Last Call: Gladys Ndagire


Then + Now

People might know me as… Gladys, just Gladys, my name is very distinctive so people hardly alter it but I’ve had very close friends call me Ndagire, Glad, Glarys, Lady or even “Maroon Sweater” over and over again under the influence of way too much happiness

In my time at Brown, I am most proud of… Graduating from Brown is such a big deal; I’ll be the first one in my mother’s line to graduate not just from high school but from college, in an Ivy League institution. I’ve come from very far, from my family’s tiny farm in Uganda to British Columbia and very soon New York City. Yes, the glass ceiling can and will be broken.

On a Friday night, you might find yourself… Anywhere from having a drink with my favorite people to tucked in bed catching up on TV, but hopefully, never in a library.

The best class/professor at Brown is… Lina Fruzzetti made me fall in love with India and all of its complexities, but even more than that, she’s one of my closest friends at Brown and such a fighter for everything that I believe in, human dignity for all. This lady “Speaks softly and carries a big stick,” and it was so empowering to me to have an African woman role model while here to share with about the ups and downs of living in the diaspora.

My favorite building at Brown is… Not Barus and Holley, where I spent over two years of my Brown experience with no light and surrounded by the drabbest wall colors. Then again, it’s also my favorite because I experienced some of my most extreme emotions there and met women that I’m proud to call lifelong friends while stressing out together in that building.

Three things you wish you knew freshman year… 1) Network 2) Network 3) Network with every single person, you belong here  and there’s no need to be afraid of walking up to your peers, professors or alums who’ve been here before you. Time and time again, I get so surprised by some of the awesome things my classmates are doing because they had the self confidence to knock on doors and share themselves, even if their ideas weren’t so great, they got heard and supported because this is just the community we live – we support each other or provide constructive criticism but this can only happen if you share yourself.

Ratty vs. V-Dub… I’d take the larger selection at the Ratty any day.

One thing you wish you had done… Nothing really. Last month, I’d probably have said a relationship but the media e.g. Princeton Mom and some horrible Essence letter on interracial relationships helped me feel better about that regret.

After graduation, you plan to… work at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, in their Advice Lab, with a mix of some of the most inspirational and kindest people I know. These people have backgrounds from basically running UNICEF to pure finance and it’s also a very diverse team, which makes me feel just at home.

Did you go abroad? I am abroad, Uganda is my home.

(Leah’s Question) If you could only bring one box of (non-clothing) items to your new apartment in NYC, what would be in the box? Stuff from my family – a framed family photo, Bible, birthday cards, scarfs, jewellry i.e. all my “Kasirye forget me nots” and, of course, my book on postcolonial feminism.

The weirdest object I have in my apartment is… It’s not weird, just emblematic of my African pride, specifically Ugandan heritage. I don’t wear a gomesi or cook using firewood, live in a hut, or travel by bicycle, but I admit to overly romanticizing the Ugandan village lifestyle portrayed in the photo attached.

weird item

What is the hardest class you have taken at Brown? If you could do it all over again, would you still take it? ENGN0720: Thermodynamics. A lot was going on in my personal life when I took it and I hadn’t quite mastered the art of separating my work from life but. I’d take it again to prove to myself that I could do it but it’s so unnecessary, I’m not a masochist. However, it was a very rewarding experience that chartered me into the financial industry and a love affair with the humanities.

Who would you like to tag next?
Alice Leung. She’s one of my dearest friends, very in touch with reality and fiercely herself, something that I admire very much amongst my lady friends and also a published electrical engineer. I’m all about women breaking the glass ceiling so I had to pick Alice!

Next up: Alice Leung
Gladys’ question: If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be and who would you take with you and why (it doesn’t have to be someone you already know)?

Leave a Reply