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