When one thinks about an animal science major, a veterinarian likely comes to mind. That was 2017 graduate Suleima Jacob-Tomas’ original career choice. However, during her sophomore year at Berry, she became interested in research and the nervous system’s intricate design and mechanisms. This led Suleima to take a behavioral genetics course and gain research experience under the direction of Biology Professor John Graham and Animal Science Assistant Professor Sunday Peters. Suleima credits these professors with helping her discover her passions and preparing her for graduate school. She is now a graduate student in the integrated program in neuroscience at McGill University in Canada as well as a recipient of the Friends of McGill Fellowship and Graduate of Excellence Award. Suleima’s decision to dive deeper into learning about the nervous system also came from her spinal cord injury, which she incurred in a car accident. “I became fascinated with the delicate, yet complex neural interactions and wanted to learn more about how these interactions influence an organism’s behavior in the hope of someday contributing to our ability to intervene and heal,” Suleima said.
Story by student social media assistant Saif Sarfani
Combining two fields of work is something David Bayne (06C) has excelled at with his degrees in government and public health. David was recently named deputy chief of staff at the Georgia Department of Public Health. In this role, he helps oversee the department’s strategic priorities and special projects, manages the Office of Government Relations and represents the department in external affairs with other federal and state agencies.
During David’s time at Berry, his involvement in the Student Government Association and Model United Nations helped prepare him for a variety of experiences. He also developed a passion for helping the under-served by taking advantage of Berry’s service opportunities on and off campus.
“I really do believe that Berry’s unique multi-faceted focus on academics, work and community service set me on a successful path for my career,” he said. “The incredible professors in the Evans School sharpened my critical thinking skills and continuously challenged and expanded my worldview.”
Story by student social media assistant Saif Sarfani
After growing up in a family of law enforcement officers, it was only natural that Brittany Ferrell would be interested in the justice system. Now the 2013 Berry grad is one of 12 studying in the forensics concentration of the Nova Southeastern University doctoral psychology program. She’s expanding her real-world knowledge by joining a team of researchers working with police and firefighters. “I know I want to go into forensic psychology after graduate school,” Brittany says. A psychology major and softball player while at Berry, she is grateful for the opportunities she had. “I would have never even heard about Nova if it wasn’t for Dr. Azar-Dickens. All of my professors improved my writing and work ethic so much,” she says. “I feel as though if I went somewhere else…that I most likely wouldn’t have ended up in a doctorate program right out of undergrad.”
Story by student social media assistant Shannon Rainey.
Berry alumna and founder of The African SOUP Brin Enterkin (a 2012 grad) has been named one of Forbes’ 2018 30-Under-30 Social Entrepreneurs. While at Berry, Brin worked in Uganda with micro-financing. She met Micheal Kaidhiwa and they decided to work together to lift communities out of poverty. She returned to Berry to build a team of student volunteers who would help create structures of change. The result is The African SOUP, a non-profit aimed at using education to break the cycle of poverty. “As I sit in The African SOUP office on this hot, beautiful day, I am reminded of how thankful I am for God’s goodness and of the extraordinary support and love given to me from my closest friends,” Brin says.
Never one to slow down, 2017 Berry grad Jessica Gross is now an analyst for the hedge fund solutions team, BlackRock Alternative Advisers in New York City. Jessica, a double major in finance and business management, polished her leadership skills at Berry as a member of the Leadership Fellows, Student Government Association, the Vikettes dance team and several honor societies. She also worked at three internships including one with BlackRock at their Seattle office and another in Germany. Jessica says, “My favorite part about Berry was the people I got to meet, connect and grow with and the unique leadership, work and extracurricular opportunities the school provided for me. Entering the post-grad world, I’m quickly learning that all the… opportunities I had at Berry were unique and extremely special.”
Dogs and cats and … elephants? Berry student Robert Stilz (19c) recently traveled to Thailand to work with rescued elephants in the Elephant Nature Park and with dogs and cats at Animal Rescue Kingdom shelter. It followed his work at the Berry College sheep unit and a local vet clinic. “Both prepared me by teaching me how to work with animals of all kinds and teaching me about veterinary medicine,” he says. Robert is an animal science/pre-vet major with minors in chemistry, Spanish, and One Health. He plans to earn his doctorate in veterinary medicine and his master’s in public health after graduating from Berry in 2019. “I still cannot believe what an amazing opportunity this trip was for me,” Robert says of the Thailand trip coordinated by Loop Abroad. “I’ve made lifelong memories and friendships on this trip and I would encourage anyone interested to seek out the same.”
Story by student social media assistant Shannon Rainey.
