Heller Profiles

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Mary Brooks

USA • Lecturer and Assistant Director for Student and Academic Services, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management

MA-SID '03

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: United States

Mary Brooks makes a global impact through her students.

Mary Brooks works in the United States, but her reach is global.

Brooks was a marine biologist for 25 years before joining Heller. Her work took her to Latin America, the South Pacific, Africa and China. Wherever she traveled, she always had an interest in environmental conservation and social policy. When she was a teenager, Brooks' family moved to South America from California, following her father, who worked for USAID. She's always considered herself a "global citizen."

"I loved discovering that, while cultures were different everywhere, there was also something inside all human beings that is common across cultures," she says. When she came to Heller for a master's degree, she discovered a place she could call home.

"I really fell in love with the values of the school, the community, the diversity and the commitment people here have to making a difference." Brooks can now count herself among those committed people as she teaches advanced seminars for Heller's international students working on their master's papers and advises other students on practicums in the field.

"The goal of a social development program is to build capacity of people in every place where they are facing challenges. I didn't have time to go to all those places, so I shifted my focus to staying home and seeing if I could help from there. Now I travel the world by staying put," Brooks comments.

Through her students, Brooks is making an impact around the globe.

"In some way," she says, "I feel part of their work." In describing Heller today, Brooks refers to something she once heard on the radio. "There are two kinds of stories," she says. "Someone goes on a trip, and someone comes to visit. Either way we are changed. That's Heller now."

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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