Class of 2015: Briana Harris
B.S., Exercise Science
College of Education and Human Development
When Briana Harris made the 2,000-mile trek from her native California to Georgia State University, she knew she’d have to get outside her comfort zone to overcome her natural introversion and make new friends.
She became a member of the 1913 Society, Georgia State’s prestigious student ambassador program. She tried out for the Pantherettes dance team, joining the squad to cheer on the Panthers at football and basketball games. She even became a fitness instructor.
Her boot camp classes at the Georgia State Student Recreation Center weren’t exactly like being in the Marines, but she acted the part of a drill sergeant, shouting to push her students forward through each intense exercise.
“I was loud, I wanted people to be motivated, I wanted people to keep going, and I didn’t stop until the 30 seconds for each exercise was over,” Harris said. “I was pushing you to fight through it, and to make sure you didn’t slow down.”
While she made sure to boost the confidence of her fitness students, her own self-confidence was something she wanted to work on. She decided to challenge herself by running for Homecoming queen, something she knew would mean putting herself out into the intimidating public eye.
“I kind of ran for Homecoming to prove something to myself—that I can do this, and that I am who I say I am,” Harris said after winning the crown last year. “I am confident, I am beautiful, I am all of these great things, and I love Georgia State. I shouldn’t be afraid to go after things.”
And Harris, an exercise science major who plans to become a pediatric physical therapist, did it all while maintaining stellar grades in the Honors College. This month she’ll be honored with the Nell Hamilton Trotter Student Leadership Award, the highest student leadership award presented by the university.
About the College of Education and Human Development’s Fall Convocation
While the University Commencements signify the official conferral of degrees, the College of Education and Human Development’s Convocation Ceremony is an opportunity for the college to recognize its graduates by name and celebrate its students’ achievements.