Student Spotlight: Treva Brown does Zumba for breast cancer

Anjanae Crump, Editor-in-Chief

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Treva Brown is a graduating PhD candidate in the department of chemistry at the University of New Orleans. With the knowledge she has gained she believes a cure for cancer is possible, and she hosts the Party in Pink Zumbathon to help contribute to the cause. Brown shared the details of her event with Driftwood.


AC: Anjanae Crump, Driftwood editor-in-chief

TB: Treva Brown, host of Party in Pink Zumbathon


AC: What inspired you to start the Party in Pink Zumbathon?

TB: My Pink Angel, Julia Jones. Mrs. Jones is my aunt that passed away from metastatic breast cancer. I saw how important it was to gain funding for research, which is one of the areas lacking when it comes to finding a cure. I vowed to myself, after taking her passing very hard, that I would always do something to honor her…. and hence, UNO Party in Pink was birthed from small beginnings of  funding with my graduate school stipend to bigger and better events made possible by amazing supporters such as the UNO Student Government Association and Healthy Blue Louisiana.


AC: Has it been successful? And if so, what makes you say so?

TB: Yes! Party in Pink has been successively getting better since its inception in 2013.

We raised over $1,200 for breast cancer prevention research! There were over 180 people in attendance, wonderful business owners in attendance, and Zumba instructors present from all over. People in attendance were from a wide range of areas including over 28 cities in Louisiana, six cities in Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; Miami and Orlando, Florida; Milton and Atlanta, Georgia; and even as far as Brooklyn, New York!  

We had the cutest dance groups in attendance: Moni Jai Dance Academy from Zachary  and Royal Xpression from New Orleans, and NOLA Mardi Gras dance groups (NOLA Nyxettes, New Orleans Belles and the Oui Dats).

We also had guest speakers Dr. Denise Roubion-Johnson of LSU Health Sciences Center and Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control Programs along with our Susan G. Komen – New Orleans Affiliate Speaker Kristen van Meerveld. We also had the pleasure of having in attendance Miss Black US Ambassador. We even ended all of the fun by celebrating three survivors that were in attendance in true New Orleans style with our Inaugural Party in Pink Survivor’s Second Line, complete with pink throws, handkerchiefs and second line umbrellas!


AC: What is it about Zumba that made you incorporate it into an event?

TB: I have been a Zumba instructor since 2012 and have always loved to dance. Zumba fitness spearheaded The Zumba® Global Research Grant for Breast Cancer Prevention in 2014. Funds raised or donated by our passionate, committed community go directly toward this grant, which allows us to be at the forefront of breast cancer prevention.


AC: Where exactly do the funds go and how are they raised at the event?

TB: Funds donated go directly towards the Zumba® Global Research Grant for Breast Cancer Prevention. The grant studies the effects of flaxseed consumption on pre-menopausal women through studies and extensive clinical trials. This is exceptionally promising, as flaxseed is an affordable, highly accessible solution to preventing breast cancer worldwide.

Funds are raised by donations from the participants. There is not a dollar amount nor [are there] tickets sold to attend the event, as I want to make the event accessible for the entire community. We do have in attendance vendors from the local community, including my handmade jewelry business, Beading by Treva B. Aramark provided food this year, which was available free of charge to participants.


AC: Being in the chemistry field, are you hopeful that one day a cure for cancer will be a reality?

TB: Yes … especially with all of the technological advances that are currently being made in this area of science that encompasses chemistry, biology, bioengineering and nanomedicine.


AC: What is it about chemistry that attracted to you pursue a career in it?

TB: I wanted to pursue a career in chemistry simply because it was an engaging world of concepts that made the composition of everyday materials fun to learn. Chemistry sparked my curiosity of the composition of everyday household items, which later sparked my interest in the composition of nanomaterials and various nanomechanical characterization techniques.


AC: You mentioned that you’re involved in other community activities. What are some of them?

TB: Some of the other community activities I’m involved in stem from the various target initiatives that my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., is engaged in. These include donating backpacks and school supplies to area schools, sprucing up playgrounds and giving back to the community via health programs and health awareness activities. I also oversee outreach activities in the chemistry department, such as [making] liquid nitrogen ice cream [for] Privateer Plunge and [going] to various area schools to show how fun chemistry can actually be.


AC: How can students get involved or keep track of the event for next year?

TB: Students can get involved and keep track of the event via Student Government communications during Privateer Plunge each year, as it is now a part of the healthy lifestyles target of Privateer Plunge.


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Student Spotlight: Treva Brown does Zumba for breast cancer