BUFFALO, N.Y. -- There's never been a dull University at Buffalo
moment for Kourtney Brown. Standing 6-feet-tall, Brown is a star
athlete on the women's basketball team, as her recent
record-breaking 35-point scoring night against Miami of Ohio
But Brown's real excitement, that even outpaces the feeling of
mastery she gets on UB's Alumni Arena basketball court, comes in
the classroom. Her ability and passion for building and programming
computers -- as well as the electrical components that go along
with it -- is what really makes her go.
Brown, one of two fifth-year seniors on the basketball team,
whose experience and talent have helped to make the Bulls a
success, is a dual major in computer science and engineering and
electrical engineering with a 3.3 grade point average. Her low-key
humble manner is a kind of a fake-out for the real story: If anyone
illustrates the value and virtue of a UB scholar-athlete, it's
"I never thought of myself as an inspiration, but if I can do
it, then you can do it, too," says Brown.
Her determination to succeed began early on in her schooling.
While most kids in elementary school wanted to grow up to become
firefighters or ballerinas, Brown wanted to become a rocket
However, after her first computer class at Solon High School in
Ohio, about 30 miles from Cleveland, she became fascinated with the
possibilities of the emerging world of information technology.
Computer programming was particularly hard to resist.
Throughout her four years in high school, Brown thrived both on
and off the court. After setting school records in basketball and
leading the Solon Comets to the state championship game, Brown
received the attention of colleges nationwide. UB recruited her as
a senior, as did the University of Charleston, Indiana University
of Pennsylvania, St. Bonaventure and the University of Toledo.
With her heart set on combining her passions of computer
science, electrical engineering and basketball, Brown chose UB and
its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
"I came here for engineering first and foremost," Brown says.
"[UB has] one of the top programs in the U.S.... Everyone is there
to help you and make you the best engineer that you can be."
Although Brown wants to be like the other 27,000 students that
attend the university, it's difficult to fade into the background
when she's breaking records. It was Brown's 33 points and 16
rebounds against Central Michigan last Wednesday that made her UB's
all-time leading scorer and rebounder, helping the Bulls to score
92 points -- the most they have ever scored in a Mid-American
Conference game -- and winning her the title of UB's Athlete of the
Brown's performance on the Central Michigan court helped her
break a university scoring record that has stood since 1997, and a
rebound record that has remained for 30 years. She now stands at
1,810 points and 1,050 rebounds. Brown is first in the MAC in
scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, blocked shots and
offensive rebounds, according to UB Athletics.
For her outstanding efforts this season, Brown was honored as
MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week, an award given to a
student-athlete with a grade point average of at least 3.0 and a
strong performance during the week's competition.
But Brown's accomplishments don't stop there. Last year, she was
the second UB student-athlete to receive All-Mid-American
Conference First-Team Honors. She also earned Academic All-Mac
Recognition for her second-consecutive season, was named MAC
Defensive Player of the Year, and managed to set record highs for
her career, the university and the conference.
She might get her name recognition from basketball, but Brown is
much more than a record-breaking player. She earned a Daniel Acker
Scholarship for academics and recently, received the SUNY
Chancellor Scholar-Athlete Award, a prestigious distinction
reserved for student-athletes who excel in both academics and
Brown works hard and plays even harder to maintain her status as
a student-athlete. Her schedule is a carefully crafted
work-in-progress, guiding her through each day and allowing her to
balance both school and basketball.
"It takes a lot of planning. I write up a schedule the night
before to make sure I stay on top of stuff," Brown says. "[In one
day] I go to classes, lab to work on projects, then practice, then
back to lab, then find time to eat and sleep."
Balancing the demands of basketball and the demands of her major
is difficult. Brown remembers her early struggles of completing
freshman and sophomore engineering classes, and all the late nights
spent studying and playing catch-up. However, she has a strong
support system at home. Brown's Ohio roots -- her parents Kalvin
and Kim and siblings Kalvin Jr. and Brandie -- remain very
"My parents expected a lot of me when I was younger, and they
expected me to be the best I can be," Brown says. "Now, I'm just
feeding off of it. I really want to be the best I can be for both
them and my family."
Looking back on her time at UB, Brown has nothing but positive
sentiments and good memories to carry her through to life beyond
the university's walls. She views the years spent in Buffalo as an
important chapter of her life, and one that she's sad to say
"I'm happy that UB has given me the tools that I need to be
successful with the next part of my life.... I'm going to miss it.
It's been a big part of my life for the last five years."
Brown admits that she isn't through with basketball, just yet.
After graduating in May, she hopes to travel overseas to play on an
international team. However, Brown is not one to stop at a
bachelor's degree. This scholar wants to go back to school to
obtain her PhD in computer engineering.
For now, Brown is enjoying the last months of her undergraduate
career and time as a UB Bull.
"I already accomplished my main goal -- to graduate with my
computer engineering degree. My other [goal] is to have fun. My
time here is short, and I want to make as big an impact as I
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.