The Brown Center for Students of Color announced Ajeé Schaeffer as the center’s new assistant director and Gizzelle Fernandez as program coordinator in an April 3 email announcement by Associate Dean and Director of the BCSC Vincent Harris.
Schaffer will oversee the BCSC’s Third World Transition Program and Minority Peer Counselor program. Fernandez oversees the center’s outreach and communications efforts — including its open houses and campus-wide events — as well as logistics. Schaffer started at the center March 31, and Fernandez began March 29.
“Becoming a program coordinator for the (BCSC) is such an exciting moment in my life,” Fernandez wrote in an email to The Herald. “I am joining an amazing team that has worked so hard to create enriching events for students to partake in and can’t wait to support them in every way.”
“I’m beyond excited to learn and be in a community with our amazing students,” Schaeffer wrote in an email to The Herald. “I look forward to learning and being an active part of the Brown University community.”
Schaeffer comes to Brown from the Excel Academy Charter Schools in Providence, where she was founding dean of school culture. Before working at Excel Academy, Schaeffer served as assistant principal and associate dean of students at the Success Academy Charter School in New York.
Fernandez arrives at the BCSC from the Warren Alpert Medical School, where she served as curriculum coordinator and as a financial aid counselor for students in the Program in Liberal Medical Education.
Both Schaeffer and Fernandez’s experiences in leadership roles at educational institutions impressed their respective search committees, Harris wrote in an email to The Herald. The search process for the two roles involved input from students, faculty, staff and members of the Office of Campus Life.
“Previous positions I’ve held, from school operations to being an assistant principal and dean of culture, have not only built my passion for working with students but provided me the tools to be successful in a role like the Assistant Director of the BCSC,” Schaeffer wrote.
Fernandez added that as a person of color, she recognizes the need for a university environment to be safe and comfortable for students. “I strive to continue the great work that the (BCSC) has done throughout the years by using the skills I learned at (Warren Alpert) and utilizing it at the center,” Fernandez wrote.
“It’s been such a pleasure seeing the students’ involvement and leadership at the BCSC which affirms that I made the correct decision to join the BCSC family,” Schaeffer wrote.
Fernandez added that her experience at Brown so far “has been very positive” and she has worked with “great mentors” at the center.
“Working alongside Ajeé and Gizzelle has been exciting and encouraging as it has been energizing to see the beginnings of their collaboration with the team,” Harris wrote in an email to The Herald. “Throughout their onboarding process, both have been engaging with our student leaders regularly, planning meetings with Campus Life colleagues and anticipating growing their connections across the University.”