Mathematics major Hannah Marr (18c) headed to Maine this past summer for a software development internship with legendary outdoors retailer L.L. Bean. As a result of her finance team internship, L.L. Bean is continuing to use software tests that Hannah built. “I love being given a problem and expected to find a solution to it,” she said. The senior from Hendersonville, N.C., continues to share her knowledge as general manager for Berry’s Viking Math Tutoring, a student enterprise that offers math-tutoring services to the Rome City and Floyd County schools. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in software development and deepen her knowledge about building workspaces, working with servers and programming languages, and developing applications. “Berry has connected me with a variety of people who have encouraged me in my journey and prepared me for life after college,” she said.
Story and photo by student social media assistant Saif Sarfani.
Three Berry grads Will Smith (14C), Courtney Large Sanchez (13C) and Alayna LeCroy (12C) traveled to Cambodia with Mercer University’s School of Medicine for their Mercer on Mission trip. Berry had a pretty strong showing, as there were only 10 medical students on the trip! They served as medical providers for close to 1600 patients. “In Cambodia, I was able to take a patient all the way from their problem through a plan,” Will said. “I’ve been dreaming of this career for most of my life, so getting to treat patients was incredible.” Berry’s biology and chemistry courses, along with a strong liberal arts foundation, are essential to helping our pre-medical students to succeed in their futures as physicians. These three Berry alumni have a bright future in medicine.
Amanda Moll (a 2006 grad) is celebrating a decade of working at CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), an international humanitarian and development organization whose mission is to address the root causes of poverty, inequality and injustice. It’s a great fit, because at Berry, Amanda was interested in international education and political efforts, having participated in the politics and law society as a student and interned abroad in London with one of the British political parties. “The Berry culture that balances high academic standards, real-life practicalities, work ethic and having fun is extremely unique and built a strong foundation in me to continue seeking these qualities.” The Dean of Admissions helped open the door for Amanda to get an internship with The Carter Center. Her Berry experience, plus her internship helped lead her to an internship with CARE that turned into a full-time position. Ten years later, she’s still enjoying her position working in some of the most remote parts of the world, assessing how to improve education across the globe. Amanda says, “I think Martha’s leadership for being a pioneering woman who focused on the importance of education has shaped – directly or indirectly—the last ten years of my career on education for the most marginalized. Her perseverance and ingenuity in forging her own path are still inspiring today.”
With technology a fixture in today’s classrooms, more teachers are exploring new software to assist their students in their studies. One such teacher is Berry alumna Lauren Pittman (09C), who was approached by Microsoft to try out Learning Tools, a program that highlights words on a computer screen to help students with dyslexia become strong readers. Lauren’s students starred in a worldwide campaign to promote the software and told an international audience about their experience. “It’s helped show my students that there is success for them in the classroom and they can be successful readers,” Lauren says. Her classroom success story has been featured in the Washington Post, Ed Tech Magazine and later this year, Good Housekeeping. Lauren is a graduate of Berry’s Charter School of Education and Human Sciences. “What I learned at Berry and what they prepared me for has helped to set the base for my teaching philosophy and how I want to affect children’s lives,” she said.
Jonathan Pascual (04C) might be the poster child for a well-rounded liberal arts education. This psychology major took every opportunity he had to work with people, whether it was in Admissions as a tour guide, in his dorm as a resident assistant or as a missionary over breaks. His desire to connect with others put him on Berry’s first ultimate Frisbee team and took him to the dance floor with the swing dance community. Despite his busy schedule, Jonathan found time to ace Berry’s demanding academics and graduate magna cum laude. “Berry helped me mature…I grew into a confident sense of self rooted in my identity in Christ. The whole ‘Head, Heart and Hands’ mission of Berry was really heavy on the ‘Heart’ portion for me.”
After graduating, his entrepreneurial drive led him to open his own business. He started by working as a Starbucks barista and then spent a few years gaining experience opening and managing coffee shops for other people. These experiences led him to entrepreneurship in the form of Taproom Coffee—a specialty coffee and craft beer bar located in Atlanta. Now, three years in, his thriving business provides a place of fellowship and community for Atlanta.
Combining her love of animals and a family military tradition, Elizabeth Anthony (16C) is on her way to her dream job with the Army Veterinary Corps. While at Berry, the 2016 graduate double majored in animal science and biochemistry, immersing herself in the culture of animal care and demanding academic rigor that Berry is known for. She spent much of her time working at the Rollins Dairy caring for large animals and learning how to manage people. Berry’s demanding classes, along with two internships whipped her into shape and helped her gain acceptance into the Army’s Health Professions Scholarship Program where she’s one of 30 individuals nationwide. Thanks to the scholarship, Elizabeth is now a student in the University of Florida’s veterinary program and has been sworn into the Army as a second lieutenant. Her advice to current Berry students is, “If you know there’s something you want in life, no excuses, no procrastination. Attack it, get it done and be proud of doing your best regardless of the results.”