IU clock tower

Indiana University is full of women making a difference in their respective fields. Be it research, health, the arts or business, IU Bloomington has a plethora of female role models for students to look up to. But in addition to hosting strong female faculty and staff, IU is also home to the next generation of innovative women who are making their own mark at IU and beyond.

Rachel Green, senior, economics and sociology major

Like so many Americans, Rachel Green sees sexual assault as an unconscionable injustice -- one that deserves swift and effective intervention at college campuses especially, where there's growing concern over the matter.

She understands that such a complex issue has no simple remedy, but she also knows she wants to help find a solution.

Rachel Green smiles for the camera
Rachel Green

"I don't feel comfortable doing anything else, and I can't sit still until I've made an impact," said Green, a senior from Germantown, Tenn., studying economics and sociology.

The decision hasn't always been so obvious. When Green, a Wells Scholar, first landed at IU, she explored a variety of her interests.

"At some point I was an Arabic major, then I switched to French, then speech and hearing sciences. I remember taking a psychology class my sophomore year and thinking: 'This is definitely what I want to do.' I was all over the place."

It became clearer, she said, when she trained to become a crisis-line volunteer at the Middle Way House, a local shelter for victims of abuse and violence.

"It was emotionally draining," she said. "It was really hard to hear some of those stories, but I knew I wanted to do more. It kind of decided itself for me then."

In 2012, Green joined Culture of Care, a student-run organization seeking to improve awareness of sexual well-being, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and respect on campus. She was selected as co-chair of the organization during the 2013-14 school year and now serves as senior adviser, where she mentors current leaders and manages relationships with other student organizations.

Since summer 2014, she's served on the Student Welfare Initiative's executive council, coordinating efforts at IU campuses to not only prevent but appropriately respond to any allegations of sexual misconduct. She represented the university in a panel discussion last year at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in Indianapolis. "I shared my perspective as a student and told them what we, as Hoosiers, are doing to spur students at other universities to make an impact on their campuses as well."

Still, Green realizes that to truly make a difference in the field, activism can only accomplish so much.

"There's a lot you can do with on-the-ground culture change, but policies also have to change to target the problem from both ends," she said.

In November, she was one of 12 students nationwide awarded the George J. Mitchell Scholarship for graduate study at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. As part of the scholarship, which honors the former U.S. senator for his contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process, she'll meet with politicians and diplomatic representatives from all over the world.

After that, she's eyeing law school. "Basically what I'm doing at IU, I just want to scale it up. I'd love to be one of the movers and shakers one day."

Kristie Hsu, junior, neuroscience major

When Kristie Hsu enrolled at IU, her decision wasn't prompted by any particular program but by the breadth of options available.

"Becoming a Hoosier meant freedom to explore my full range of intellectual interests," said Hsu, adding that her older sister, an IU alum, had some sway, too. "What really attracted me was its depth in many areas, from natural sciences to athletics to the arts. It's a unique mix of diverse and interconnected communities."

Kristie Hsu smiles for the camera
Kristie Hsu

"Becoming a Hoosier meant freedom to explore my full range of intellectual interests," said Hsu, adding that her older sister, an IU alum, had some sway, too. "What really attracted me was its depth in many areas, from natural sciences to athletics to the arts. It's a unique mix of diverse and interconnected communities."

Not long after her arrival at IU in fall 2012, though, Hsu felt something was missing from the experience.

"I noticed the lack of a cohesive unit on IU's campus to showcase undergraduate research," said Hsu, a neuroscience major.

Through a few quick Google searches, she found many universities had journals that published research exclusively from undergraduates -- noteworthy because most published work is reserved for grad students and professionals.

Unsure if such an organization would be viable at IU, she reached out to the coordinator of another university's publication, who convinced her of the value of a journal that would encourage undergrads to pursue and publish their research.

Recognizing that such a venture would be impossible to accomplish on her own, Hsu discussed the next steps with one of her mentors on campus. Encouraged, she put together a formal proposal and presented to the vice provost of undergraduate education, who was sold.

"Our timing aligned serendipitously with the office's push for more undergraduate research," Hsu said.

She pieced together a team of dependable peers, drafted a constitution and recruited staff to support the endeavor. After a series of back-and-forth conversations with the organization's co-founders, Janit Pandya and Kishan Sangani, and university administrators, the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research was off the ground in fall 2014.

But the effort is far from complete, she said.

"Seeking submissions from many different fields for a first-ever publication is tough," Hsu said. "A major obstacle we've encountered and continue to struggle with is finding effective outreach methods to student authors in all fields."

With time, she anticipates, the journal will gain momentum. "Ultimately, we hope IUJUR and IU's undergraduate research community will only continue to help each other grow, and that year to year, the publication will be an excellent reflection of Hoosiers' vibrant and diverse culture of curiosity," she said.

As for her own future, Hsu is still uncertain, though she's sure it will be in the field of health care. "The specifics are evolving," she said, especially since she's been abroad with an international honors program this spring semester, globetrotting between Asian, African and South American nations with 34 students and faculty from other universities.

For now, she's grateful for the experiences she's been afforded, and to the people who have helped guide her along.

"Being a student at IU has put me in touch with goofy, motivated and passionate faculty and peers," she said. "My discussions here have sharpened my critical thinking and pushed me to ask better questions."

Precious Price, sophomore, marketing major

For as long as she can remember, Precious Price had her heart set on going to college. The driving force wasn't the social scene or independence college life promised; instead, she wanted to serve as a role model.

As a first-generation college student, she feels an obligation to lay the groundwork for her siblings. "I'm really just trying to pave the way for my brothers and sisters," said Price, the oldest of five.

Precious Price smiles for the camera, she is sitting on a couch in the Hodge Hall lobby
Precious Price

Her aspirations don't end with a college degree, though. Price, a sophomore marketing major in the Kelley School of Business, is driven to one day run her own brand consulting firm, ideally in a big city on the East Coast, she said.

"Until I get there, everything else is a stepping stone," said Price, 18, whose mother owns a hair salon in Merrillville, Ind., her hometown. "She didn't always have that salon; she worked her way up and was always doing something to further her career and build something. I admire her for that."

Price is cognizant of the disadvantage she's at entering into business marketing, where men hold most positions of power, but she's not intimidated.

"It's just an obstacle," she said. "When I don't see a lot of people in a room or in an industry who look like myself, it really motivates me to get there."

After powering through high school in three years, Price said she's taking the time to appreciate the culture of IU and soak up the experiences. She's resident assistant of the Kelley Living Learning Center in McNutt Quad, where she occasionally has to forgo a night out for her duties, but it's helping shape her into a leader, she said.

"I've gained a different perspective as an RA," she said. "I love being around students who share the same ambitions as me, and I feel like I'm definitely impacting my community."

She's also an undergraduate assistant in Kelley's office of admissions, where she's been inspired to help others like herself. "There aren't a lot of women in Kelley, and there definitely aren't a lot of underrepresented minorities," said Price, who is African American.

Although the pressure to perform sometimes hangs heavily, it also fuels her desire to succeed, she said.

"My family's depending on me to set the way for my siblings and cousins," she said. "It's a ton of pressure, definitely, but it's good, supportive pressure, and I've fed off of that."