Berry grad lands position as investment analyst

Nick O’Connor, a 2018 grad, credits much of his success to the experiences he gained at Berry through the student work program. As an accounting and finance major with a German minor, Nick worked as part of the Berry Student Enterprises Support Team in accounting and was promoted to team lead by his junior year. Nick was also a member of the Berry Investment Group and a prominent member and eventual president of Club Soccer. Through these unique opportunities, Nick says he was able to hone his “work ethic, communication skills, and leadership skills” and “gain relevant work experiences,” setting him up for a promising future. While many people at Berry served as mentors to Nick, including finance professors Dr. Ken Johnston and Dr. Arman Kosedag, Nick’s first-year experience mentor Aaron Chastain (a 2015 grad) went above and beyond his duties in providing support and became a “crucial connection” at his current job. Combining these Berry experiences with a drive for success, Nick landed a position as an investment analyst at Aon where he works alongside several other Berry graduates and has a bright future.

Story by social media assistant Grace Chrisman (21c)

Berry opened Jordan Blackmon’s eyes to new passions

A passion for rugby is leading Jordan Blackmon to Chattanooga. The 2018 graduate will play rugby for the Chattanooga Rugby Club and work in the logistics industry as a national account representative.

“I came in [to Berry] such an organized and scheduled person, but following my freshman year I decided to try something new out. I saw a flyer for a rugby team in town, and a week later played my first game. Several years later and I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout the southeast playing in different tournaments. The diversity and opportunities that Berry has opened my eyes to many of my deepest passions in life as well as taught me to enjoy the little things.” During his time at Berry, he was a part of multiple rugby clubs and played goalie for the Berry College Club Soccer Team.

Jordan was also a go getter from the very beginning, becoming a student leader in the men’s ministry through the Chaplain’s Office and served as the t-shirt committee chair for the First-Year Council even in freshman year. Jordan also worked as a Gate of Opportunity scholar all four years at Berry. He’s sure to take his achiever spirit wherever he goes in life.

Story by Saif Sarfani (18C)

Campus Jobs and Corporate Internship Launch Berry Senior

In September of Andie Spearman’s senior year, nine months before graduation, her career was ready for launch.

The summer after her junior year, Andie, a marketing major from Atlanta, had a marketing and sales internship at Georgia-Pacific. Before her internship ended, she received an impressive job offer. After she walks across the graduation stage in May, she’ll become a business associate in the organization’s “Jump Start” program which will prepare her for a career with one of Georgia’s most prestigious companies. How did success come so readily to Andie? “My experience with the Enterprise Program on campus taught me so much,” said Andie. “I learned that any idea can flourish.” The program, which encompasses 15 different student enterprises on campus, offers real-world experience to students. As the director, she leads other students in everything from developing marketing campaigns and implementing strategies to community engagement and reaching revenue goals. What has been the highlight of her enterprise experience? “Seeing other people find their joy.” As a Gate of Opportunity Scholar, she is a member of another campus team that plans orientation for incoming scholars – another challenge she enjoys. Her favorite classes on campus also have a practical twist. In her Marketing Communications class, she worked with a nonprofit in the Rome area. Her Brand and Product Management class was built on examples from the real world.

Andie credits her two program supervisors for guiding her through her four years. “They’ve known me since day one, and we just do life together,” Andie said. How did Berry change her? “I’ve always been a hard worker, but Berry cultivated and helped me apply my talents. I faced some real challenges and have worked on things that haven’t come easily. I became the person I was meant to be at Berry.”

Berry alumna named one of Forbes’ 30-Under-30 Social Entrepreneurs

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.

Find out more about Brin here: www.theafricansoup.org

Jessica Gross (17C) took her go-getter spirit to New York City where she works as a financial analyst

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.”

Internship with L.L. Bean sparks love for software development

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.

Associate Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Honors Program Lauren Heller

Dr. Heller had “Unconventional Wisdom: Estimating the Economic Impact of the Democratic and Republican National Political Conventions” accepted for publication in Papers in Regional Science. The paper, which has received coverage in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, U.S. News and World Report, and other media outlets, is co-authored with Victor Matheson of Holy Cross and Professor of Economics Frank Stephenson.

Professor of Economics Frank Stephenson

Dr. Stephenson’s “Bootleggers, Baptists, and Beer Labels” was recently published in Regulation and the article was also quoted in the Chicago Tribune.

Associate Professor of Management Saba Colakoglu

Dr. Colakoglu and her co-authors were winners of the Best Paper in International Human Resource Management Award in 2016 selected by the Human Resource Management Division of the Academy of Management. They were presented with their award at the Academy of Management Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. The paper that won the award is “Involvement work systems and operational effectiveness: Exploring the moderating effect of national power distance” and was published in the premier journal in international business, Journal of International Business Studies. 

Professor of Management Paula Englis

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