Graduate School

Brown Executive Scholars Training Programs

The Brown Executive Scholars Training (BEST) Program introduces students to academic and higher education leadership skills.

Designed for doctoral and master’s students, the program brings together eight to 10 graduate students, who are chosen to participate in this 12-week  program. The BEST program was established in 2010 and is sponsored by the Graduate School. 


To help prepare graduate students for future leadership roles in higher education through a semester-long program of mentorship, education and training.


  1. Educate graduate students about university leadership and the roles and responsibilities of senior academic leaders and administrators.
  2. Expose graduate students to administrators through one-on-one mentoring relationships.
  3. Enhance the leadership skills of graduate students through engaged discussion and professional development activities.

Key Activities

  1. Attend weekly seminars and roundtables 
  2. Meet at least once each month with assigned administrative sponsors
  3. Participate in weekly professional development activities
  4. Complete a mini-practicum project (optional)


Scholars will be allowed two excused absences throughout the duration of the program. Scholars with excessive absences may be dismissed from the program and will not receive certificates of completion. The program will run from late January to late April. 

Roundtables and Professional Development

Each week, BEST Scholars are joined by senior University leaders for a presentation and discussion, followed by a group reflection, conversation, and professional development activities. 

Administrative Sponsors

Scholars will be paired with administrators from key areas of the university to learn about their specific role, the function of their area, and to receive advice and support related to their own career pursuits. Scholars are expected to meet with administrative sponsors for no less than one hour at least once each month and may engage in an optional mini-practicum project.


Senior administrative staff from across the University will help select a diverse and cross-disciplinary cohort of promising scholars. 

Meet Previous BEST Scholars

News From The Graduate School

2019 Executive Scholars Selected

Ten doctoral and master's students are exploring university administration as part of the ninth cohort of the Brown Executive Scholars Training program.
  • 2018 BEST Cohort group photoEmily Drennan, doctoral student in Egyptology & Assyriology
  • Javier Juarez, master's student in American Studies
  • Ashleigh LoVette, doctoral student in Behavioral & Social Health Sciences
  • Andrew Lynn, doctoral student in Psychology
  • Cole Morgan, doctoral student in English
  • Miroslava Nikolova, doctoral student in Slavic Studies
  • Jennifer Polexi, master's student in Urban Education Policy
  • Karina Santamaria, doctoral student in Behavioral & Social Health Sciences
  • Benjamin Wilks, doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering
  • Andrea Wright, doctoral student in Anthropology
  • 2017 BEST Cohort group photoAlyssa Anderson, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Sam Caldis, doctoral student in History (Ancient History)
  • R. Terik Daly, doctoral student in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences
  • Dalma Diaz, master's student in Urban Education Policy
  • Aderonke Ilegbusi, master's student in Public Health
  • Rachel Knecht, doctoral student in History
  • Anni Pullagura, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Michiel van Veldhuizen, doctoral student in Classics
  • Inge Zwart, master's student in Public Humanities
  • 2016 BEST Cohort group photoSarah Brown, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Emily Contois, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Tom Fisher, doctoral student in Philosophy
  • Danielle Fontaine, master’s student in Urban Education Policy
  • Branta Lockett, master’s student in Urban Education Policy
  • Ali Mathwig, doctoral student in History of Art and Architecture
  • Hanan Mowager, master's student in Education
  • Alex Reda, doctoral student in Sociology
  • Jen Thum, doctoral student in Archeology
  • Yinsui Zheng, doctoral student in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences
  • 2015 BEST Cohort group photoAisalkyn Botoeva, doctoral student in Sociology
  • Akiko Hatakeyama, doctoral student in Computer Music and Multimedia
  • Mariam Irshad, master’s student in Public Health
  • Pierre Lucien, master’s student in Urban Education Policy
  • Crystal Ngo, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Arielle Nitenson, doctoral student in Neuroscience
  • Dimple Patel, master’s student in Urban Education Policy
  • Lauren Quattrochi, doctoral student in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology
  • Michela Rozani, doctoral student in Italian Studies
  • Jonathan Sozek, doctoral student in Religious Studies
  • 2014 BEST Cohort group photoJustine Allen, doctoral student in Neuroscience
  • Keila Davis, master's student in Public Humanities
  • Rachel Gostenhofer, doctoral student in History
  • Sally Ho, doctoral student in Chemistry
  • Stephen Jones, doctoral student in Molecular Biology
  • Chiao-Wen Lan, master's student in Public Health
  • Karina Mascorro, doctoral student in Italian Studies
  • Brandeise Monk-Payton, doctoral student in Modern Culture and Media
  • Colleen Tripp, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Lawrence Were, doctoral student in Health Services Research
  • Aleysia Whitmore, doctoral student in Ethnomusicology
  • 2013 BEST Cohort group photoCarmen Granda, doctoral student in Hispanic Studies 
  • Adrianne LaFrance, doctoral student in Classics 
  • Jonah Leshin, doctoral student in Mathematics 
  • Dong Li, master's student in Literary Arts 
  • Adj Marshall, master's student in Public Humanities 
  • Aaron Massey, master's student in Urban Education Policy 
  • Kristen Oehlrich, doctoral student in History of Art & Architecture 
  • Anne-Caroline Sieffert, doctoral student in French Studies 
  • Susan Solomon, doctoral student in Comparative Literature 
  • Camly Tran, doctoral student in Chemistry
  • 2012 BEST Cohort group photoElisabeth Becker, master's student in Public Health
  • Hetal Desai, doctoral student in Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology
  • Khristina Gonzalez, doctoral student in English
  • Yuko Hasegawa, doctoral student in Molcular Biology, Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
  • Don Ho, doctoral student in Chemistry
  • Amy Johnson, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Heather Lee, doctoral student in American Studies
  • Erica Moretti, doctoral student in Italian Studies
  • Laura Perille, doctoral student in History
  • Teresa Ramirez, doctoral student in Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology
  • 2011 BEST Cohort group photoLamonte Aidoo, doctoral student in Portuguese & Brazilian Studies
  • Joseph Bahlman, doctoral student in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Yelena Biberman, doctoral student in Political Science
  • Lara Couturier, doctoral student in History
  • Sara Emmenecker, master's student in Public Humanities
  • Jessica Johnson, doctoral student in American Civilization
  • Vismadeb (Vish) Mazumder, doctoral student in Chemistry
  • Dung Nguyen, doctoral student in Physics
  • Feryaz Ocakli, doctoral student in Political Science
  • Oscar Perez, doctoral student in Portuguese & Brazilian Studies


