SMART Alum Interns in DC Superior Court
“People in our court system are often demonized–and I want to bring the humanity back”
Ta’Jae Brown ’12 remembers her middle school years as a triangulation between her Bayview home, The San Francisco School, and SMART’s offices in Civic Center. When Ta’Jae was in 4th grade, her mother discovered SMART, an eight year program that provides low-income students access to an exceptional education and the skills needed to thrive in college and in life. Shortly after, she started at SFS and become very close to other SMART Scholars. She thoroughly enjoyed her teachers and curriculum, particularly the intentional exposure to the arts. Twice a week at SMART, she met with her peers in the Middle School Achievement Program for workshop discussions about identity and social justice.
From there, the Browns utilized SMART’s enrollment resources for high school admission and financial aid. Ta’Jae received a four year scholarship to the San Francisco Waldorf High School where she started the school’s first Black Student Union, a space for students to socialize and create awareness around black culture in their community.
“SMART had been talking about college since the beginning of my time there, so I was always thinking about it. And in 7th grade, it became my dream to go to Howard University.” With her SMART college advisor, Ta’Jae explored colleges and navigated the admission and financial aid application processes.
Her dream became a reality. Howard University awarded Ta’Jae a scholarship to Howard University. In the first generation of her family to attend college, she has majored in psychology, and in July 2019, she began her internship with a mental health focus at the D.C. Superior Court’s Child Guidance Clinic. She has been working in the Juvenile Behavioral Diversion Program. “This research I’m doing is important to providing mental health resources to those who need it and don’t have a voice.”
Ta’Jae is in her final semester at Howard University and her internship. She is applying to graduate programs and jobs while she decides between a career in clinical psychology or social work. She is committed to creating change and opportunity in the world, especially for minority communities.
She wants to build a future where mental health care is more accessible and affordable for those in need. “People in our court system are often demonized–and I want to bring the humanity back,” she says.
Adapted from SMART News
Posted March 06, 2020