International and Public Affairs
The U.N. is not where Anushka Srivastava expected to find herself at this point in her college career. "I came to Brown intending to concentrate in physics and French," she said, "Actually, I was pretty sure I wanted to study physics, but I wasn't 100% sure." That slight uncertainty is one of the reasons she found Brown's Open Curriculum so attractive. "At Brown, I knew I would have complete freedom to pursue whatever I found interesting. I didn't think I would have that same freedom at a school primarily focused on STEM or humanities," she said.
"Once I got to Brown, I didn't take a single physics class," said Srivastava. "I was so eager to take advantage of the freedom to choose my entire course load that I took a bunch of humanities classes that I knew would take me out of my comfort zone."
One course, in particular, led her to IAPA. "During my second semester at Brown, I took Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East with professor Nadje Al-Ali," she said, "that was the most thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating class I had ever taken. I loved professor Al-Ali's way of thinking, and I loved the way that she pushed us to critically evaluate our own viewpoints."
Moving out of her comfort zone led to a shift in perspective on how to think about problems. "I ended up finding out that I liked the uncertainty of the humanities compared to STEM," said Srivastava. "In STEM, you get a sense of closure, the feeling that you have something fully figured out. But in the humanities, you never really get that," she said. "You can always look at the same problem from a different perspective or with a different set of parameters and arrive at a completely different understanding, and I found that nuance intellectually rewarding."