Commencement 2017: Army veteran, Charlestown resident changes course to become science teacher

To earn bachelor’s degree from URI May 21

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Brandon Brass

KINGSTON, R.I. – April 21, 2017 — Brandon Brass decided that he wanted to become a teacher while serving in the U.S Army. For five years, he was part of a leadership team that trained soldiers.

“For every aspect of life, there is a class for it in the military,” said the Charlestown resident who will earn his bachelor of arts degree in biology and secondary science education from the University of Rhode Island May 21.

He knew he had found his calling as he watched his soldiers thrive and succeed as a result of his instruction.

Brass developed an interest in science during his childhood thanks to numerous influences. His grandfather, who was a science teacher, probably had the greatest impact on young Brass as he listened to stories about the classroom and his grandfather’s students.

Brass also learned from his father, a registered nurse. While living in Colorado, father and son were part of the Colorado ski patrol, where they administered first aid to injured skiers.

In the military, Brass spent nearly four years overseas as part of the military police, going from, as he puts it, “one side of the world to the other.” Brass encountered many different environments, cultures, races and religions in his travels, which taught him a great deal about diversity. It is these experiences that he intends to bring to the classroom.

After his discharge from the service, Brass enrolled at URI in 2013 because of its stellar science education curriculum and its military-friendly atmosphere.

“The support from everyone was absolutely amazing,” he said. “There was regular communication with the VA officer to make sure I had everything I needed.”

Brass sometimes took his 8-year-old daughter, Persephanie, to campus to instill in her that learning is a lifelong process. “Seeing daddy going to school gives her the perspective that school never ends,” he said.

Brass is eager to get back into the workforce and get back to class, this time, on the other side of the desk.