Faces of LifeReady
Paul Ulrich didn’t come to Berry to play football. Now he can’t imagine his college experience without it.
Berry’s first football graduate was drawn to the college by a strong pre-med program. In addition to a stellar 3.9 GPA, the 2015 alumnus from Sylva, N.C., gained valuable experience working in the sports medicine department and made beautiful music with the college trumpet ensemble. But it was as a spirited walk-on member of the inaugural football team that he found his Berry “family,” developed extraordinary time-management skills and earned recognition as a “tireless worker.” Although he played in only two games, Paul won the prestigious “Be Berry” Award for his work in the classroom, on the field and in the community. His take? “I don’t think I’d be where I am right now without the football program.” Paul is part of the first class of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine on the Auburn University campus. And his football coach is one of a rare few who can claim that 100% of his graduates are attending medical school!
A love of music runs in David Warren’s family. Now he’s the leader of the band.
A trombonist, music-education major and world-class drum corps conductor, David hails from a musical family and grew up watching his older brother rehearse with the high school marching band. When his time came, the Carrollton, Ga., native took performance to the next level, joining the Illinois-based Phantom Regiment drum and bugle corps, eventually earning the honor of conducting the regiment’s 2014 and 2015 marching seasons. Drum Corps International, marching music’s “major league,” has recognized David with its Jim Jones Leadership Award. At Berry, David is assistant to the director of the wind ensemble. He’s also served as student manager of Ford Auditorium.
Leah Bolden wants to earn her future. Berry donors gave her the chance.
Leah now helps a professor with research, but not long ago she was doing her own, looking for a way to go to college without burdening her family. After all, two brothers were already in college when her turn came, with a third close behind. That’s why the future doctor with a strong desire to make her own way – and to attend Berry – literally leaped with excitement right in the Atlanta airport when accepted into the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program. Her enthusiasm for working her way through college with the chance to graduate debt free has never waned, and Leah has made the most of the opportunity, also working as a Presidential Ambassador, tutor and head of the student philanthropy program. Leah thrives on challenge and works extra hard to honor her donor. Thanks to early campaign supporters, 130 Gate of Opportunity Scholarships are being endowed for generations of students like Leah.
Adventure is not just a passion but a profession for Alice Morgan.
Working as outdoor leadership coordinator at Virginia’s Shenandoah University, the 2012 Berry graduate has the opportunity to kindle in others the same thrill of discovery she once felt as a student taking Berry’s Freshman Adventure Challenge course. That life-changing weekend revealed Alice’s true strength; afterward, she knew she had to have more. That “more” turned out to be three and a half years of valuable student work experience within the Berry Outdoor Leadership Development (BOLD) program and an interdisciplinary major in outdoor leadership. During that time, she participated in a 30-day outdoor leadership program in Alaska and a 50-day Outward Bound excursion in North Carolina. Later, she completed the master’s degree program in outdoor education at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, one of the longest-standing outdoor education programs in the world.
Theatre is Stephen Stamps’ passion. At Berry, he’s working to make it his future as well.
Stephen attended four years of high school at the Savannah Arts Academy, but it wasn’t until a junior-year role in West Side Story that theatre became his passion. Now he’s working hard to make it his future. Stephen’s had lead roles in Servant of Two Masters and Colored Museum with the Berry College Theatre Company as well as an ensemble appearance in Grand Night for Singing. He’s also a dancer and choreographer for the Berry College Dance Troupe, appearing as the Nutcracker in a Berry/Rome Little Theatre production of Nutcracker Ballet. And on his first attempt, he was selected for coveted auditions at the Southeastern Theatre Conference. The multi-talented performer – who also serves in the leadership role of head resident of Berry’s Morton and Lemley halls – is one class act.
Dakota Burke came to Berry to study business. He graduated owning one.
One thing Dakota could count on when he visited the beach: The skim board he bought to use in the surf would break before he left for home. Irritated, he set to work hand-crafting a more durable design. But then what? The double business/finance major took Professor Paula Englis’ Introduction to Entrepreneurship class with its $100 seed money. In short order a business was born, with alumni mentors helping Dakota arrange for manufacturing and even loaning a car for a sales trip to Florida. By the time he graduated, Diamond Boards LLC was worth more than $80,000 with 45 retailers in five states selling its products. Dakota had an idea and was willing to work hard. As a business major, he also had access to opportunity. Soon, enterprising students of all majors will too – whether they want to build a better mouse trap or develop new ways of “doing good.”