Scholars will complete an overall program survey. 


Applicants must be an advanced master’s student or doctoral student. Master’s degree students must have completed at least one semester of full-time coursework in their current graduate program prior to the beginning of the BEST program. 

Application Requirements:

Student Application 

Complete through UFunds, See under “Graduate School Distinctive Opportunities.”

Components to Prepare

  1. CV or resume
  2. Personal statement of 500 words or less that outlines the applicant’s educational and professional career aspirations and states how participation in the BEST Program will assist in meeting those goals
  3. Statement that ranks the top three areas of interest from the following: Academic Affairs, Diversity, Education and Training, Faculty Affairs, Governance, Student Support

Components to Request

Through UFunds: 

  1. Message of support from your DGS (affirming student standing)
  2. Message of recommendation from a faculty advisor, thesis/dissertation committee member, or department chair who can affirm why participation in the program will be valuable for you. (If your DGS can affirm student standing and recommend you to the program, this may be sent as one combined message.)

For any questions, please contact Byrd McDaniel.

Meeting Times

Thursdays from noon to 2 pm (Occasional alternative meeting times may be needed to accommodate guest speakers’ schedules.)

Application Deadline

December 16, 2022

Hear from program alums about their experiences!

Mai Hunt is a fourth year PhD student. She is from Boston, Massachusetts and earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard University in Romance Languages and Literatures.
My interest in the BEST program stemmed from wanting to better understand the behind the scenes operations of higher education. I was particularly interested in the University’s focus on the development of the Graduate School, which has really taken off in the last 5-10 years.
"The BEST program is a great professional development opportunity, even for people who will not go onto work in higher education administration. Even beyond universities, the BEST program teaches you skills that are applicable to a wide variety of careers and fields."