Brown Celebrates 10 Years of Royce Fellowship for Sport and Society

Brown Celebrates 10 Years of Royce Fellowship for Sport and Society

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – As Brown University celebrates 20 years of the Royce Fellowship Program and the 10th year of the Royce Fellowship for Sport and Society, Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service is featuring several stories on the projects of Brown student-athletes.

Current and former Brown student-athletes who have contributions – including written and audio stories – as part of the commemorative series include Natalie Ball ’16 (women’s basketball), Sazzy Gourley ’16 (men’s swimming & diving), Sandra Kimokoti ’15.5 (women’s rugby), Olivia Santiago ’16 (women’s water polo), Keith Stanski ’04 (men’s water polo), and Nelly Weledji ’15 (women’s basketball).


Natalie Ball ’16 (Women’s Basketball) – “A Neutral Sport in Northern Ireland”
Ball traveled to Northern Ireland in the summer of 2015 to coach mixed teams of Protestant and Catholic children in a basketball league with PeacePlayers.

“It wasn’t until after this tour that I realized how the vastly different cultures and political beliefs have led to deep-rooted stereotypes and hatred. This is where PeacePlayers comes in.” 

Sazzy Gourley ’16 (Men’s Swimming & Diving) – “Hype, Sunscreen & 27 Meters”
Gourley researched the intersections between marketing, sport, and social impact through case studies with Red Bull’s 2014 Cliff Diving World Series in Texas, Ireland, Norway, and the Azores Islands.

“My summer boils down to three things: hype, sunscreen, and 27 meters.”

Sandra Kimokoti ’15.5 (Women’s Rugby) – “Making Time for Rugby”
Kimokoti developed and implemented a health education curriculum for high school girls in rural Western Kenya.

“Girls in Kenya are rarely encouraged to play rugby as it is considered a masculine sport, best suited for boys - so the program also gives them a chance to play a sport they would otherwise not have the opportunity to play.”

AUDIO STORY: “Rugby is one of those tools that helps you see that you can do something that either you were told or believed for some reason that you couldn’t do before." 

Olivia Santiago ’16 (Women’s Water Polo) – “Learning to Swim”
Santiago worked on developmental swim programs in island nations, spending time in Trinidad and Tobago during the summer of 2013.

“I was inspired to do a project like this when I traveled to Haiti in 2012, and I realized all my Haitian friends did not know how to swim despite the fact Haiti is an island nation in the Caribbean.”

AUDIO STORY: “There’s this thing that islanders call coconut Wi-Fi or bamboo wireless. When islands are really small you know exactly what goes on in a community.”

Keith Stanski ’04 (Men’s Water Polo) – “Not Just a Lesson Plan”
Stanski developed a human rights curriculum for youth in war stricken Colombia in 2002. Afterwards, he produced a manual to encourage discussion, exploration, and reflection on human rights and their role in the country and went on to work for the International Organization for Migration in Afghanistan.

AUDIO STORY: “I think the core question at the time was, what’s the potential to take education as a transformative act but also as a political one.”

Nelly Weledji ’15 (Women’s Basketbal) – “Rain and Other Things”
Weledji worked with a clinic in Cameroon in 2014 providing support to health care workers and under-resourced families while exploring the opportunities sport offers to educate families about the importance of health care and available health resources.

“I’m learning that sports are a great medium for teaching and communicating, especially when somewhat of a language barrier is present because children learn from doing and active participation.”


Established in 1996 through the generosity of Charles Royce ’61, the Royce Fellowship Program supports Brown University undergraduates as they carry out independent projects of their own design in locations across the United States and around the world.

The Sport and Society Fellowship, established in 2007, recognizes Brown University undergraduates who have a record of excellence in academics and sport, supporting these student-athletes to embark on innovative research or applied projects, exploring the intersection of sport and human rights within a particular context.