Firsthand Experiences

Zach Wroblewski kicking soccer ball.Fulbright Scholar Scores in Slovakia

Zach Wroblewski is a star on the field and in the classroom. While at Berry, his fierce dedication as a goal keeper for the men’s soccer team and as double major in political science and secondary education won him a spot on the Southern Athletic Association Honor Roll every season. Today, Zach is a Fulbright Scholar teaching English and playing semi-professional soccer in Slovakia, taking the skills he learned at Berry to the next level. 

Brittany Miller Overlooking CityMath major shines in the business world

Brittany Miller (16C) never missed a chance to engage with Berry’s community. This math major joined in the fun whenever possible, from intramural soccer to student/faculty brain games in the physics lounge. She took that penchant for connecting deeply with others to her work as a First-Year Mentor to freshmen just beginning their college careers. Now Brittany uses her calculating attention to detail in her work as a quality control overseer at Conduent, the world’s largest business process services company. 

Emily Stromberg in Medical SchoolVolleyball star excels in medical school

Emily Stromberg (16C) isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. As a student at Berry, the aspiring doctor took her time seriously, juggling a rigorous volleyball schedule and a challenging biology major. Her dedication to hard work on the court and in the classroom won her acclaim as a student and an athlete, preparing her for medical school at the University of Kentucky. Emily is well on her way to achieving success in the world of healthcare! 

Travis Helton instructing a studentBerry alum brings creative technologies to students of all ages

Travis Helton is a problem solver. As a creative technology major at Berry, he was used to taking imaginative ideas and making them a reality. This, combined with his Berry work experience assisting campus IT professionals and providing technical support for the campus community gave him both experience with technology and instructing people. Now Travis creates curriculum full-time for TechTown in Chattanooga, helping students of all ages better understand 3D printing, coding, robotics and film. 

Natalie Tracy Nurse Technician


Natalie Tracy (16C) has a heart for serving others. Though she entered Berry as a math major, that desire to help people coupled with guidance from a caring faculty member convinced her that Berry’s baccalaureate degree nursing program was the ideal fit. Countless lab hours, real-world work experience as a nurse technician during her junior year and a study abroad opportunity in Costa Rica together created an invaluable college experience that prepared her for a career as an ER nurse at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Ga.


Berry could always count on Lindsey Purvis (16C) to stand out among her peers. No job was too small in her theatre work and she was a rising star both in the classroom and behind-the-scenes for Berry’s theatre productions. Her set design skills earned her many awards including first place for undergraduate scenic design at the Southeastern Theatre Conference. Today, Lindsey is earning her Master of Fine Arts in Stage Design at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music - one of the most competitive and respected programs in the country!

Rhett Morrell Overlooking MediterraneanBerry grad becomes an international teacher!

Rhett Morrell (16C) found her love of teaching while at Berry, but it was her study abroad experience in Norway where she developed a passion for other cultures that led her to pursue a career overseas. Today, she’s putting the skills she gained as an education major to work as a teacher at the American School in Prishtina, Kosova, where she has the opportunity to teach – and learn – in a classroom filled with students from Eastern Europe and around the globe.

Sam Jones next to original Gate of OpportunityEconomics Grad Succeeds in Healthcare

Sam Jones (16C) has a knack for numbers. As a Gate of Opportunity Scholar working his way through Berry, he found application for his aptitude through one-on-one interaction with his economics professors and extensive participation in the on-campus Work Experience Program. By developing his skills as a researcher and analyst, he was able to secure internships at Harbin Clinic and Invesco and, ultimately, a professional position with Triage providing revenue consulting services to hospitals throughout metropolitan Atlanta.


Stephen Stamps (16C) knew how to shine at Berry. Graduating with a bachelor's of arts in theatre and a minor in business, he learned how to combine passion with practicality. Now, Stephen is sailing with Carnival Cruise Line, bringing his gift of acting to an international audience. As a student, he worked in the scene shop and performed on the stage. Meaningful experiences with work supervisors and professors helped guide Stephen on his path to living his dream of becoming a performer.

Amanda AshleyBerry Graduate Receives Prestigious Pickering Fellowship

At Berry, Amanda Ashley (16C) pursued her dreams of making the world a better place. Whether at home or abroad, Amanda stood out among the rest, studying abroad in Moscow with the Gilman scholarship, yet tutoring at-risk children in Rome. Now, Amanda is 1 of 19 prestigious Pickering Fellows and is a graduate student in global studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She looks forward to working in international affairs fulfilling the desire to serve others that she cultivated at Berry.

Kyle Harris Jumping HurdlesBiochem Major Pursues Architecture at Berry!

Berry has a knack for helping students think outside the box. Kyle Harris (16C), an exceptional student and track star, anticipated going into a career in physical therapy with his bachelor’s of science in biochemistry. However, it was his experience in drawing and design classes at Berry that led him to switch gears and pursue architecture. Now Kyle is pursuing a master’s in architecture at Virginia Tech, taking the foundation he gained at Berry to build a bright future. 

