Issues by Date: August 2017

Governor's Honors Program

Siddarth Shrivastava makes an adjustment to a “mine finder” he helped build in HackBerry Lab as part of the Governor’s Honors Program. The device is meant to minimize injuries and deaths from landmines left from wars.

A busy summer on the world’s largest campus was highlighted by Berry’s debut as the new host site for the prestigious Governor’s Honors Program. More than 650 of Georgia’s top high school juniors and seniors – accompanied by nearly 100 GHP faculty and staff members – flowed through the Gate of Opportunity in late June to begin the four-week residential experience.

During their stay, participants attended classes in specific areas of study, showcased their artistic talents in various campus venues, and joined Berry students and staff for a night of service benefiting the local community.

“The Governor’s Honors Program aligns with Berry’s commitment to academic excellence,” said Debbie Heida, dean of students and vice president for student affairs. “It was a great opportunity to share the Berry experience with these incredibly talented high school students. I hope to see some of them back at Berry for a full four-year experience.”

The program will return to Berry in 2018.

The arrival of the GHP students for a new Berry tradition came on the heels of a rite of passage familiar to decades of alumni – Student Orientation Advising and Registration (SOAR) – which this year provided more than 500 incoming students with their first taste of Berry life.

Adding to the buzz of GHP and SOAR was a steady stream of summer camps – more than 45 in all – that drew approximately 2,000 participants ages 5-18 for a wide variety of sports and activities.

Related News Coverage: Student enjoys “humbling” experience in GHP

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Morgan Hall Jewel Box

A deer pauses in front of the Morgan Hall “jewel box.” Scenes such as this have made Berry a “go-to” for writers and editors wishing to showcase the most beautiful colleges nationally and around the world.

Berry once again has earned high marks from The Princeton Review, with campus beauty, academic rigor and a strong sense of community all contributing to the college’s inclusion in a new book highlighting The Best 382 Colleges. Only 15 percent of all four-year colleges nationally (along with two outside the United States) are featured in this year’s publication.

Remarks about Berry included: “All in all, students find Berry to be ‘a community that is committed to developing the minds, hearts and hands of students through impeccable faculty with a passion for learning … [and] incredible … programs [that provide] students [with] hands-on experience in almost any area of study.’”

By student writer Katherine Edmonds

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Sandra MeekBeat poet Allen Ginsberg once said that “the only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.” So it is with Dr. Sandra Meek and her newest book of poems, An Ecology of Elsewhere, which recently earned her acclaim as the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year in poetry. The collection vividly relates scenes of desert and coast inspired by the longtime Berry faculty member’s return to southern Africa – where she once served as a Peace Corps volunteer – and her travels with her sister and father in the American Southwest following the death of her mother.

A three-time winner of the Georgia Writers Association prize, Meek has published five books of poems and a chapbook, The Circumference of Arrival. She also is editor of Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad, which earned an Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal. Read more (registration may be required to access content).

By student writer Katherine Edmonds

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Technology and education go hand-in-hand these days, something no one knows better than Lauren Pittman (09C). The special education teacher and her students at Holly Springs (Ga.) Elementary School are the subjects of a worldwide Microsoft campaign promoting new software that highlights words on a computer monitor, making it easier for students with dyslexia to follow along. She also has been featured in the Washington Post, Ed Tech Magazine and, coming in October, Good Housekeeping.

Pittman is just one example of the tremendous caliber of teachers produced by Berry’s Charter School of Education and Human Sciences – and they just keep coming! In the last three years, 100 percent of the teacher education program’s graduating seniors and master’s degree candidates – 145 in all! – passed their state certification exams. Additionally, this spring marked the third year for the Educational Leadership Program in Cobb County, Ga., which has graduated a total of 137 “Berry principals.”

By student writer Katherine Edmonds

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As a student juggling football practice, theatre rehearsals and work in HackBerry Lab, Alec Leeseberg (17C) appreciated the pick-me-up provided by a good cup of coffee. It should come as no surprise then that one of the budding entrepreneur’s early inventions was HoloBrew, a “smart” appliance meant to provide the perfect cup every time.

Leeseberg discovered his passion for designing new electronics through Berry’s innovative creative technologies major. Working and studying in HackBerry Lab, he gained valuable skills in computer programming and 3-D printing that helped unlock his first invention, HoloView, which projected holograms using a smartphone. That product became the centerpiece of an entrepreneurship project and ultimately the basis for his own company.

