First there was Jenny Browne ’04, then there was Katie Browne ’09, and finally there was Courtney Browne ’13. Between 2000 and 2013, there was only one year during that time that a Browne sister wasn’t on campus at the College.
“I was obviously the trailblazer since everyone followed me,” cracks Jenny, who first visited the campus with a friend who was applying. “I had no intention of coming but, after seeing it, I thought it was so great. I loved the small-town feel and the free-loving vibe that a lot of places in the South don’t have.”
Katie and Courtney were equally smitten with the College during visits to see Jenny with their parents, so Katie recruited herself to play soccer, which she did all four years, while Courtney wound up in the Honors College. “I went to all the other college campuses, and there’s nothing that lives up to it,” says Courtney, who earned a degree in biology. “I had a lot of opportunities at CofC that I felt I wouldn’t have had at other colleges – like working in the sea turtle rescue hospital at the S.C. Aquarium. I feel I got a really good education because I learned through doing rather than just being in a classroom.”
Although both Katie and Courtney received partial academic scholarships, the incredible thing is, all three sisters could have attended Wake Forest University (where both parents are professors) for free, but they still chose the College and its out-of-state tuition instead.
“They tried hard to make us go, one after the other,” says Jenny, who shared all her intel with her sisters on the best professors and hangouts at the College. “It was a combination of guilt, threats and withholding of allowances.”
Jenny started at the College with the preset notion that she wanted to be a doctor or lawyer and wound up majoring in psychology. “What the College offered was a perspective that being a doctor or lawyer were not the only things to aspire to,” she says. “I ended up working in the neuropsychology lab at the Medical University of South Carolina after graduation, which the College facilitated. It opened up other doors and opportunities and got me into the health- care field.”
Jenny now lives in Denver, where she is a vice president with the DaVita Medical Group, the biggest freestanding medical group in the nation.
Katie was a religious studies major and a School of Humanities and Social Sciences scholar, while also earning a nomination as an All-American student-athlete. After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and spent three years in Madagascar, where she developed an interest in environmental issues. After returning to the U.S., she earned her master’s in environmental justice and is now completing a doctorate in climate policy at the University of Michigan.
“During my time at the College, I got to work really close with faculty, which was cool,” she says. “Having reference letters from faculty you have an extended relationship with really helps in getting into a competitive graduate program.”
Courtney joined Teach For America after graduating, teaching biology on the South Side of Chicago for two years, and is now studying to become a physician’s assistant.
“I believe that my sisters and I embody what the CofC liberal arts education aims to accomplish,” says Katie. “Though we all had markedly different college experiences and embarked on different paths, we were all well-prepared by our time at the College.”