An Alumni Q&A With Market Research Consultant Cameron Brown, '83
With her gift for languages, Cameron Brown `83 worked for many years abroad after graduating from UC Santa Barbara. Traversing continents and cultures, she taught English and worked for the Peace Corps. When she returned to the United States, Brown went on to earn her master’s degree in international business from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She now works as a market research consultant Training Management Corporation/Berlitz in the Los Angeles area, and often returns to UC Santa Barbara with her husband and children during the summer to attend the Family Vacation Center camp.
This fall, Brown will be hosting the Los Angeles Welcome Reception with fellow UC graduate Steve Algert on Saturday, August 20. In this Alumni Q&A, Brown talks about her international experience, the Family Vacation Center and why she is proud to be a Gaucho.
What drew you to study at UC Santa Barbara?
When I was applying for college I wanted to live in a new place, yet within the state. I'd lived in Los Angeles until I was 10 and then in the S.F. Bay Area until I was 18 years old. Santa Barbara was far enough away from both destinations and I was interested in the UC schools, so I applied to UCSB. Also, as an outdoor enthusiast, I loved the beautiful location near the mountains and beach.
What made you decide on your major? How did your area of study help you in your career path?
I had a double major in economics and French, and finished my studies in 4 ½ years. I chose those majors as I was interested in an international business career. I had started studying French at age ten and my family hosted a boy from France for a summer when I was 16 years old -- so majoring in French was natural and enjoyable. I also liked economics and math, so I chose economics over business economics. I chose a double major, instead of just one, so I could also spend more time at UCSB! I studied hard, like all my friends, but had a lot of fun, too. I felt that my good GPA really meant a lot more than a comparable GPA at another campus since there were soooooo many distractions from studying at UCSB.
After graduating from UCSB, I worked for the Peace Corps in Morocco which led to a 5-year stint as an English as a Second Language teacher in Morocco, Japan and the United States. I then went to grad school at the Monterey Institute of International Studies to study for an MBA and to learn more Japanese.
Since then, I have worked for over 10 years in product marketing and research, and cross-cultural training -- also using my foreign language skills. Currently, I'm taking care of my elderly parents and I find that my cross-cultural know-how helps me successfully work with my parents' caregivers from the Philippines and Haiti.
Ready to take on the world: Cameron Brown’s graduation photo from 1983, before she joined the Peace Corps.
Were you involved in any student or community organizations? What was your social life like at UCSB?
I played IM Ultimate Frisbee and soccer with the same people for four years. My sophomore year I joined a sorority and became a campus tour guide. My junior year, I studied in France and then took off the next six months to work as an au pair in Paris. My 5th year on campus, I was an International Hall RA in the San Rafael dorms and learned to sail and surf (sort of).
I had a BLAST at UCSB.
You are hosting a Welcome Reception for incoming students in your area - what made you decide to host this event?
I have attended the Family Vacation Center (FVC) family camp held in the San Rafael dorms for the past 11 years with my family. I became friendly with our former FVC Director, John Lofthus -- he now works in Alumni Affairs. I'm happy to help John, Alumni Affairs and UCSB. I love UCSB and hosting a Welcome Reception is a way for me to give back to the school and share my enthusiasm with incoming Gauchos.
Let’s talk about the Family Vacation Center – what do you enjoy about this summer program at UC Santa Barbara?
I highly recommend attending the Family Vacation Center at the San Rafael dorms, on the edge of campus next to IV and the ocean bluffs, if you have kids. We've attended for one week for the past 11 summers, along with six other families. My husband and I enjoy the yoga, tennis, bike rides, hikes, wine tasting, dinners downtown and time at the beach. When my boys were younger, they loved all the fun activities and especially the freedom they got to walk places on their own within the San Rafael dorm complex - something they sorely didn't get to do in their daily lives.
Now that my boys are teenagers, they love biking to places, surfing, chilling with counselors and the overnight campout. All year we all talk about how much we like the dorm food and how much fun we have at the FVC! The first thing I do every summer when I get to the FVC is hop on my bike and cruise around campus and IV - I feel like a young, carefree college student again!
What makes you proud to be a Gaucho today?
I love hearing about all the accomplished scholars on staff at UCSB and how employers love UCSB students, as they are well-rounded, balanced, good thinkers.
What keeps you balanced?
Yoga and walking at the beach keep me balanced and sane in this busy, busy world of ours.