Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Dr. David Brown

Dr. David Brown

Name: David Brown

Hometown: Riverside

Role on campus: Professor, Geological and Environmental Sciences

Years on campus: 20

Education: BA in independent Studies with a concentration in environmental studies, MS in hydrology/hydrogeology, PhD in soil science

Why did you choose Chico? As a transfer student coming out of Lassen Community College many years ago, Chico State was just where everyone moved on to. It wasn’t really a conscious choice. I chose the faculty position here because there was a job offer but also because the town seemed to be a great community in which we could raise our two young sons.

What first sparked your interest in a college education? My family just assumed I would go to college and I didn’t question that. I didn’t become intentional about going to college until graduate school.

What were some barriers that prevented others in your family from completing a four-year degree? Previous generations of my family were in the lower-middle class from farming and trades backgrounds, and they went to work at an early age. I don’t think attending college was in their mindset. I have no siblings.

Who can you point to as a mentor or inspiration in your pursuit of a four-year degree and why? I can’t recall ever having an advisor until the last year or so in my undergraduate experience. I ended up having to write my own major since environmental studies didn’t yet exist (this was the 1970s). In the Honors College at the University of Oregon, I was blessed to have had a true faculty mentor that guided my growth as a scholar and inspired my interest in academia and learning.

What does being first-gen mean to you? Being a first-gen student meant that I was alone in my family. Beyond a bachelor’s degree, my family couldn’t begin to understand my interest in graduate studies. They loved me but couldn’t guide me in any way. They really wanted me out of school and into a “real” career.

What challenges do you struggle with or have you overcome as a result of being first-gen? I am a recovering sufferer of “impostor syndrome.” A very meaningful book I once read was titled, “If I’m So Successful, Why Do I Feel Like a Fake?” It captured me in a classic manner. In my doctoral program at UC Berkeley, I felt like the dumbest kid in the classroom. However, I did graduate and have been gradually improving my self-image.

What is your wildest ambition? I hope I never lose my overall optimism and belief that goodness will overcome.

What message do you want to send other first-gen students? First-gen students need to know that they aren’t alone in the world and especially on this campus. They can find greater happiness and success connecting with and being supported by others.