International and Public Affairs & Public Health
With a Bulgarian father and Russian mother, Alex Ivanchev, a student in Brown University's five-year combined Undergraduate/Master of Public Health program at Brown University, learned Bulgarian and Russian as his first languages. "[Coming from] a multicultural household and choosing the International and Public Affairs concentration, I view all issues through a global perspective," said Ivanchev, who also speaks some Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese. "In an increasingly globalized world, it's important to evaluate issues beyond the perspective of the United States," he said.
A first-generation college student, Ivanchev expressed his gratitude for the opportunities offered to him at Brown. "I love the Open Curriculum, which lets me take control of my own education. I'm a very independent learner. It's a special feeling when you put a lot of time into a course because you're so passionate about the topic."
With Brown's Open Curriculum and IAPA's flexible course requirements, Ivanchev appreciates the opportunities to study across a wide array of disciplines, which deepen his ability to examine different issues through diverse perspectives. "I'm taking a seminar this semester [Displaced: How Global Systems Shape Refugee Families taught by Watson post-doc Blair Sackett] that examines how refugees' identities are shaped by global systems. Courses like these have allowed me to be laser-focused on what I want to pursue in the future," said Ivanchev.
Ivanchev is particularly dedicated to addressing comprehensive, inclusive sex education as a public health issue. "I was raised in a socially conservative environment in Florida, where sex education was withheld from young people," he said. "If you don't know about your body, the choices you make about your relationships and reproduction are limited." In high school, Ivanchev joined a Planned Parenthood peer education pilot program. "I was part of a cohort that was equipped with comprehensive sexual health knowledge; we were then encouraged to 'share the wealth' and exchange this information with our peers. I helped facilitate open, non-judgmental conversations with people my age to slowly erase the stigma associated with sex."