Berry alum lands career as news producer

From a summer internship with the In Touch Ministries’ digital team to accepting a morning news producer job with WRCB in Chattanooga, the past few months have been quite eventful for Allie Pritchett (class of 2018).

Allie worked under Communication Professor Steven Hames with the student-run website, Viking Fusion, all four years of her college career. Her excellent work ethic and growing knowledge in the field led to several promotions, growing from a simple news anchor to the videographer, the assistant news producer, eventually becoming the executive director. “Steven always pushed me to be better, encouraged me when I felt like I couldn’t do anymore, and made Fusion a wonderful and always entertaining place to work,” she recalled.

Splitting her time and talent equally with the world outside of the Berry bubble, Allie delved into journalistic competitions, winning many. In 2016 and 2017 she won first place for the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for her online sports reporting. She also received a few honorable mentions, once for her creative film in the 2016 College Media Association Atlanta Film Festival.

With her degree in Visual Communications and experience with Viking Fusion, Allie should be highly prepared for her upcoming position in the fall.

Story by social media assistant Naomi Lee

Berry alum promotes Georgia Tech’s French Campus

With a passion for writing and a love of the French language, 2018 graduate Allie Crain has found the perfect job – promoting Georgia Tech’s international campus in Metz, France.

It was a natural progression for Allie, who has a dual degree in French and Public Relations and has taken advantage of every opportunity at Berry. In addition to working as a news producer for the student-run multimedia website Viking Fusion, she was a research assistant for Communication Chairman Dr. Brian Carroll. Dr. Carroll was not just her boss, but a mentor. “He helped me through every step of the process and I could not be more grateful,” she recalls.

Allie’s hard work and determination led to her earning the Rollins Work Award, an achievement given to students who go above and beyond in their service to Berry and the community. She was also involved in the honors society Phi Kappa Phi as well as the innovative Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership program. Allie is a prime example of the innovative ways Berry students can combine various paths into a cohesive educational experience that leads to an exceptional life beyond college.

Story by student social media assistant Naomi Lee

Three volleyball graduates find success on the court and in life

Elizabeth, Hannah and Rachel are known at Berry as a triple threat of leadership, service and athleticism.

Recent grads Rachel Ford, Elizabeth Ragland and Hannah Thompson were part of the Women’s Volleyball team that had their best season in 12 years. The team earned the Southern Athletic Association Regular Season Title, advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and had an overall win score of 30-7.

When Rachel describes her college experience, she remembers Berry as the push in helping her emerge from her comfort zone. She was involved in Athletes Bettering the Community for three years, serving as president during her senior year. Now she is moving 1,000 miles away from home to pursue Ithaca College’s graduate program in sports psychology.

Her teammate Elizabeth, winner of the “Be Berry” athletic award, discovered a passion for leading others. She worked with the Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine, while also coaching the Tsunami Volleyball Club for three years. Putting those leadership skills to work, she has been hired as an elementary teacher for a private school in Birmingham, Ala.

Finding a job in the same state as her teammate, Hannah will be working at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama in the Cardiovascular ICU. While at Berry, she conducted a literature review about the effects of Nurse Residency Programs under her mentor, Dr. Cindy Johnson.

“I realized how much I changed since entering Berry as a freshman. Every experience I have ever had at Berry has prepared me to enter the real world and impact the lives of others,” said Hannah, who considers the team’s head coach, Caitlyn Moriarty, to be one of her strongest influences at Berry.

Coach Moriarty said, “Elizabeth, Hannah Kate, and Rachel exemplify the impact of leading with humility, grace, and most of all love. You set the bar for what it looks like to serve your teammates, serve your coaches, and serve your community. It’s not always fun to be the leader but you set the bar in your leadership development, your commitment in the classroom, your consistency, and you gave your heart and heads to making our program better.”

Leaving the team better than before, these young women continue to achieve new heights in all that they do.

Story by student social media assistant Naomi Lee

SGA President pursues master’s in public service

Kassie Jones, Berry’s former Student Government Association president, is headed to graduate school to earn her master’s in public service and administration. It’s a path that makes sense for this 2018 grad who has spent her time at Berry serving others.

It might seem Kassie has it all together, but she has faced challenges just like everyone else.

Her parents, who served in the military, experienced financial difficulties related to an active duty injury. So when Kassie was eight years old, her family moved across the country to her grandparents’ condominium, where the family had to share one bedroom. Kassie learned the values of hard work and determination watching her parents work to provide a successful future for her and her sister.

