5 Empowering Brown Alumnae

Since its founding in 1764, Brown University has produced many driven women who have gone on to become leaders in each of their respective fields. These empowering female role models have paved the way for girls like us to change the world!

Emma Watson graduated from Brown in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. This badass beauty lived in Harkness House and took five years to graduate because she took two semesters off to focus on acting. Famous for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, Watson has also become a prominent figure in advocating women’s rights on the international stage. In 2014, the American National Government Organization Ms. Foundation for Women recognized her work and rising influence by naming her “Feminist Celebrity of 2014.” In 2015, her work awarded her the position of United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador. With this honor, she launched the United Nations HeForShe campaign, a movement that seeks to encourage both men and women to support gender equality. Watson was also ranked #26 on the “Time 100 Most Influential People” list. Her refreshing ideas about 21st-century feminism have been praised globally, especially among younger generations.

Debra L. Lee graduated from Brown in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. In 1996, Lee was hired as COO of Black Entertainment Television (BET). During her time at BET, she rose through the ranks and, in 2015, became the network’s president and CEO. Lee is known for giving a voice to the young African-American population, most recently encouraging their dreams and talents through BET’s sister network, CENTRIC (2009). Although she has recently stepped down from her position as president of BET, her work continues to be influential. She has been invited to join Twitter’s board of directors to boost diversity across social media.

Janet Yellen graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors) from Pembroke College at Brown in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Yellen is the ideal model for those aspiring to pursue a career in public service. Today, she remains one of the most influential women in the business sphere and was even named the sixth most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2016, and first in Bloomberg Markets’ annual list of the “50 most influential economists and policymakers” in 2015. Queen of economic public policy under President Clinton, Yellen did not stop climbing the career ladder until she was nominated as Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2013. Despite retiring from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors following the election of President Trump, Yellen continues to fight for what she believes in.

Tracee Ellis Ross graduated from Brown in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in Theater. Since graduating, she has become a prominent advocate for people of color in the film industry, most recently through fervently promoting the 2018 film Black Panther. Her work in this field has earned her multiple awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and BET (shoutout to Debra Lee). Ross’ persistent work to advance the cause of people of color in Hollywood should be an inspiration to us all. In 2016, she was the first African-American woman in 30 years to be nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” for her work on the ABC comedy Black-ish, and she went on to win the Golden Globe for “Best Actress” the following year. Bonus points: check out the season 2 Blackish episode “Charlie in Charge,” it was shot at Brown!

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark graduated from Brown in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Theater. After moving to Los Angeles and changing her name to Theodora Greece, she became most well-known for her role in the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful (2011). Outside of her flourishing acting career, she pursues her duties as princess of Greece, actively contributing to the Anne-Marie Foundation, which sends aid to victims of natural catastrophes around the world.

Freshman student at Brown University. Originally from Paris, France.

Contributing writer at Brown's chapter since March 2018.

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