Brilliance and Bravery Forum

Brilliance and Bravery Forum

By Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Summer is here! While many of us are soaking up the sunshine, our graduating seniors are busy finalizing financial aid packages, living arrangements, registration, and transportation for their next chapter: college.

At Row New York, we strive to get all our youth to and THROUGH college. The months leading up to starting school can be tough. There are many decisions to be made and things to get in order: which dorm to live in, which classes to take, and which clubs to join. Many of our students are also first generation college students, which adds to the questions surrounding financial aid, scholarships, and jobs.

Each year we host the Brilliance and Bravery forum to give our recent graduates a chance to connect with Row New York alumni and ask the hard questions that other adults in their life may not be able to answer.

two better

This year’s Brilliance and Bravery Forum

This year’s forum brought together staff, alumni, volunteers and our incoming college freshmen for some frank conversations.

Knowing that college can be hard to navigate, a portion of our forum was dedicated to teaching students about how and where to ask for help. Students answered trivia questions about campus locations which offer resources (learning fun facts like the Bursar’s Office helps with finances).

Alumni and coaches had their moments of brilliance during a panel where students asked them for their best advice, including sharing their personal experiences with obstacles they faced.

Alumna better

Here’s our sage alumni advice to incoming freshmen:

On registration:

“Double check what your advisors tell you and constantly make sure you’re on track.”


On being a student of color at a predominantly white school:

“Just don’t let it bother you, discourage you or make you quit. Everyone has an opinion and you just have to stay strong and keep going.”


On college parties:

“Go with friends you trust, leave with them at the end of the night. If you don’t know your limits, start really, really slow. Don’t drink and drive.”


On consent:

“It’s important! It should be freely given, can be “revoked” at any time, and it works both ways. No one should shame or guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do.”


On STIs:

“Go get tested together! Then go grab Chipotle.”


On GPAs:

“Freshman year is critical, you don’t want to get caught up in every other activity. You are in college for an education and ultimately, for a job. Keep your GPA high so you won’t have to play catch-up later on.”


Congratulations, Row New York graduates, for all your accomplishments! We know you will continue to make good choices for your education, careers and beyond.  We look forward to hearing about all your upcoming success. Please reach out to anyone on our staff if you need us.

Thank you, Juan Graciano, Nicole Doyle, Amanda Ramdeholl, Jessica Rispoli and Select Equity Group, for making this year’s Brilliance and Bravery Forum a success!