Outstanding Collegiate Member

Briana Lino

Tufts University

For laying the groundwork to build a strong graduate SWE community; for commitment to making the scientific research community more inclusive; and for ensuring STEM opportunities are accessible.

Briana Lino is a Ph.D. candidate studying biotechnology engineering under the Van Deventer Lab in the School of Engineering at Tufts University. Lino enrolled in Tufts after earning a B.A. in biochemistry with a minor in health and society at Wellesley College. Despite not having an engineering background, she applied and was accepted into Tufts’ Ph.D. in biotechnology engineering program, where she has thrived as a novel yet determined researcher who is investigating how to expand the genetic code in yeast to develop druglike proteins. Although at the experimental stage, her research has the potential to benefit both engineers and biologists.

In addition to her academic work and research, Lino has been involved with several campus organizations, including the Tufts Graduate Society of Women Engineers (Tufts GradSWE), the Tufts Graduate Student Council, and the Tufts Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Society. Her participation in these and other organizations has positioned her to serve on university-level committees as a graduate student representative. They also have provided Lino meaningful connections to create programs, raise and address issues of concern among graduate students, and offer resources to support them during the pandemic.

The Medford, Massachusetts, resident learned about Tufts GradSWE during her first semester and expressed interest in serving as its graduate financial officer, a key role in securing, managing, and distributing funds for the group. She was elected and worked closely with the Tufts Graduate Student Council to secure more than $18,000, the largest-ever budget for a graduate student organization on the Tufts Medford campus. Funding enabled Lino to organize substantive events throughout the year to help build a sense of community among graduate students during periods of isolation and virtual learning.

Lino co-hosted a scavenger hunt for graduate students who started at Tufts during the pandemic to explore the campus for the first time. Clues included information about resources available at each location, making the event both fun and instructive. For finals week, she ordered and delivered 50 self-care kits containing treats, skin care items, and a craft to help students relax during a stressful period. These as well as virtual events produced consistent involvement among graduate students and GradSWE members. To mark the section’s fifth anniversary, Lino organized a summer commemorative event. In addition to receiving SWE-engraved giveaways, attendees completed a survey with their feedback used to inform the Tufts GradSWE executive board of students’ needs and interests.

Her participation in SWE’s virtual WE20 conference provided Lino a wealth of resources about networking, community building, and careers that she shares with section leaders to supplement their ideas on section activities and goals. Lino currently serves as graduate director of Tufts GradSWE, guiding new recruits into leadership roles within the group and helping them organize social and professional development events for all students. Lino’s service and leadership within GradSWE and the Tufts community have been recognized with the Tufts GSWE Executive Service Award and the GradSWE Individual Award.

In her free time, Lino enjoys hiking, gardening, and do-it-yourself projects.