Political science grad raises the bar at Berry and beyond

Like many college students, 2015 graduate Amanda Petersen Barney came to Berry with a plan. She entered as a communication major with the intent of becoming a journalist, but after taking several political science and government classes she discovered a real interest in the law. Now, Amanda works as an associate attorney with Becker & House, PLLC in Scottsdale, Arizona.

At Berry Amanda threw herself into intense study, majoring in political science and minoring in communication all while participating in the esteemed Honors Program. Her Honors thesis focused on the political empowerment of women in Rwanda, Nepal and Nigeria and was instrumental in helping her to acquire a portion of her scholarship to law school.

But she didn’t limit herself to hitting the books. An accomplished equestrian, she helped lead the team to a national victory just before she graduated. She was also a Bonner Program scholar, spending much of her free time working in several community-oriented organizations in Rome.

“Through my positions in the Bonner Center, I learned about servant leadership and community development — skills that are instrumental in my work today,” Amanda says.

To help prepare herself for a future as an attorney, Amanda also worked with Berry’s in-house General Counsel Danny Price.

“My time interning for Danny Price was a great experience,” Amanda says. “He gave me practical information and knowledge about law school, and about the process of applying. He was also extremely encouraging, which I still remember and appreciate to this day.”

The rigor of Berry’s pre-law program taught Amanda the necessary critical analysis skills that would help her to succeed at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, as well as in her current position as an attorney specializing in litigation involving estates, trusts and protecting clients from financial exploitation.

“I would like to become a partner at my firm in the next six years, but I also see myself engaging more in the community and getting involved in local governance,” Amanda says of her future. “My time at Berry taught me that investing in your community will transform the quality and fulfillment of your life and the lives of those around you.”

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