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Meet Brooke Brown '23

Untraditional Journey to Linfield

Photo of Brooke Brown '23.

Posted on 03.17.23 by Laney Green '23 in College of Arts & Science

“[Going to college] was sort of just something that was always going to happen for me, even if I didn’t know how to plan for it,” said Brooke Brown ’23, a current senior at Linfield University. 

Brooke’s journey to Linfield started six years ago while finishing up her final year of high school. 

As a first-generation student, Brooke didn’t have family with experience in applying to and attending college that she could turn to for help. Luckily, she learned about a scholarship program called Future Connect, offered by Portland Community College (PCC). 

She applied and earned the scholarship which led her to PCC the fall of 2017, following her high school graduation.

Brooke, an Oregon native, attended PCC for three years focusing on courses in engineering. After taking physics and calculus, however, she decided engineering wasn’t what she was interested in studying. 

Photo of Brooke with peers and faculty and staff at the 2022 Camas Festival.

Brooke found her passion for environmental studies in a class during her last year at PCC. 

From that epiphany, Brown looked for schools in the area where she could transfer. She landed on Linfield out of interest in the environmental sciences program and because of the First Scholars Program that helps with the transition and tuition costs. 

“Transferring to Linfield was a really big and scary task because there’s the [admission] application and then I also had scholarship applications, which I could not afford coming to Linfield without,” she said.

Brooke working in the library with a fellow student.

Brooke was accepted into the First Scholars Program and with the help of her assigned faculty mentor, she was enrolled in fall 2020 classes. 

“Even though I had three years of college under my belt, it was really, really scary to transfer, just because I didn’t know what I was going into,” Brooke said.

Once settled at Linfield, Brooke’s faculty mentor, Dr. Rachel Schley from the history department, noticed a drive in her. Professor Schley offered her student employment with the history department

Brooke gladly accepted.

She's always loved history. “I probably took six classes at PCC on history, but I never thought it was a career opportunity,” she said. 

Brooke recalled that after some “nagging” from her professors, she decided to go ahead and pursue a history minor. There was an unfortunate credit mix-up with her environmental studies major. Because of it, she was going to have to stay an extra year. 

The silver lining though: she was able to turn her history minor into her double major. 

Brooke knows that, for her, going to college was the right path. 

She even joked that having graduated from PCC with three associate degrees, and now on her way to graduating from Linfield with both a B.A. and a B.S., she will almost have a degree for each year she’s been in school. 

Overall, Brooke looks back on her college career with pride. She knows she will enter the “real world” with a wealth of options due to all the experiences she’s been afforded while attending Linfield. 

“I do think that coming to Linfield was pretty much the best thing for me,” Brooke said. “It opened up so many different opportunities, ideas, friendships, and relationships that I wouldn’t have had before.”