Those experiences taught him the basics of managing a business and paved the way for subsequent inventions like HoloBrew. They also helped him catch the eye of GoFire, a Colorado-based startup he now serves as technology project manager, and the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he will pursue a master’s degree in creative technology and design.

Leeseberg hopes his work at GoFire and in Colorado’s BTU lab will offer a jolt to his own career prospects more powerful than any double-shot of caffeine, allowing him to take full advantage of the foundation Berry provided.

“Berry and the creative technologies major prepared me for working in this field more than any other program could,” he praised. “It gave me a set of skills and a unique perspective that I find valuable every day.”

Hear more about Leeseberg’s Berry experience in the accompanying admissions video produced while he was a student.

By student writer Katherine Edmonds

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Students may find themselves spacing out on the first day of fall classes, but not because summer is over. The beginning of the 2017-18 academic year on Aug. 21 coincides with the “Great American Eclipse,” which will leave the United States in partial to full shadow as the moon passes in front of the sun. Berry is just south of the 70-mile wide path in which a total eclipse will be visible, but with up to 98 percent of the sun covered at 2:30 p.m. (the peak of the campus viewing period) the show will be spectacular nonetheless. This is the first time Berry skies have featured an eclipse of this magnitude since 1984, and it likely will be decades before it happens again.

In preparation for this stellar event, Berry Professor of Astronomy and Physics Todd Timberlake has scheduled 7:30 p.m. public lectures in the McAllister Hall auditorium for Aug. 15 and 20. Free eclipse-viewing cards will be given to all who attend a session. He’s also recorded a brief informational video in association with Rome’s Sara Hightower Regional Library and a second video with tips for viewing the event safely. The latter (accompanying this story) has been shared by WSB and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On the afternoon of the eclipse, Dr. Timberlake will host a viewing party at Berry’s Valhalla stadium with specially equipped telescopes and solar filters offering the chance to view the event safely. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by! More details.

By student writer Katherine Edmonds

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Mamadou Soumahoro returns a fumble for a touchdown against the University of Chicago.

Mamadou Soumahoro returns a fumble for a touchdown against the University of Chicago in this photo by Russell Maddrey (17C).

Berry’s 2017 football season is beginning just as last year’s ended, with individual recognition for outstanding achievement. Linebacker Mamadou Soumahoro has been tapped as a Preseason All-American by, while another rising senior, Michael Wenclawiak, is among 146 national nominees for the American Football Coaches Association’s Good Works Team, which honors those who dedicate themselves to volunteerism and enriching the lives of others.

The Vikings, defending Southern Athletic Association champions, begin their fifth season of competition Sept. 2 at Maryville hoping to build on last year’s 9-1 finish. The home schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 9
LaGrange College
6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 16
Rhodes College
6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23
Centre College
6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 14
Hendrix College
2 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 11
Trinity University
2 p.m.

Ticket information: Alumni wishing to purchase $6 single-game tickets online may do so at Free tickets for students, faculty and staff will be available for pickup at the Krannert Center Information Desk the week preceding each home game. Students are eligible for one free ticket per game; faculty/staff receive two. Up to two additional tickets may be purchased at the time of pickup for $5 apiece.

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Emma Chambers and guide dog JettaSophomore Emma Chambers may have been born with a visual impairment, but she’s never allowed it to cloud her vision. Whether it was riding a bike or competing in gymnastics, the daughter of Milton (78A, 82C) and Julia Reny (90C) Chambers has always found a way to do the things she wants to do. Today, that includes work as a radio broadcast producer with the Rome Braves.

Recently, the Rome News-Tribune highlighted Emma’s work with the Braves as well as the arrival of a new press-box companion, her guide dog, Jetta. Click here to learn more about Emma’s inspiring story. (Registration may be required to access content.)

Story by student writer Katherine Edmonds; photo by Mills Fitzner

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August 17 Berry Trivia ImageIn our last issue, we asked you to name the 1961 Berry high school alumnus who recently completed his 40th year as a college president. The answer, as our proud high school and academy grads quickly will tell you, is Dr. Jerry C. Davis, who has served as president of Alice Lloyd College (1977-88) and College of the Ozarks (1988-present). This summer, he was honored as the 2017 recipient of the E. Burr Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The subject of this month’s question (pictured at right) is the Berry record-holder in the 1,500-meter run (3 minutes, 48.20 seconds). Recently, he won a national championship at that same distance in the 50-54 age division of the USA Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships. For a shout-out in our next issue, tweet the name of this 1987 graduate who has gone on to great success as a teacher and coach at Cartersville (Ga.) High School. Be sure to include the hashtag #berrycollegetrivia.

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