Amy Cohen, class of 1992, Lisa Stern Kaplowitz, class of 1995, and Jennifer Hsu Todd, class of 1995


In 1991, Brown University announced that four varsity sports, including women’s volleyball and gymnastics, would have their funding cut forcing them to become varsity club sports. In 1992, after repeated attempts to rectify an alleged budget issue, thirteen female student athletes brought suit against the University stating that the University was in violation of the 1972 Title IX legislation that stipulated that there be no gender-based discrimination in any federally funded educational activity.

In this interview, gymnasts Amy Cohen, class of 1992, Lisa Stern Kaplowitz, class of 1995, and Jennifer Hsu Todd, class of 1995, discuss their experiences as plaintiffs in the Title IX case, Cohen et. al. v. Brown University.

The interviewees begin by introducing themselves, sharing some personal background information, and explaining their reasons for deciding to attend Brown University. They cite reasons including word of mouth, the gymnastic team’s record, and positive experiences during visits. Kaplowitz and Todd go on to explain that they were notified of the gymnastic team’s demotion from varsity to club sport just before arriving on campus and they talk about why they decided to attend anyway.

They all share their earliest memories of their time on campus and they talk about the close-knit athletics community. They describe their various efforts to raise money to continue competing as a club varsity team. When their repeated efforts to regain university support failed, Cohen, Kaplowitz, and Todd reflect on filing the lawsuit and how it impacted their time on campus and their lives after graduation. They discuss working with lawyers when not training for gymnastics or doing coursework and facing backlash in the Brown Daily Herald and from fellow athletes. They also explain feeling concerned that news of their involvement could damage their careers.

In closing, they each discuss the courses their careers took after Brown and since the lawsuit ended. They emphasize that they look back fondly on their time at Brown and see their work on the suit as something that helped them find their voices and allowed them to fight for what was right.


Recorded on October 26, 2021 via Zoom
Interviewed by Amanda Knox, Pembroke Center Assistant Archivist

Suggested Chicago style citation: Cohen, Amy, Kaplowitz, Lisa Stern and Todd, Jennifer Hsu. Interview. By Amanda Knox. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. October 26, 2021.


Amy Cohen, class of 1992

Amy Cohen graduated from Brown University in 1992 with a B.A. in Political Science. She went on to earn a teaching certificate and a Masters in Education from Framingham State College. She has taught elementary, middle and high school in New York City, Baltimore, Washington, D.C, Venezuela, Costa Rica and New Jersey. Currently she works as a Learning Specialist for 5-8th graders in Morristown, New Jersey.

While at Brown she earned all-Ivy Honors and was a member of the first Brown gymnastics team to win the Ivy League Championships. She was the named plaintiff in Amy Cohen et al. v. Brown University, a landmark Title IX case that pushed schools around the country to increase athletic opportunities for women.

She has received accolades for her teaching and her advocacy for Women’s Rights being named Teacher of the Year twice (Morrell Park Elementary Middle School), One of the 20 Most Influential Women in Sports (Women’s Sports and Fitness Magazine), A Woman of Distinction (National Association for Women in Education), A Woman of the Year (Ms. Magazine) as well as being inducted into Columbia High School’s Hall of Fame and Sports Hall of Fame, receiving recognition from the US Senate for Making Significant Contributions Towards Equality in Sports, and being asked to contribute personal items from her Title IX journey to the Smithsonian collection at the National Museum of American History.

Lisa Stern Kaplowitz, class of 1995

Lisa Kaplowitz is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Women in Business, and assistant professor of finance at Rutgers Business School, where she leverages 25+ years of experience as an investment banker and CFO. Lisa is also a restless champion for gender equality and her work has been featured on Bloomberg TV and in Forbes, CFO Magazine and She earned a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Brown and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. At Brown, Lisa was captain of the Women’s Gymnastics team, earned all-Ivy and all-ECAC honors and was inducted in the Brown Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018. She also co-founded Brown Athletics W.O.M.E.N. (Women’s Opportunity, Mentorship & Empowerment Network) to connect student athletes and alumni for professional development.

Lisa’s advocacy began as a scholar-athlete at Brown University, when she was part of the landmark Title IX case that added more varsity athletic opportunities for women. Today, she continues to champion gender equity at work and in the home, alongside her husband and teenage sons.

Jennifer Hsu Todd, class of 1995

Jen Todd is Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of The Basketball Tournament (TBT), the innovative, million-dollar, winner-take-all tournament that is now a staple of ESPN’s summer broadcast lineup. Originally responsible for structuring event operations, her role now includes building all sponsor, host, and agency partnerships across TBT as well as overseeing the property’s strategic expansion to new sports and events. She is currently working to bring a million-dollar, first-of-its-kind women’s tournament to fruition in 2022, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

Prior to joining TBT, Jen led the BMW team at Octagon Sports Marketing, activating BMW’s sponsorship of such events as The America’s Cup and the BMW Golf Championship. Jen also spent seven years as a strategy consultant to a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies. She received her undergraduate degree with honors from Brown University and her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She currently serves on the Boston Regional Leadership Council of One Love, an organization dedicated to ending relationship abuse, and has served on the National Board of Women in Sports and Events (WISE). Jen also took two years away from work to travel the world to four continents and 40 countries. She lives in Boston with her husband, John, and their three children.