Ree Palmer has the heart of A leader. At Berry, she got the experience to back it up.
Former Student Government Association President Ree Palmer was a leader in every sense of the word. Naturally shy, she found her voice in student government as a freshman when a friend convinced her to run for office. Before graduation, she had learned, practiced and shared leadership skills as a Leadership Fellow and was one of the first participants in the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership's Carper mentoring program, meeting regularly with former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman S. Fletcher. She noted: "Berry ensures that its student leaders know how to handle leadership roles with professionalism and dedication by handing them responsibility from day one." What's next in her journey? Palmer and a classmate were two of only 35 accepted in 2016 for Indiana University's highly selective master's program in higher education and student affairs.
Emily Barton doesn’t just dream about becoming a large-animal vet. She works hard at it.
Emily knows what it take to get into vet school: grades, experience, interests, determination. Her GPA? Near perfection! It’s an impressive 3.94 out of 4. Her level of experience? Exceptional! A hands-on leadership position with the Berry College Dairy and two summers working with veterinarians, as well as caring for a horse and raising a guide-dog-in-training. Her interests? Broad. She’s also a ballerina, choreographer and Dance Troupe assistant manager. Emily is determined to do everything she can to build her future. What does she deserve? The best learning facilities possible. We’re committed to creating them.
When one door closed for Whitney Webster, a musical one opened.
For Whitney Webster of Trussville, Ala., when one door closed, a musical one opened. The music-business major was a competitive level 10 gymnast in high school before a severe ankle injury derailed her athletic dreams. While recovering from surgery, she found music soothing to her soul and soon picked up where she had left off years earlier playing the piano. Next, came voice lessons. Now a talented vocalist, she’s eyeing a future move to Nashville to join the country music scene, either as a performer or through work in copyright law. Whitney also would like the opportunity to use her music to spread the gospel internationally.
You can tell some leaders by the “hats” they wear. With Harrison Daniels, it’s t-shirts.
The sure sign of any student-leader is the t-shirt, that revered and respected article of clothing proclaiming the activity or event in which the wearer has a stake. At last count, Harrison had about 80 of them. His titles were just as numerous – Berry Leadership Fellow, leadership coordinator, Presidential Ambassador, head SOAR leader and teaching assistant, to name just a few. The double physics/math major – now in graduate
school at Georgia Tech – also became the go-to student expert on 3-D printing, micro-controllers and other new technologies in the Physical Computing Lab and spent a year-in-service helping others through “Random Acts of Hope” with his six Hope Cottage roommates. Scholarships made it possible for Harrison to go to Berry; work program wages helped him stay here. Annual giving supports both.
As a theatre major seeking the freedom to explore her creative talents, Mercedes Meyers has found her fit.
Mercedes is keeping her options open on how she’ll reach for the stars. The Portland, Maine, native first dipped a toe into drama as a freshman in high school and found an immediate “fit.” At Berry, she’s tried her hand at nearly every aspect of theatre production, from acting to set painting, enjoying the freedom to discover her talents and develop her potential. And potential she has. Mercedes was tapped for a scenic artist apprenticeship at the renowned Hanger Theatre in Ithaca, N.Y., after just her sophomore year. But Mercedes also is a physics minor contemplating advanced study in astrophysics. No wonder she is excited to watch her own star-studded story unfold!
Bernard Granville Jr. came to Berry seeking role models. Now he’s becoming one.
The Columbus, Ga., native arrived at Berry seeking the type of personal influences that would help “mold me as a man.” He’s found that and more, growing in maturity and accountability as a member of the college’s varsity football team. Thriving under coaches who emphasize character as well as playing ability, he has become a key building block for the young program and looks forward to winning in the new stadium the grateful team already calls “home.” But Berry is about more than football for Bernard, who is passionate about becoming a role model himself as a middle school teacher, especially for at-risk young men. “My choice to come to Berry is probably the best decision I’ve ever made, especially academically,” he said. “I know I’m doing a great job in that aspect right now. It’s put me in the right position for the rest of my life.”