felt very welcomed at Brown, especially through the International Mentoring Program. "I met many international students — both freshmen and transfers — and with which I am still friends," Perselis wrote. But now, Perselis added, "I have friends which do not belong to a single category; freshmen, transfers, Americans or

Transfer students cannot be categorized, wrote Sara Wilf '10 in an e-mail to The Herald, because "each of us has our own, highly individual reasons for being here." But Wilf highlighted the determination of all transfer students. "We weren't happy at our old schools, for whatever reason," she wrote. "But instead of staying there we actually did something about it."

Wilf transferred from Vassar College this fall because she was displeased with the size and location of the school and was in search of a more intellectual atmosphere, she wrote. At Brown, Wilf immediately became very close to fellow transfer students during orientation, and she still counts transfer students as her best friends.

"It would be strange not to, considering we're all in the same position and are all nervous about making new friends," Wilf wrote. But "every single transfer has expanded outside of the transfer group in some way and has made lots of "real" Brown friends (as we like to call them)."

She praised the involvement of transfer students in extracurricular activities and suggested that this was due to their excitement at being at Brown and their strong determination.
"I am profoundly grateful to be here," Wilf wrote. "I feel so fortunate to have been given this opportunity that I want to make the most of every single day."

An article in Monday's Herald ("Transfer students embrace life at Brown," April 20) incorrectly referred to Melea Atkins '10 as the Head Transfer Student Adviser. In fact, Atkins, Carly Hudelson '10 and Chelsea Harris '09 are transfer orientation coordinators.



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