Greyhounds and fish and rabbits, oh my! These were some of the animals discussed at the Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging Competition. Professor Rebecca Dixon accompanied eight Berry animal science students as they traveled to Iowa to compete with 16 other teams from across the country. The competition included evaluations of virtual welfare situations for greyhounds, fish and rabbits. In the live scenario, the team had the opportunity to visit and evaluate housing situations for pigs. The team also got to meet animal welfare pioneer Temple Grandin. Former team leader and 2017 graduate Kristianna Saelens says that meeting Grandin “was incredible, and I know everybody on the team was excited about that, too.” She will be passing on the team captain role to teammates Helen Jones and Caleb Brezina. “My favorite part of the trip was getting the chance to break out of my comfort zone while learning about animals I did not know a lot about,” says Helen.
Story by student social media assistant Shannon Rainey
When one thinks about an animal science major, a veterinarian likely comes to mind. That was 2017 graduate Suleima Jacob-Tomas’ original career choice. However, during her sophomore year at Berry, she became interested in research and the nervous system’s intricate design and mechanisms. This led Suleima to take a behavioral genetics course and gain research experience under the direction of Biology Professor John Graham and Animal Science Assistant Professor Sunday Peters. Suleima credits these professors with helping her discover her passions and preparing her for graduate school. She is now a graduate student in the integrated program in neuroscience at McGill University in Canada as well as a recipient of the Friends of McGill Fellowship and Graduate of Excellence Award. Suleima’s decision to dive deeper into learning about the nervous system also came from her spinal cord injury, which she incurred in a car accident. “I became fascinated with the delicate, yet complex neural interactions and wanted to learn more about how these interactions influence an organism’s behavior in the hope of someday contributing to our ability to intervene and heal,” Suleima said.
Story by student social media assistant Saif Sarfani
After growing up in a family of law enforcement officers, it was only natural that Brittany Ferrell would be interested in the justice system. Now the 2013 Berry grad is one of 12 studying in the forensics concentration of the Nova Southeastern University doctoral psychology program. She’s expanding her real-world knowledge by joining a team of researchers working with police and firefighters. “I know I want to go into forensic psychology after graduate school,” Brittany says. A psychology major and softball player while at Berry, she is grateful for the opportunities she had. “I would have never even heard about Nova if it wasn’t for Dr. Azar-Dickens. All of my professors improved my writing and work ethic so much,” she says. “I feel as though if I went somewhere else…that I most likely wouldn’t have ended up in a doctorate program right out of undergrad.”
Story by student social media assistant Shannon Rainey.
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.
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.”
Three Berry grads Will Smith (14C), Courtney Large Sanchez (13C) and Alayna LeCroy (12C) traveled to Cambodia with Mercer University’s School of Medicine for their Mercer on Mission trip. Berry had a pretty strong showing, as there were only 10 medical students on the trip! They served as medical providers for close to 1600 patients. “In Cambodia, I was able to take a patient all the way from their problem through a plan,” Will said. “I’ve been dreaming of this career for most of my life, so getting to treat patients was incredible.” Berry’s biology and chemistry courses, along with a strong liberal arts foundation, are essential to helping our pre-medical students to succeed in their futures as physicians. These three Berry alumni have a bright future in medicine.
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.