MEET OUR GRADUATES: An Advocate for Members of the LGBTQ Community with Substance Use Disorders

Brynn poses for the camera

“RIC taught me how to work and collaborate with people from different backgrounds while embracing my own,” says Brynn Terry.

Graduating from Rhode Island College has become an enduring tradition for alumna Brynn Terry and her mother, father and two brothers.

Her father Brian Terry earned his M.A. in counseling from RIC in 1990, her mother Stephanie Terry earned an M.S.W. in 1999, her middle brother Jarrod Terry earned a B.S. in special education in 2019 and her older brother Alex Terry earned a B.A. in political science and public administration in 2013. 

Terry herself is a two-time RIC alumna, with a B.A. in psychology (2022) and a B.S.W. (2023). She is a dynamic individual with a burning passion for helping others. She says her inspiration comes from her parents’ commitment to serving others. 

“My mom is incredible. Before she retired, her job involved reunifying families. These are families in which the parents struggled with substance use disorders that affected the children,” says Terry.

“But it was my dad who inspired me to want to work with adults with substance use disorders. Both my parents believe that everybody deserves an extra chance,” she says. 

Her parents’ influence showed itself throughout her tenure at RIC. During her first semester, Terry joined the RICovery club, a student support group that meets around issues of substance abuse.

“Being a part of this club helped me understand my future path,” she says. Terry has been president of the club for the last three years.

After earning her undergraduate degrees at RIC, Terry was hired as a behavioral technician, working with children on the autism spectrum at Meaningful Outcomes. Currently, she is a clinical case manager at Emory Recovery Center in Attleboro, where she is engaged in both counseling and case management. 

Last summer she worked with the Tri-County Community Action Agency on a 2023 State Opioid Response grant, providing opioid and stimulant use prevention training for RIC and Bryant University students and student-athletes. 

Terry praises and appreciates not only the opportunities she found at RIC but all the different professors, peers and advisors who challenged her in unique ways.

“RIC taught me how to work and collaborate with people from different backgrounds while embracing my own.” She says, “Dr. Marcotte, Dr. Battle and Dr. Lewis were incredibly inspiring advocates who pushed me throughout my experience at RIC, challenging me to develop and to keep asking questions. From Professor Battle, I especially learned a lot about my own identity as a queer person.”

Terry would love to earn her Ph.D. someday, but for now, she hopes to continue her research focused on the lack of support for queer individuals in sober living environments, which she began during her M.S.W. work. Now that she has finalized the pilot study, Terry hopes to find a research team and to develop a proposal to seek funding to roll out the study.

“I want to advocate for queer individuals. Particularly those who are gender non-binary and who struggle to find appropriate sober living facilities that align with their gender identity,” she says. “My research shows that there’s a need to ensure that house managers, employees and residents are equipped to provide the necessary support in a compassionate and understanding manner.”