2024 Orley Student Mental Health Advocates Recognized


Sarah Acree

Two outstanding student advocates were recognized at the 2024 Depression on College Campuses Conference with the George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award.  Brianna Baker of Columbia University and Jacquelyn Wrubel of the University of Michigan were nominated by their peers and colleagues for their passion and outstanding commitment to improving mental health on campus and throughout their communities.  

Nearly 100 people attended the award ceremony at The Michigan League, including conference attendees, U-M faculty and staff, and past Orley Award recipients. Lindsey Mortensen, M.D., chief mental health officer and associate executive director of the University Health Service, presented the awards. 

About Brianna Baker 

Two young Black women standing in front of podium holding an award.
From left: Brianna Baker and Kamara Gardner

A fourth-year Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, Brianna Baker has been described as an “unwavering force dedicated to positive change in our world.” She has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to bringing attention to mental well-being and its intersection with racial health disparities.

This commitment is most clearly demonstrated by her innovative use of storytelling with her project Her Little Blue Book: A Mental Wellness Blueprint for the Adolescent Black Girl. She created a journal that uses evidence-based methods to guide young Black girls through a healing journey.

Beyond her research, Brianna has demonstrated a deep commitment to championing the mental wellness of those around her. In her nomination letter, Kamara Gardner praised Baker's contributions to mental wellness for BIPOC communities.

“Brianna's fearlessness as a mental health champion is evident in her tireless efforts to advance community and policy-level interventions,” the letter read. “Her dedication, innovative projects, and impactful roles position her as a true trailblazer in the field of mental health advocacy.”

Outside of her scholarly research, Baker has taken on many positions that expand her impact. She currently serves as a member-at-large for the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, supports the work of The Steve Fund, and is an American Psychological Association Minority fellow. In each of these roles, she champions wellness for those around her.

About Jacquelyn Wrubel

Two women standing holding an award.
Jacquelyn Wrubel (right) with her mother, Alicia Wrubel

A junior at the University of Michigan, Jacquelyn Wrubel was nominated for her leadership and passion as an advocate for mental health among her peers and classmates. Her far-reaching impact can be felt by students, faculty, Michigan Medicine patients, and care providers across Michigan and beyond.

Her dedication was recognized by nominator Stephany Daniel, who supervised Wrubel during her work with PRISM, a U-M initiative that helps providers implement the psychiatric Collaborative Care Model. In her nomination, Daniel praised Wrubel for the myriad ways she advocates for others.

“From her work, to her volunteering, to her studies, Jacquelyn embodies the values of this award by advocating for her peers, raising awareness of mental health issues, and helping to reduce stigma around mental health conditions,” wrote Daniel.

The nomination letter highlighted the breadth in which Wrubel’s advocacy can be felt. Beyond working with PRISM to redesign training materials, she is a student mental health support group facilitator for the CAPS Wolverine Support Network. There, she spearheaded efforts to bring faculty from U-M’s Department of Psychiatry to connect students with experts in the areas where the most impact.


Four past and current recipients of Orley award standing in front of podium.
Pictured from left: 2022 recipient Brandon Bond, M.P.H., LLMSW, CHES; 2024 winners Jacquelyn Wrubel and Brianna Baker; and 2021 awardee Sara Abelson, Ph.D., M.P.H.

About the George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award

The George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award is named in honor of the memory of George Orley, who sadly lost his battle with depression in 2013, just before his junior year at the University of Michigan. It’s made possible through the generous support of his parents, Randy and Diane Orley of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, along with his siblings, Amanda and Sam. It is presented in the spring at the annual Depression on College Campuses Conference. Learn more