First-generation student Breanna Brown pursues degree in social work

Nov 16, 2022
Breanna Brown, Newman University student

Led by her passion for helping others, junior and first-generation college student Breanna Brown is studying social work at Newman University.

Brown is from Leavenworth, Kansas, where she attended Leavenworth High School. She is member of the Newman Cheer and Dance team and chose to come to Newman not only to continue cheerleading, but also because of the university’s high academic rating and the standards the school holds.

Breanna Brown, junior at Newman University
Breanna Brown, junior at Newman University

“As a first-generation college student, I was unsure of what to expect when I first got to Newman. I was very ready to experience something completely new and different but I was definitely scared,” Brown said. “While I feel a certain amount of stress about making sure to graduate and making my family proud being the first to come to college, it’s also provided a huge motivation for me to do my best.”

Even though Brown is a cheerleader, it isn’t the only thing she is a part of.

“Outside of cheerleading, I am also an executive board member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the student representative for the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committee, a resident assistant in Beata Hall and the men’s basketball social media manager,” Brown said.

Breanna Brown (right) regularly volunteers for on campus events, such as the Party on the Plaza annual fundraiser for student scholarships.
Breanna Brown (right) regularly volunteers for on campus events, such as the Party on the Plaza annual fundraiser for student scholarships.

Unfortunately this year, Brown tore her ACL and meniscus causing her to miss this cheer season.

“I was on crutches for six weeks post-surgery and have finally gotten off of them this week. Even though I cannot cheer with my team on the floor this year, I am proud that I’ve been able to still be an asset in different ways,” Brown said.

Divisional Chair for Social Work and Associate Professor Yelando Johnson said that it has been great being able to teach and work with Brown and that she’s one of a kind.

“Breanna’s hard work and positive attitude are a breath of fresh air in the social work program as she carries a unique mixture of compassion, strength and tenacity,” Johnson said. “She exudes natural leadership skills that garner respect from her peers and instructors.”

Yelando Johnson, bachelor of social work program director and assistant professor at Newman University
Yelando Johnson, divisional chair for social work and associate professor

Brown said Johnson has helped her a lot during her time here at Newman by mentoring and guiding her on her college path.

“(Johnson) has helped me to navigate not only college life with balancing academics, athletics, work and personal life, but she has also provided me with so much knowledge about the social work profession and all of the avenues I could potentially take,” Brown said.

Brown will graduate with her bachelor’s in social work in the spring of 2024.

Earn a degree in social work

Social work is not just a job, it is a helping profession rooted in dedicating oneself to continuous growth, learning, change and becoming the best version of yourself. At Newman, graduates of social work will be equipt to transform society for the better.