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.
Photo by Outlander Photography
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.”
Laura Waitt (13C) is the ultimate people person, so it should come as no surprise that Berry provided the perfect college fit. “Berry is an extrovert’s paradise,” she praised of a campus community that thrives on meaningful interactions between faculty, staff and students. Never one to stay inside her comfort zone, Laura jumped at the chance to enhance her Berry education through a study-abroad opportunity in Cordoba, Argentina, where the Spanish major sharpened her bilingual skills, forged lifelong connections and found inspiration for a career working with college-aged Latino students. Since graduation, she has served as a missionary in Peru and is now working on behalf of the Latino community as a Bilingual Prevention Educator with the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia.
Haley Fortune (14C) has found her true path working at George Washington’s historic home, Mount Vernon. Haley always wanted to work in museums and when she learned Berry had a museum and archive on campus, she was sold! By participating in Berry’s premier Work Experience Program she worked at the Oak Hill and Martha Berry Museum and the Martha Berry Digital Archives. This passion for curating the past led her to graduate from Berry with a degree in history before going on to study visual arts management and curating at Richmond, the American International University in London. After graduating with her masters, she worked in museums in London and Washington D.C.
Now at Mount Vernon she has the opportunity to share her passion with others by working in historical interpretation and youth and family programs. Haley credits much of her success to her time at Berry: “Not only does Berry help its students gain experience through the work program, but Berry also offers a very well-rounded liberal arts education, which is so important in this new world where a diverse skill set is what sets you apart.”
Alyssa Hollingsworth (13C) has landed a two-book, two-continent publishing contract with Macmillian (U.S.) and HotKey Books (U.K.). Her debut novel, The Eleventh Trade, will hit shelves in fall 2018, with another following in 2019. Alyssa credits much of her writing savvy to her experiences at Berry, where she benefitted from one-on-one instruction from literature and writing professors who took every opportunity to encourage and challenge her. “Berry was a wonderful place to thrive as a writer because I had so much individual attention from my fantastic professors in the English department,” she said.
Her experience at Berry helped her win acclaim in a national essay contest sponsored by the Elie Wiesel Foundation and admission to a prestigious graduate program at England’s Bath Spa University. As a work-based Gate of Opportunity Scholar, she was able to apply what she learned as a writer for the college’s alumni publications, eventually penning a cover feature for Berry magazine. Those experiences deepened her work ethic and instilled a sense of professionalism that’s reflected in her writing. Her first book, about an Afghan boy named Sami who moves to the U.S. after the Taliban take over his country, was inspired by her own observations visiting her sister in Afghanistan.
Leadership Fellows Taylor Anthony (18c) and Jessie Moore (19c) got a firsthand look at lawmaking as part of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program this spring. As two out of 30 students, they took advantage of the exclusive opportunity to network, shadow and work closely with Georgia politicians at the State Capitol. Taylor and Jessie are no strangers to positions that encourage strong leadership. As Leadership Fellows, they have spent their time at Berry growing in their own leadership styles. Berry has provided these go-getters with ample opportunity to lead, from their time in Model UN to Taylor’s work as an assistant leadership coordinator in the Student Activities Office and Jessie’s work as a resident assistant. These community-minded students are sure to make their mark on the world thanks to their willingness to better their surroundings and themselves.
Sophomore environmental science major Carley Carder (19c) just landed her dream internship with the United States Geological Survey! A lover of geoscience and coral reefs, Carley was ecstatic when Dr. Tamie Jovanelly, associate professor of geology, told her about the U.S. Geological Survey Dive Team. That set Carley on a mission to contact the right people to get an internship. With her professor’s help, she contacted Dr. Lauren Toth, a scientist working on the Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project. Normally, undergraduates are not considered for internship positions with the research team, but Carley’s diving expertise and her experience with isotopic dating methods at Berry put her a cut above the rest. This summer, she’ll be at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center monitoring growth of corals in the U.S. Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys. Carley says of her experience, “The professors at Berry are so engaged with their students and want us to succeed. Dr. Jovanelly worked so hard to get me this internship, and when one door shut, she knew exactly what to do to keep the line of communication open.”
Emilee Burroughs (17c) has dreamed of creating a Christ-centered, fashion-forward, body-positive magazine since she was in high school. Thanks to Berry’s focus on entrepreneurship, she’s made that dream a reality! Anointed launched on January 1, 2016 and is five issues in with a sixth on the way. The skills she gained in her communication major paired with classes in management allowed her to create a plan for Anointed with business partner Rob Himmelwright (18c). Dr. Paula Englis, professor of management, encouraged the magazine’s start and Emilee took it all the way to publication—focusing on teen girls looking for a positive, uplifting message to encourage them in their daily lives. Emilee is now a senior looking to focus full-time on her business and expand it after graduation. She has plans to return to campus in the future to participate in Berry’s MBA program. “Berry is an exceptional school that gave me the confidence and skills I need to pursue my dreams,” Emilee says.
When Emily Barton (15C) came to Berry with plans to be a large-animal vet, she knew it would take great grades – and so much more – to get into vet school. But she was determined to do everything she could to build her future … and she did! She graduated with a GPA near perfection and exceptional experience punctuated by a hands-on leadership position with the Berry College Dairy and two summers working with veterinarians. The ballerina and choreographer also demonstrated her depth and breadth as Berry’s Dance Troupe manager.
Emily applied to two veterinary medicine programs, was accepted to both, and is now doing (very!) well at the University of Georgia. Although focused on her studies, Emily has kept on dancing, even working as choreographer for a UGA dance team. She’s also a volunteer Bible study leader for an Athens church and treasurer of the student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Junior Josh Cutter (18c) and senior Chris Whitmire (17c) are the winners of the Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference “pitch” contest. The $2000 winning pitch? Their business Ambedo – a software platform that creates files to produce customized prosthetic hands via 3D printing.
Help from an attentive faculty member and a bit of jazz helped Mark Morton (16C) find his dream! Mark initially entered Berry as a midfielder for the lacrosse team, but an injury led him to leave the sports life in pursuit of another calling.