Amanda Dean Teaching High SchoolMath Whiz Brings Innovative Technology to Her High School Classroom

From day one, Berry challenged Amanda Dean to become a better scholar, educator and innovator. A dual math and education major, she knows about hard work and solving tough problems. As a student, she worked with faculty researching ways to incorporate 3D printing and design into high school and middle school math standards and got firsthand experience in classrooms around the local community. Now, Amanda is a Knowles Science Teaching Foundation fellow, bringing her innovative thinking to her high school math class.

Matt Murphy Graduation with Dr. LawlerPolitical Science Major Pursues Excellence in Leadership

Matt Murphy never missed a chance to stand out as an exceptional leader at Berry. A political science major and vice president of Student Government Association, Matt took every opportunity to step outside the classroom and apply his skills. The emphasis his professors placed on studying a wide variety of materials and philosophies led him to treasure engagement of the mind as well as the hands in his acts of leadership. Still a devoted learner, Matt is a graduate student at Texas A&M focusing on public service and administration where he is sure to build on the strong foundation he received at Berry.

Tessa Piety - standing on stepsBerry alum seeks career in criminal justice

From a family of 29 children, some of whom were adopted, Tessa Piety found her opportunity to shine at Berry. As a political science major and mentor to disadvantaged youth, she knew even in her undergraduate years that working to empower and care for others would be a big part of her life. She now works at the Bureau of Prisons in Chattanooga helping to change inmates’ lives for the better. When she’s not at work, she’s pursuing a master’s in criminal justice and also helps mentally disabled individuals in her community to thrive. Tessa continues to be a role model for everyone she meets.

Rhoxie EllardWorld traveler to become an international business star!

Passionate leader, dedicated entrepreneur, research assistant, and world traveler…is there anything Rhoxie Ellard (16C) can’t do? She isn’t slowing down to find out! Now attending the University of South Carolina, Rhoxie is right at home in the #1 International Business graduate program in the U.S. Berry taught her to think beyond the borders of her everyday environment, providing an opportunity to study abroad in South Korea. Her work as a student director of the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship program gave her valuable experience guiding a team to success. She is well on her way to becoming a global business leader.

Royce DingleyGifted Peace Corps Teachers to Inspire Budding Scientists

From stone mason to teacher, Royce Dingley found in Berry a strong foundation for a future in science. With the world’s largest campus as a science classroom, Royce and close friend Patrick Felch were able to gain valuable experience working with skilled and caring faculty on programs such as the restoration of the American Chestnut and as members of the prescribed burn team for our Longleaf Pine Project. Now Royce and Patrick are off to teach science to students in Nicaragua and Namibia with the hardworking attitudes they cultivated at Berry!

Kaitlyn Long with DolphinMaking a Splash at the Georgia Aquarium

What’s a sophomore to do when she discovers her passion for marine biology while attending college in the mountains of Northwest Georgia? Kaitlyn Long (16C) assumed she’d have to transfer. Her Berry advisor and professors knew better. An internship, study abroad in Honduras and a position in Berry’s Aquatics Research Lab transformed her dream of working with marine mammals into her dream job working with dolphins at the Georgia Aquarium. 

Ree Palmer and Alex Moon GraduationLEADERSHIP2

It was a long shot that two students from the same school would be accepted into Indiana University's highly ranked graduate program in student affairs. 2016 graduates Ree Palmer and Alex Moon beat the odds. Shy by nature, Ree found her voice at Berry. She also found her best friend Alex. The two were campus leaders from their first year through the last, with Alex serving as senior class president and Ree as student body president. Now they're at Indiana University, two of only 45 students chosen from a national pool of 300 for the highly selective graduate program in higher education and student affairs.


Now pursuing two master’s degrees at Georgia Tech, Vedant Mehta (16C) hasn’t slowed down since he left Berry! With his sights set on a career in spacecraft propulsion, it’s no surprise that Vedant flew through his undergraduate program at warp speed. His three years at Berry combined rigorous classes, a job in our Creative Technologies lab and a research presentation to the American Astronomical Society alongside Berry faculty. His next frontier? To pursue master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering and nuclear engineering through a full scholarship from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Prestigious Fellowship Award.  


It was the scream heard around the campus. Colleen couldn’t contain her excitement when she was chosen from 600 applicants for a film and video internship at Big Machine Label Group. Colleen’s impressive work ethic and performance earned her a full-time position at the label, which is home to the biggest names in the industry. Now, Nashville is home to one of Berry’s most vocal grads, whose resume boasts four years of non-stop activity that includes campus videographer, theatre productions, service and leadership training (to name a few!).

