Centre News

Getting to know...the admission office’s Dawn Brown-Piatt


December 30, 2010
Dawn Assistant director of admission Dawn Brown-Piatt
1. Position at Centre?
Assistant director of admission

2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
Greenup County, Kentucky. It is a place.

3. What are your hobbies?
I like to read a lot, and I’m currently working on a very pretentious project in which I’m reading all of the past winners of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. I play tennis, and I just bought a new bike that I’m a little obsessed with. I like to cook.

4. What is your dream vacation?
I’ve been dying to see Africa since high school and would love to go there (and I recognize that Africa is big so “I’d like to see Africa” is pretty non-specific). I also really like live music and would be psyched to spend a couple of weeks travelling to see some of my favorite bands in cool cities.

5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
I would love to have an awesome answer to this, but I am totally art-knowledge deficient. Most of the paintings in my apartment came from Garden Ridge. I like things that are blue...

6. Favorite novel or poem?
I really love “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman. When I’m feeling down I flip through it like other people flip through the Bible. My favorite book (although it is not a novel) is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I read it my senior year at Centre and have been obsessed ever since. I started reading it and thought, “Yes! These are my thoughts! But better!”

7. Favorite sport (to watch or play)?
I sort of hate sports. I just don’t get it. I’ve tried really really hard to make myself care about football or basketball and I can’t do it. Tennis and soccer are about the only sports I can watch, and that’s probably because I played both in high school.

8. Favorite TV show?
30 Rock; I quote it constantly, and when no one gets my references, I just mutter “30 Rock” under my breath and pretend it didn’t happen.

9. Favorite album?
This is a tough one; my favorite album ever is probably Wincing the Night Away by The Shins. I’m a big fan of The New Pornographers and Arcade Fire (and I got to see them both at Lollapalooza this summer and it was awesome), and I’m on a Sufjan Stevens kick at the moment.

10. Favorite holiday?
My birthday; it’s the only holiday that’s all about me.

11. Favorite food?
Chicken etouffe at J. Gumbo’s in Louisville (only from the Frankfort Avenue location, though). This is closely followed by anything made by my grandmother.

12. Most prized possession?
I guess I’d have to say my truck; I’m always on the go, and it gets me places. Unfortunately, it puts me on top of the call list when friends are moving.

13. Three people, living or deceased, who you’d invite to the same dinner party?
Walt Whitman, Tina Fey and Dave Eggers, but if they didn’t like me I’d be devastated.

14. Favorite aspect of your job?
I should probably say meeting lots of neat, bright prospective students. And that part is pretty awesome, but the best part is the travel. On the job, I’ve gotten to visit D.C., NYC, Boston, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, L.A., Denver and more. I’m also absolutely convinced that I have the best coworkers in the world. I’m hard to please, and I genuinely like each and every person I work with. That’s important when you’re spending eight hours straight in a room together making admission decisions. That was a long, multi-part answer, but I really like my job.

15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
I spent two weeks touring Ireland and England my sophomore year of high school, and I think it really impressed upon me the importance of thinking outside of the bubble that is your immediate community.

16. What would you be doing if you weren’t working at Centre?
I have no idea. I was paralyzed by indecisiveness towards my future before I started working here. If my job disappeared, I’d probably just go back to that place.

17. Educational experience that’s been most helpful to you?
After I graduated from Centre, I spent two years at Wake Forest getting my master’s in English. And I hated it. At the time, I was considering attempting a Ph.D. in English, and my experience at Wake made me realize it wasn’t a good choice for me. I’m still really glad I went because I think otherwise I’d always wonder if I should’ve gone for it.

18. Fictional character in whose shoes you’d love to spend a day?
Amelie; I guess on paper her life isn’t that great, since she’s just a waitress dating a guy with a bike who works at a shop of questionable repute…but still. She has cute hair and lives in France.

19. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
I love Fox Hall. I lived in the Fox 4 apartment during my senior year, so it holds a lot of good memories.

20. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
Even if you hate it, stick out the whole first year. I was miserable my first semester at Centre. I was homesick, I was feeling challenged by my coursework for the first time and I was too shy to leave my room for meals. Seriously. I considered transferring but decided to stay a little bit longer. Sometime around February of my freshman year it clicked, and I’ve loved Centre ever since.

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail Leigh Cocanougher with your feedback.



Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices.
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