Wonder women: Marisha Browne
A FIRST GLANCE at Marisha Browne and one would think she is all about being glammed up. But looks can be deceiving.
Though she enjoys having manicures, making a statement with her bold hair colour choices and wearing make-up, she can still roll up her sleeves to make a building model and complete necessary calculations for building plans.
“I would say I was a girly girl because I loved playing with my dolls but I realised everything had to be in a particular place. Not only did I have to design something for them, everything needed to be in order and their hairstyles had to be specific; I also realised that I had the patience to see my plans take hold,” said the 31-year-old architectural studies tutor.
“When my grandmother picked down the entire house to clean, I also liked making forts with the cushions; I tried my best to make them as sturdy as possible too.
“I also had my share of going outside with the boys. I loved riding bicycles and I got a lot of lashes for it. I like riding all over the place and bursting the inner tyre because I wanted to skid and jump ramps. But it was only when I was in third form at Graydon Sealy [formerly Garrison Secondary School] that I realised I was good at drawing and my teachers pushed me to do technical drawing in fourth form and I got back a grade two.”
After completing school, Marisha was weighing her options and wanted to complete the architectural course at Barbados Community College (BCC). However, the course was offered only every other year and she ended up doing sixth form at The Lodge School. She went on to teach technical drawing at Ellerslie Secondary School, and then she eventually got to complete the associate degree in architecture at BCC.
“At first my mum had some reservations. There was one time I cut my finger on a sanding machine. She started to panic and said: ‘I don’t know if this is for you. You need to look into doing a business or something else.’ But she told me if this was what I really want to do, to research it and get back to her.”
Marisha has been tutoring at BCC since 2012 and she said she loved the experience. The former football player and cheerleader at the University of Technology (UTech) in Jamaica added that it was easy transitioning to tutor in the technology department since she was once a student at the institution.
“My colleague, Mr Branch taught me, so having familiar faces made it quite easy.
“But I never thought I would end up teaching; I thought I would still be practising. I came here wanting to assist because when I went to school here there was only one full-time lecturer but I always wanted to give back. Knowing the foundation here at BCC was so strong I wanted to come back and help develop the programme. I think we also have the potential to make it a bachelor’s programme.”
“Going overseas to be a part of another educational system, I realised that BCC has a good architecture programme. Many students who did the UTech programme in Jamaica came from BCC like me and the lecturers there said the students from BCC were of a high standard and never got a failing grade.
Marisha is like an older sibling to her students. When EASY magazine visited the school’s compound the students gathered to watch their teacher take photographs, even giving her ideas on how to pose.
“I like working with my students because they teach you how to be patient, how to be resourceful . . . they teach you how to be creative, because students come with various learning skills and you have to adjust the way you put forward information.
“I consider them to be like family instead of having a strict disciplinary relationship with them.
She said being a teacher is like being a counsellor and advisor. She described it as the hidden curriculum.
“The feeling you get watching them come into the programme and leave refined is amazing . . . . Is something to be proud of.”