Brawner travelled from her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, to study elementary education at Montana Western. On her transition to a new state far away from home, she said “I was challenged by new ideas that forced me to learn how I think and what I believe. I developed relationships that made me find a new home.”
During her time at Montana Western, Brawner was an active member of several clubs including Chi Alpha, Student Health 101, and the Education Club.
She was also a resident assistant for three years, a position she continues to hold at her new university. She cites her Residence Life supervisor, Mike Piazzola, along with Student Wellness Coordinator Lexi Benson and Professor of Education Laura Straus as the people who inspired her most during her time in Dillon, Mont.
After graduating in 2015, Brawner was awarded a three-year scholarship to study at the Boston University School of Theology where she is currently specializing in religion and conflict transformation.
Brawner plans to use her education at Boston University to promote equality within her church.
“After receiving my Master’s of Divinity, I plan to be a pastor in the United Methodist Church, using my experiences in the Montana Western education program as well as my graduate studies in theology. I have a passion for preaching, spiritual care, communications, and administration. In the future, one of my goals is to create a new, spiritual space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” she said.
Brawner has many favorite memories made at Montana Western.
“I had the privilege of working with and learning from 25 brilliant first graders at Parkview Elementary School in Dillon, Mont. I planned and led orientation for three years. I volunteered as a peer educator with Student Health, advocating for physical and mental well-being among my peers. These are just a few of the many snapshots that have made Montana Western special for me, and I am incredibly grateful for each of them.”