Student Spotlight: Mia Gratacos-Atterberry ’20

On March 12, in response to the growing spread of the coronavirus, President Paxson announced that for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, Brown classes would take place remotely. Classes were canceled for the week of March 16 to enable students living on campus or in Brown-owned properties to pack and leave and to give faculty time to transition their courses to remote learning.

At Watson, we wanted to know how the transition went. Below, Mia Gratacos-Atterberry ’20 describes her experience. Gratacos-Atterberry was a student in Susan Moffitt’s course Education, Inequality and American Democracy.


Ethnic Studies and Theatre and Performance Studies 

Writing From: 

Meriden, Connecticut

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

Since being home, I find it has been harder to stay motivated and keep focused on schoolwork. In addition to having a father that is considered high-risk, I am immunocompromised. Though coming home relieved a lot of the stress I was feeling on campus, I am constantly reminded of and worried about how dangerous the virus is, especially for my dad and me. The constant fear has definitely made it harder to focus on schoolwork.

Fortunately, talking to my friends who also feel the same way has been really helpful. Scheduling weekly Zoom calls where we talk, share what new hobbies we’ve picked up, what foods we’ve been cooking, and try to have some fun has been really comforting, especially when it seems like everything is so scary.

Has there been a pleasant surprise, a positive you didn’t anticipate? 

In Professor Moffitt’s class, I was able to help plan a Zoom class session on the challenges public schools are facing as they move toward digital learning. I felt I knew a lot about this topic because of the work that my mother does. As a technology integration specialist in my local school district, my mom is currently working on educating teachers and administrators on how to use digital learning platforms.

After talking to Professor Moffitt about the work I’ve seen my mom do and its relevance to our class discussion, she invited my mom to speak to our class. This was really exciting for me because my mom has always been very involved in my education, so it was very special that she was able to join me even in my college career. Planning a class session for Professor Moffitt’s course with my mom was definitely something I would not have anticipated as it was a special experience I probably would not have had if we were at school.