• YEAR: Senior
  • MAJOR: Psychology and Law and Society
  • HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Brittany Mihalecadkins

As a student leader, Brittany Paige Mihalec-Adkins has always put an emphasis on making positive changes and being open to all perspectives. She creates a welcoming environment where students can learn from her array of experiences and thrive under her mentorship. Brittany will leave a legacy as an advocate for social justice and diversity that is inclusive of all.

Legacy of leadership

Brittany's proudest moment as a Boilermaker was the first time a student came to her for advice. "I remember being so happy that I was finally someone whom others would look up to for support," she says. In her work for student organizations — which includes the Psi Chi Honors Society, DiversiKey and serving as the executive director of diversity and inclusion for Purdue Student Government — Brittany helps students find their niche, learn how to be a voice for others and build camaraderie within their communities.

Journeys of equity

Beyond the classroom and extracurricular activities, Brittany finds time to add to her journey through research on educational equality. "I began working in an engineering education research lab in the fall of my freshman year and quickly became involved in projects that explored differences in the ways that boys and girls identified with STEM fields," she says. "I also began working in a psychological sciences research lab studying stereotyping and prejudice." Brittany explains that these experiences, which are now the focus of her honors thesis research, have helped her empower students to become more than the statistics that describe them and to succeed in whatever field they choose.

Influencing inclusivity

Brittany felt a little lost upon arriving on campus, but found her place through caring for others. Being in a position to serve as an advocate allows her to bring her personal experiences to bear in the ongoing effort to encourage a more inclusive Purdue. Toward that end, Brittany has been working with the University Development Office to establish an award for students who need and deserve the opportunity to apply for postgraduate programs and continue their education. "Knowledge really is the most valuable currency," she says.

Keeping the promise

Brittany made the most of her experience as a Purdue Promise Scholarship student, which helped her to get through school with limited student debt. "As a first-year student, I had a mentor through the Purdue Promise program. I became a mentor my sophomore year, helped oversee the mentoring program as an assistant coach during my junior year, and just finished serving as a mentor again in the fall of my senior year." Last but not least, Brittany also was on the 2014 Homecoming Court. "I had a total blast with some amazing people, got to go on the field at halftime, and to be in a parade! What more can a girl ask for?"