Celebrating Graduate Students Building Community: Briana Spivey

UGA Graduate Education empowers students to make a difference in their communities. Our graduate students have contributed in a variety of ways to build community within their departments, the university and larger community. While there are so many amazing students we like to highlight those who have contributed above and beyond to build community within their disciplinary areas on campus and within the broader community of Georgia. This selection was based on the many nominations from their peers at the institution and within the community in which they served.

Briana was nominated by her graduate coordinator, Malissa A. Clark.

Briana has made an outstanding commitment to all aspects of what it means to be a graduate student here at the University of Georgia. With here aspirations of becoming a tenure track professor, Briana has continuously demonstrated her passion for obtaining this goal by her engagement with her community here at UGA and her community here in Athens and all over, her research acumen, and her pride on education and mentorship.

Why UGA?

“I am true Georgia peach. I have been in Georgia my entire life, so a big reason for choosing UGA was being able to work with my mentor. UGA also grants me the ability to be close to my family and my support system which is extremely important to me. It was at UGA that I could see myself thrive and attain the resources and the connections to continue building myself as an academic. UGA is where I saw my next chapter of growth and am happy to have made the decision to continue growing here.”

What/Who has helped you to grow the most?

“This is such a great question. The first thing that came to mind for me was life. Life with all its ups, downs, and turns has helped me grow. I would also say that my village helps me grow the most! Not only do they push me, but they nurture me while growing, which is something I hope everyone can have. Graduate school while the biggest stressor also helps me grow in a different way because it opens up my mind to what I didn’t know was possible. Graduate school pushes the bounds of my knowledge and allows me the opportunity to become not only a producer of knowledge but a consumer which is important to my growth.”

What advice would you give students looking to make a difference like you?

“I would say always remember your why. A lot of times being in graduate school we can get bogged down in the milestones and the constant struggles of being a graduate student but your why is what is pushing you to make that difference. Don’t forget why you are following your dreams. I would also say do your best today! Graduate school is hard and trying to make a difference while doing it is a feat in itself, but I want to remind you that you can only do your best today. Every day our motivation shifts so lean into it and remind yourself that through it all you did today’s best! Also know there is tomorrow, so don’t forget that! ”

Describe how you got involved with the Grady Nia Project and what it means to you.

“The Grady Nia Project is near and dear to my heart. My involvement with Nia began in undergrad and I was delighted to be able to return back in my third year. My involvement with Nia allows me to provide mental health services solely with Black women in the Atlanta area and ensure they are receiving culturally competent and impactful care. Too many times throughout history, Black women are forgotten. Nia allows me to prioritize the mental health care for Black women and give them space to be seen and heard by someone who looks like them.”

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