Bri’Yana Merrill , Bri as she is known to many, is a second year Physics of Medicine student at Rockhurst University. Bri is an active student engaged as a Student Senator, a member of the Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Committee, a Resident Assistant, and a contributor to RU’s student-led podcast. For the last two years she has worked closely with faculty, staff, and peers to tackle issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. Bri’s perspective and voice are respected by her fellow students and employees alike. As a Student Senator she has been vocal and involved regarding Senate’s efforts to help lead and serve the student body as they have navigated everything from COVID to Student Senate’s and the University’s response to local/state/national incidents of racism and injustice. As an RA and student leader, people note Bri’s efforts to build an inviting, caring, and inclusive community within her hallway and residence hall. In the student-led podcasts and Student Senate, Bri offers her mature and balanced perspective on a wide range of matters while also exhibiting a sense of openness and natural curiosity/inquisitiveness.
As an African American woman, society expects me to become a certain way due to those attributes about myself; I proved society wrong. Through my efforts to promote racial equality in my community, I reject the notion to conform to societal standards of who I should be, and embrace who I am. I previously served as the secretary for Voices for Justice where we introduced various social justice topics on campus with the goal of informing and empowering individuals. As a Student Senator, I help to find innovative ways to create and maintain an inclusive campus climate while embracing the many different cultures and backgrounds surrounding me. Here, I’m able to work as a vessel for the students’ voice and advocate for change. As an RA, I foster a welcoming environment while also embracing meaningful connections with my peers. On the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee composed of faculty, staff, and students, I offer innovative ideas on how to bring about sustainable change onto campus and have even conveyed my perspective on student belonging in a panel discussion. Ultimately, my mission is to impact and empower the individuals that proceed and follow me in an era that desperately needs change.