Teddy Palmer at CSGNHStatesmanship and Negotiation

Business major Teddy Palmer Jr. spent his summer presenting policies at the Kentucky State Capitol and networking with dignitaries such as maritime and international security expert Ian Ralby. At the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship in Kentucky, Teddy and other students, collectively known as the Student Congress, drafted mock policies related to climate change, higher education, immigration and economic growth. They used negotiation, goodwill and compromise - ideals of 19th century Senator Henry Clay who created the Compromise of 1850 in a deeply divided United States. “Throughout the week, we would come up with a policy for immigration,” he said. “We had to come together and compromise even when it was really hard … we had different numbers set up [and] argue over why this [proposed policy] would work.” His negotiation and compromise skills will come in handy as he assumes the role of Berry College Student Government Association president this fall. “I think it’s a confidence boost to be in a new place and to talk to people and see different inputs you can get,” said Teddy, who also is a Berry offensive lineman and student ministry leader. “To be able to know I can go up here and talk to people about things impacting the Berry campus and the Rome community, it’s a good feeling to have.” After graduating from Berry, he hopes to become an elected official for a city council and eventually pursue his MBA.

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Written by Public Relations Student Saif Sarfani

Alec Leeseburg in CaberetActor, Football, Tech-Man

I was actually recruited by a number of schools to play football. I was drawn to Berry because I saw an opportunity to help build a program from the ground up. During my college search I applied to around 20 schools and visited most of them, but I didn’t have the same connection with any of them that I had with Berry. Berry was more personal in their search, and made me feel more at home.  

The summer before my junior year, I worked in the  Creative Technologies Lab as a Lab assistant to Zane Cochran. Zane is a great and interesting person, and one of the smartest people that I know. His vision for the Creative Technologies program is nothing short of groundbreaking, and I know that Berry is lucky to have his time. Zane’s passion for technology and prototyping has truly ignited my own passion for the subject, and he remains a great friend of mine.

Berry has prepared me more for life after college than I think any other school could. Berry has been great because going here has allowed me to be involved in many different things at once. Being on the football team has taught me about the importance of responsibility, toughness, and hard work. Theatre has allowed me to further explore my creative side, and has been an amazing outlet for me to express myself artistically. Finally, the Creative Technologies program has helped me find my passion, and prepared me for the job market in my field like no other school could. I plan to apply for the Human Computer Interaction Master's program at Georgia Tech. As a career, I’d love to design new electronics, or work in technological research.

Here at Berry I am self-employed. The fall semester of my junior year I started a company, HoloView, for my entrepreneurship class. During the class I sold small, semi-holographic pyramids that produce a hologram effect on smartphones. The next semester I decided to shift the focus of the company to research, and I’m currently developing a large interactive semi-holographic display. HoloView has taught me all of the basics of how to manage a business, and has challenged me to consistently produce new prototypes and research.

Because I’m heavily involved in so many different activities at Berry, at any given point in the day I may be anywhere around campus. I spend a lot of time in the new Creative Technologies lab. I also like walking the Viking Trail with friends when I need help brainstorming new ideas. 

Tenacity, Teaching and Turtles

Experience Main

When Lauryn Gilmer graduated from Berry College with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, she did not imagine she would pursue a career in education. 

However, she can now be found at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center’s public beach releases, welcoming large crowds and talking about the center’s work with rehabilitated sea turtles. How did she get there?

“I happened upon an amazing opportunity to be a naturalist with the Barrier Island Environmental Education Center on Johns Island, South Carolina and jumped at the chance,” Lauryn said. “It was there that I discovered I not only had a passion for conservation, but also for teaching others about nature.”

After working with Barrier Island for two seasons, she began volunteering with the education department of Turtle Center. While there, Lauryn fostered a strong relationship with the organization and was hired as an AmeriCorps Education Member in 2014. 

The Brunswick, Ga., native is now in her second year at the center and spends her days working beachside. While it sounds like a dream job to many, her work keeps her busy. She leads daily educational programs and tours for groups and students of all ages. She also assists with the planning and execution of seasonal education programs and public outreach events. 

“One of the most rewarding aspects of working at the (Turtle Center) is knowing that I am making a positive impact not only in the lives of endangered animals and native wildlife species, but also in the lives of every guest or student that I encounter,” she said. 

Lauryn, who graduated in 2011, is also taking classes though the University of Georgia to get a master’s degree in environmental education. 

“My time as a student and student worker at Berry College helped prepare me for life after college by equipping me with the knowledge I needed to be successful in my field and, also, by teaching me the skills necessary to be a responsible productive employee and a conscientious member of my community,” said Lauryn, who worked as a Resident Assistant at Berry. “Through the professors, supervisors and peers that comprised my Berry College family, I left with the confidence I needed to begin the next step in my life journey.” 


Written by Public Relations Assistant Abbie Smith