When Kassie arrived at Berry, her future was full of uncertainty. She did not come with a major, but instead found her way into a modern political philosophy class that changed her life. After failing the first paper, her professor, the late Dr. Peter Lawler, sat down with her and asked her to be a political science major. Kassie credits a lot of her development to the personal relationships she had with professors. Always ready for an adventure, she embraced the opportunity to travel to Morocco to co-present her research on democracy in Pakistan with fellow Berry student Jessie Moore. Kassie presented in front of professionals from all over the world and sat on a panel where she collaborated with a professor from the University of Nigeria.

Kassie jumped into the Student Government Association as a freshman running for class vice president, and was an integral part of campus decision-making to give students a voice. “SGA really gave me a second family at Berry,” she said. “From my job experience to just getting to know students, I really found my passion in wanting to help others and give back.”

Story by Anna Walker (18C)

A passion for language and mental health come together

Serving disadvantaged communities is something many Berry students are passionate about.  That’s why Abby Newman (class of 2018) is headed to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. Afterwards, she hopes to be a mental health counselor and advocate for Hispanic and Latino immigrants. During her undergraduate time, Abby was the student director and teacher for Berry’s English as a Second Language Program, which provides free English classes to Hispanic adults. She was also a part of the Ralph George Scholarship program which allowed her to conduct research about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in native Spanish speakers learning English. She then presented her research at the annual conference for the Association for Psychological Science in San Francisco. Abby’s Spanish instructor and academic advisor, Dr. David Slade (class of 1997), has greatly influenced her with his passion for language and culture. “In every class I have taken with him and in the study abroad trip to Guanacaste, Costa Rica, he imparts his knowledge, wisdom, empathy, and cultural humility to his students and to everyone he encounters.”

Story by Saif Sarfani (18C)

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)

Berry cultivates a passion for service

Sophomore Ei Noe (class of 2021) came to the U.S. from Burma with her family in the early 2000s. The psychology major comes from a family that helps the Burmese refugee/immigrant population settle in Atlanta.

At Berry, Ei works for the Bonner Center for Community Engagement for her Gate of Opportunity Scholarship and is a part of Emerging Leaders. These things have helped her become more service and leadership oriented. Ei hopes to go to medical school and eventually help low-income families, refugees and immigrants settle and offer the same assistance her family received.

Ei is a Gate scholar like her older brother Naing Oo, who also went to Berry. The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program helps financially-eligible students who will work hard – in the classroom and out. “The characteristic that led me to apply to Berry College was the first impression I had when I visited my brother when he was a student here,” Ei said. “The campus was breathtaking, and the professors and community were very welcoming.”

Story by Saif Sarfani (18C)

“Aha” moments lead to great things at Berry

Berry 2018 graduate Katie Doremus’s “aha” moment came during her junior year. She found a strong Christian community at Formation Weekend, which became the support system through the rest of her time at college. Chaplain Johnathan Huggins took Katie under his wing during Bible study, sharing with her his love of theology and guiding her plans for seminary. Dr. Jonathan Parker helped ignite her thirst for knowledge, teaching her to look at the Bible in a new way. “I…want to be involved in ministry, for, as Justo González says, ‘theology is best done with dirt under one’s fingernails’, meaning we can’t get caught up merely in the head knowledge.”

Katie is now pursuing a master’s degree in Biblical studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N.C. After that, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in theology. During her time at Berry, Katie was a part of the Wesley Foundation, several honor societies including Sigma Delta Pi, Lambda Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi and the Honors Program. She also received The Daughters of Berry Legacy Award, The Olde Leafe Award and the Shatto Leadership Award.

Story by Saif Sarfani (18C)

Chemistry professors help 2018 grad achieve grad school dreams

Chemistry major Cleo Evans (class of 2018) is headed to Vanderbilt University to earn a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. Cleo credits her chemistry professors with helping her apply for her current job at Peach State Labs and the graduate school application process. She also credits Berry with helping her make great connections through the student work program. Cleo worked as Dr. Martha Tapia’s math contest student assistant, helping her write tests for competitions and keeping up with paperwork for competing schools. In addition, Cleo was the president of Berry’s chapter of the American Chemical Society, and she continually devoted time doing chemistry demos for the Berry and Rome, Ga., communities.

Story by Saif Sarfani (18C)

An interest in immunology leads to a focus on public health

Finding what drives you is one of many reasons people come to Berry. Animal science major Alex Dhom (class of 2018) discovered his interest in immunology through his advisor Dr. Laura Flatow and his Berry College Integrity in Leadership mentor Dr. Tom Wilson, whose experiences and wisdom as a veterinarian greatly influenced him. During his time at Berry, Alex served as Vice President of Alpha Zeta (the academic honor society for animal science majors) and competed in the American Society of Animal Science Academic Quadrathalon. He also studied abroad at the University of Glasgow as an honors student. Now, Alex is headed to veterinary school at the University of Georgia, where he will focus on research and public health.

Story by Saif Sarfani (18C)

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