Student Spotlight: Romario Smith

Hometown: Soweto, Namibia

Undergraduate school and degree: St. Olaf College, Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Brown School program: MPH/MSW

Anticipated graduation: December 2020

Three things you have with you at all times: Nailclipper, floss, and driver’s license

What are your hobbies or activities when you aren’t studying or working?

Taking long walks and running in Forest Park. Dancing to South African house music or Afrobeats. Watching random YouTube videos of world travelers. Getting to my reading list…I am currently reading Pachinko (historical fiction). I also enjoy cooking and baking in my spare time…recently, I baked tres leches, which is a type of sponge cake and is most popular in Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala. This is among my favorite top five desserts!

What is a cause your passionate about?

I often find myself wavering between two passions. Undoubtedly, we know early childhood development (ECD) sets the foundation for enabling children to succeed in all aspects of life. One of the most fulfilling professional experiences I have had has been working with children in a variety of settings. Throughout these experiences, I quickly learned that I’m driven by the desire to see children and youth succeed. Approaching ECD to achieve the desired state where children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs are met through system-level applications is an area of practice I hope to be actively engaged. I am also passionate about improving access to quality healthcare in low resource settings.  More specifically, I am eager to apply quality improvement methodologies to address inequitable practices and inefficient processes that contribute to many of today’s health disparities.

What do you like most about the PRC?

The level of collaboration between staff is unique to the PRC. Throughout my time at the Center, I’ve been able to consult subject matter experts on various topics ranging from data analysis, presentation and visualization. This dynamic workspace and engaging environment make it possible for students like me to further develop professional skillsets. The PRC has a warm workplace culture.  Taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate individual success small or large in scale is one of the few examples that demonstrates the PRC’s commitment to be people-oriented. Additional reasons why I enjoy working at the PRC include Mary’s treats and Linda’s jokes of the week.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Allow yourself to make mistakes, learn and re-learn if needed. Be your authentic self!