2018 grad Bekah (Fortney) Baxter took her passion for service and leadership to the next level in her sophomore year at Berry when she created “Chosen Vessels”- a non-profit dedicated to encouraging, equipping and empowering leaders in ministries in developing countries around the globe.
Anna Walker (class of 2018) recently accepted a job with Student Leadership University, a non-profit professional youth development organization, as an Administrator and Program Assistant.
Working to save threatened coral species while getting up close with sharks and dolphins is just how Berry student Rose Blanchard wanted to spend her summer.
“Growing up I was always terrified of the ocean and sharks. It was so cool to be around so many large sharks that were very docile and calm,” said Blanchard who spent time in Roatan, Honduras, this summer with a group of students led by Biology Professor Bill Davin. The trip was part of Dr. Davin’s Coral Reef Ecology course. Students had the chance to get up close to sharks, dolphins, varieties of fish and, of course, coral.
Prior to the trip, the group raised $1,000 through BerryFunder– enough money to purchase five coral trees. During the trip, students helped collect coral fragments and add them to the trees at the coral farm. As many of these coral species are listed as threatened and are at risk of becoming endangered, the work the students have done is of key importance.
“Considering the global conditions that are currently threatening the life of our coral reefs, I feel it was truly a once in a lifetime experience,” Berry senior Sydney Sneed added.
Story by social media assistant Shannon Rainey
Associate Professor of Biology Renee Carleton recently received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She was selected by her alma mater because of her outstanding achievements and her service in and out of the classroom.
Dr. Carleton’s research focuses on diseases in birds and has been published in several academic publications. She is grateful for the support the Berry community has given her over the years. “I can’t imagine a better place to do my research,” she said.
Dr. Carleton is also deeply involved within the Berry community for her work with the bald eagle population on campus, receiving both national and international attention. She has appeared on radio programs and presentations throughout the state.
Dr. Carleton’s passion is deeply felt in the classroom. She teaches several classes in biology and tells her students, “find a focus, give it your all, and you can achieve some pretty neat things.”
Story by social media assistant John Catton
The river has always been a place of connection for Karli Riley. The 2017 grad is now the Program Manager for Coosa Riverkeeper, an Alabama-based river conservation group.
Her job involves implementing and expanding the organization’s community programs. Karli manages the Swim Guide and the Fish Guide and is working on a new curriculum of her own: a field trip program for local schools. “Schools in our watershed can come and see the connection that they have to their river,” Karli says.
Berry offered Karli the chance to get hands-on experience with her Environmental Science major as a research assistant for Environmental Science Professor Zachary Taylor. During her junior year, she had the opportunity to intern with Coosa Riverkeeper which helped her secure her current full-time position.
After graduation, she worked as a seasonal Environmental Educator with the Cahaba Environmental Center in Montevallo, Alabama. She is now a member of the junior board of directors for the Alabama Environmental Council.
Karli is most thankful for the connections her liberal arts education lets her make in her job. “Berry taught me to connect with people through the head, hands and the heart and I get to do that every day.”
Story by student social media assistant Shannon Rainey
Berry alum and LSU Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Elizabeth “Kip” Webster (09C) always tells people about what a special place Berry is.
“Smaller class sizes allowed for a lot of feedback from faculty members which helped in improving [my] writing and critical thinking [skills],” Kip says. These skills proved beneficial to her in graduate school and conducting research. Kip found that the atmosphere at Berry was always one that promoted success and personal improvement. She loved that Berry had “a great learning environment and a good place to grow academically and personally.”
Working for the local Minor League Baseball team, the Rome Braves, has become a rite of passage for many Berry students. This definitely rings true for recent graduate Madison Eiberger (18C) and current student Leigh Hadaway (19c).