Combining a love of nature and a passion for people

For as long as 2018 grad Emmie Cornell can remember, she has loved learning about the environment. It’s only natural that her chosen career path would take her to a nonprofit in West Virginia where she currently works as the watershed manager for the Friends of Blackwater conservation organization.

Emmie grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and learned the value of environmental stewardship from her father. Those lessons were magnified by her time at Berry where she majored in biology and minored in environmental science. Applying what she was learning in the classroom to real-world situations, Emmie was primary research assistant to Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies Brian Campbell and helped with water testing on and off campus. In addition to her efforts as a research assistant, Emmie also worked as the Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation student manager the summer before her senior year all the way up to graduation.

These positions, along with work in the food insecure areas of the Rome city and Floyd County community, helped Emmie after graduation when she became the urban farm manager and nutrition counselor for the Davies Homeless Shelter. She played a big role in the creation and management of the Farm Bus — a traveling, fresh produce pantry that parks in food deserts within the city.

“While I loved growing food and feeding people, farming isn’t what I wanted to do forever. When the opportunity to work for Friends of Blackwater came around and I was able to visit, there was no denying that this is where I want to be,” Emmie says. “I love the combination of environmental research, on-the-ground work and education that I get to do now.”

The environmental science program at Berry grew from a minor into a full-fledged major due, in part, to the efforts of students like Emmie Cornell.

“My environmental studies helped me to apply what I was learning in my science classes to the real world and how to care for people and the environment in light of scientific discoveries,” Emmie says.

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