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Global Brown Center welcomes two ‘incredible’ additions to staff

Yanjie (Ruby) Cheng, Syrina Robinson join as assistant director, program coordinator

<p>Assistant Director Yanjie (Ruby) Cheng (left) and Program Coordinator Syrina Robinson. Cheng and Robinson joined the Global Brown Center for International Students over the summer. </p><p>Courtesy of Yanjie Cheng and Syrina Robinson</p>

Assistant Director Yanjie (Ruby) Cheng (left) and Program Coordinator Syrina Robinson. Cheng and Robinson joined the Global Brown Center for International Students over the summer.

Courtesy of Yanjie Cheng and Syrina Robinson

Over the summer, the Global Brown Center for International Students welcomed two new staff members to its team, with Assistant Director Yanjie (Ruby) Cheng and Program Coordinator Syrina Robinson joining in May and August, respectively.

“They both have incredible ideas and are always eager to try new things to support our students,” GBC Director Andrew Heald wrote in an email to The Herald.

Arin Idhant ’26, a mentor in the International Mentoring Program this year, called Cheng and Robinson “incredible additions to the team.”

“They’ve easily made the system so much more efficient,” he said. They are “balls of sunshine, who were just bringing everyone’s morale up.”


Hailing from Inner Mongolia — an autonomous region of northern China — and Colorado, Cheng joined the GBC in May as the center’s inaugural assistant director.

With a doctorate in education and leadership for educational equity, Cheng has previously taken up numerous leadership roles in “international education professional organizations” nationally and globally, including EducationUSA, NAFSA, International ACAC, ChinaICAC and AIEA, she wrote in an email to The Herald.

Cheng gained “invaluable insights into the specific needs and aspirations of international students (after) working in international enrollment management roles for 10 years,” she wrote, adding that she carries “great empathy” for international students as a former international student herself.

Cheng’s past experience supporting international students “is a big reason that I thought she was a good fit” with the center, said Senior IMP Coordinator Claire Park ’24, who played a role in interviewing Cheng. Park described Cheng as “experienced,” “competent” and “passionate.”

“My passion for international students stems from a deeply held belief that they are not just participants in the educational landscape, but invaluable global assets that enrich the cultural fabric of (the) U.S.,” Cheng wrote.

Cheng held the inaugural International Identity Empowerment Conference during this year’s International Orientation, which received very positive feedback, The Herald previously reported.

Looking forward, Cheng hopes to establish “a comprehensive and systemic international support system” and implement “targeted … initiatives that directly address” student concerns. She added that her work is grounded in “a deep commitment to inclusivity and the recognition of the value of international identity.”

“I am really excited to work with (Cheng) on graduate student support and (continue) to explore our intersectional programs,” Heald wrote.

While she calls Jamaica, England and Southern California home, Robinson is no stranger to the Brown community. She worked as a pre-college summer residential assistant in 2019 and with summer pre-college programs from 2021 to 2023 as a residence hall director, student life manager and summer assistant director.

“I love the community here at Brown and I knew that this is where I wanted to work,” Robinson wrote in an email to The Herald. “Our students are intentional, thoughtful and kind. They advocate for each other constantly and they advocate for me as well.” 


Over the past three years, Robinson has worked alongside “students with underrepresented identities and students from underdeveloped communities” and was an international graduate student peer mentor during her Master’s program. 

Robinson wrote that she wants to ensure that international students’ needs are being voiced and that they are “made aware of all of the resources” Brown has to offer.

“I am so excited to plan programs and excursions with my student leaders,” Robinson wrote, adding that she hopes students will find a “home away from home” at the GBC.

Heald added that he is “really excited to work with (Robinson) on building an even stronger sense of belonging” at the GBC, as well as streamlining the center’s communication systems.

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“I want to do everything I can to make our students feel safe, happy and excited to be at the GBC,” Robinson wrote, “It is so important for them to realize that they are not alone in this experience.”

Kelvin Jiang

Kelvin Jiang is a section editor for University News and Science & Research at The Herald. Born in Illinois and raised in Palo Alto, CA, Kelvin is concentrating in math-computer science and applied math. He enjoys anything tech-related, being outdoors, and spending time with his cat.


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