First-year Student Breanna Brasher Excited to Build Lifelong Connections at Whittier College

September 1, 2023

Breanna Brasher with her horse named ZellyBreanna Brasher knows what it’s like to have a chosen family. Born and raised in San Diego, the first-year student graduated from Helix Charter High School and now finds herself making new relationships at Whittier College.

Because her adoptive parents were foster parents for 14 years, Brasher comes from a large, blended family, living with four siblings. Her mother is a therapeutic riding instructor who works with people with developmental disabilities; her dad is a digital media specialist.

Brasher, whose biological parents are of Asian descent, described living as a person of color with white adoptive parents as an eye-opening experience. She is majoring in psychology at Whittier to become a trauma psychologist.

“My experiences as a child have led me to want to pursue this field because I've wanted to learn more about trauma and how to heal from it,” Brasher said. “It'd be cool to be able to help others work through their own trauma. I've always enjoyed interacting with people. I've felt like I'm able to build connections and build friendships quite easily.”

When not studying, Brasher likes running and hiking, drinking matcha and boba and reading — Brasher has work-study plans as a library assistant. 

Brasher also followed in her parent’s footsteps with horse riding and has a 25-year-old “flea-bitten” gray horse named Zelly. She has competed in various events like hunter jumping, dressage, equitation and more since she was 10.

“Having a horse is great because you build character,” Brasher said. “It definitely teaches you a lot about commitment. It teaches you about responsibility, about sacrifice and it definitely teaches you how to really budget your money.”

Brasher is still figuring out what sort of clubs and intramural sports she will participate in at Whittier. But it wasn’t just extracurricular activities, access to hiking trails or amazing opportunities for internships that attracted her during her campus tour. It was the proximity to home and small class sizes that delivere a personalized education.

“It felt eclectic, it felt homey, it felt very welcoming,” Brasher said. “All the people were so inviting and friendly. These are the kinds of people that I would want to be with.”