Briana Hollins, who recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in informatics from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Kate Hevner Mueller Outstanding Senior Award.
The award, which recognizes seniors who have proven leadership on campus both inside and outside of the classroom and who have improved the IU community by their presence, was awarded to just 28 students. Hollins earned the recognition for her undergraduate research, her work with the Groups STEM Initiative, and her chairmanship for the I Can Persist program, which leads STEM activities at IU for high school minority girls. Hollins also served as the including chair for Bridge USA.
“This award means that imposter syndrome is very real,” Hollins said. “I almost didn’t apply for the award because I had already concluded that I was not worthy of winning since there are thousands of amazing students how have done so much. Earning this award was the validation I needed to get out of a mindset of thinking I was not enough. Comparing myself to other students who have also achieved great things did not take away from what I've done.”
Hollins has been a research assistant with the Proactive Health Informatics lab focusing on women’s health experiences since 2018. Professor Katie Siek, the chair of the Department of Informatics who is the program director of Proactive Health Informatics, saw Hollins’ hard work at a young age.
“Bri will go out of her way to figure out how to do any task,” Siek said. “When she was a recent high school graduate, she figured out how to program, work with electronics, and use a programmable embroidery machine I inherited for an interactive, assistive wearable device so that people with disabilities could communicate with trainers during equine therapy.
“Then, as a first- and second-year undergraduate, she helped us plan a study to better understand the miscarriage experiences of women in the United States and the United Kingdom through a collaboration with IU Public Health and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, which resulted in published work. This past year, Bri has been instrumental on the Informatics Executive Committee to help us identify what our values are as a department. She facilitated focus groups with her peers, summarized the results, presented her findings to the executive committee, and advocated for students throughout the year. I’m thrilled IU is recognizing Briana with this award.”
Hollins believes she has found success because she has been willing to try new things, something she encourages all students to do.
“Failure is not an end but a new opportunity to try again or to move on,” Hollins said. “It’s important to try as many new things as you can, create new passions, new friendships, a new you. Most importantly, college is the time for you to grow, heal, build self-love, and find who you want to be.”
The award honors Kate Hevner Mueller, who served IU as Dean of Women, Senior Counselor for Women, and Professor of Education from 1937-1969. Mueller was a national pioneer for women professionals and developed the Master’s Program in College Student Personnel (Higher Education and Student Affairs) at Indiana University in the early 1950s.
“Briana is richly deserving of the Kate Hevner Mueller Award, and we couldn’t be more proud of her efforts inside and outside of the classroom,” said Dennis Groth, interim dean of the Luddy School. “Luddy students are known across campus for their ability to excel in leadership roles, and Briana’s drive to learn while lifting others is an inspiration for every IU student.”