Tag Archives: Student Achievement

There are many different ways to explore the world’s largest campus – on foot, via bicycle, even horseback. But unicycle? Student Noah Syverson recently won a third-place national award at the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts for “A Wheel, a Trail, and a Student: The Story of Berry’s Mountain Unicyclist,” chronicling the one-wheeled adventures of fellow student John Patten Moss. Don’t believe us? Watch the video and see for yourself.

Bookmark and Share

SAA trophies won by Berry teams in 2017-18

Berry softball seniors

From left, softball seniors Kassie Howard, Brittany Tuttle, Kylie Aiken and Elisabeth Federici show off the eight SAA championship trophies (four regular season, four tournament) won in their four years at Berry.

Eight – that’s the number of conference championships won by Berry teams in 2017-18, a new high for the program in NCAA Division III. The number is even more impressive when you add the 10 individual titles won by student-athletes in women’s golf, swimming and diving, and track and field. It has been a spectacular year by any measure, with national qualifiers in 10 different sports: football, volleyball, cross country, men’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s track and field (indoor and outdoor), softball, women’s golf, and equestrian.

It would take a year’s worth of Alumni Accents to list all of the highlights produced by Berry student-athletes since our last issue, but we do want to give a virtual “high-five” to the softball team, which won its first NCAA regional championship en route to a sparkling 39-6 finish.

Kudos are also due women’s golf, which earned a top-10 finish in its NCAA national tournament debut, and equestrian, which posted five individual top-10 finishes at western nationals. In addition, Alainna Chretien (18C) capped a stellar track and field career by qualifying for NCAA outdoor nationals – a first for Berry – shattering the school record at 1,500 meters in the process.

Not to be forgotten is the SAA regular-season championship won by Berry’s baseball team, another first in the NCAA era. The Vikings came tantalizingly close to a national tournament bid of their own before closing the season with a 29-13 record.

Visit berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics, including the many individual accolades claimed by Berry student-athletes this spring.

Bookmark and Share

Group Photo of Forensics Team at Novice Nationals

Goldwater Scholar Sarah Cooper.

Pictured above: Members of the Berry College Forensics Union display their awards after claiming top honors at Novice Nationals.

Junior biochemistry major Sarah Cooper led a parade of high-achieving Berry students this spring as a recipient of the 2018 Goldwater Scholarship. Cooper, pictured at right, is one of only 211 students nationally chosen for the prestigious award, established by Congress in honor of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater to provide support for U.S. college students who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, engineering or mathematics.

Also notable this spring was the performance of first-year speakers who claimed top honors for the Berry College Forensics Union at Novice Nationals. Berry had an unprecedented 27 national finalists in the competition, with freshman Shelby Newland winning individual honors in dramatic interpretation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Berry student achievement in 2018. Visit the following links for highlights in areas as varied as theatre, filmmaking, creative writing, student media and animal science.

Bookmark and Share

Mason Kinsey prepares to catch a touchdown pass late into the fourth quarter of Berry's home opener against LaGrange.Mason Kinsey prepares to catch a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of Berry’s home opener against LaGrange. The Vikings won the game 28-14, part of a 14-game winning streak dating back to last October.

Berry volleyball players celebrate their first-ever win over Emory University.

Hannah Billiard (15) and her Berry teammates celebrate during their first-ever win over Emory University.

To say it’s been a splendid fall for Berry’s volleyball and football teams would be something of an understatement. Both have earned national rankings and kindled championship dreams by dominating their peers in the Southern Athletic Association.

The volleyball team made history Oct. 22 as the first SAA program to finish the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record in conference play. Next up is the SAA tournament, to be held Nov. 3-5 in the friendly confines of the Cage Center. A victory in that event will guarantee the Vikings and coach Caitlyn Moriarty (14G) a trip to nationals. SAA tournament website.

The football team has enjoyed similar success, soaring to a best-ever 9-0 start that includes a 7-0 mark in conference play. The Vikings have clinched a share of their second consecutive SAA championship and can win the title outright with a home victory over Trinity (Texas) on Nov. 11. Regardless of the outcome of that game, coach Tony Kunczewski’s team has already assured itself of a first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III national playoffs. Complete coverage.

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

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 D3football.com, 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 www.berrygameday.com. 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.

Bookmark and Share

Viking Fusion HomepageViking Fusion continues to excel in regional and national competition, recently claiming the title of “Best Independent Online Student Publication” in the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional Mark of Excellence Awards. This was one of six distinctions claimed by Viking Fusion and the Campus Carrier newspaper in this year’s contest. Read more.

Viking Fusion also made its presence felt in the the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences regional Student Production Awards, earning three wins and nine honorable mentions. Read more.

Click the graphic at left to visit the Viking Fusion homepage and sample some of the award-winning content.

Bookmark and Share

Sydney Weaver (17C)

Sydney Weaver (17C)

Genesis Leggett throws the shot put

Freshman Genesis Leggett throws the shot put for Berry during the SAA championships at Valhalla.

Sydney Weaver (17C) made history this spring as the first Berry student-athlete to compete in the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships, finishing seventh overall. The first-team All-American has taken her last swing for Berry, but she’ll continue to serve the program as a graduate assistant.

Weaver’s success was one of many athletic highlights for Berry this spring. Others included a No. 5 national finish and All-America recognition for men’s golfer Ryan Elmore (17C); national equestrian crowns for sophomores Allie Robertson and Emily Lambert; Berry’s first All-American in men’s lacrosse; two conference championships for Southern Athletic Association Women’s Field Athlete of the Year Genesis Leggett; and numerous regional and national honors for Berry’s record-breaking softball team.

Berry facilities were also on display, with Valhalla hosting Georgia High School Association state championships and the SAA track and field championships, the newly-christened Kay Williams Field hosting an NCAA Division III softball regional, and the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College welcoming the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference championships.

Visit www.berryvikings.com for complete coverage of Berry athletics.

Bookmark and Share

A banner year for Viking Fusion ended with recognition as “Four-Year TV Station of the Year” in the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards competition. The CMA also recognized staff member Steven Hames as an “Honor Roll Broadcast Adviser” for his work shepherding the student-run multimedia hub. All together, Viking Fusion claimed seven awards and 20 nominations in state, regional and national competition in 2016.

“The awards mean that we’re doing the right things, and they encourage us to grow and branch out into areas we haven’t even dreamed of,” said student executive director Deanna Cunningham.

Click the accompanying video for one example of the students’ award-winning work, a parody of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that earned national recognition in two different contests as well as a Southeast Regional Emmy nomination.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

Bookmark and Share

Berry College Tree TeamWhen a 2011 storm felled more than 1,200 trees across the Berry campus, students immediately stepped up to become stewards of nature. Recently, physical plant’s Student Tree Care Team earned a Grand Award from the Georgia Urban Forest Council for its role in caring for and managing the campus canopy. Working alongside contractors, the students have helped plant more than 1,000 trees in the years since the storm. They are also fully involved in growing trees for future plantings, gathering nuts and cuttings from current trees on campus to propagate new seedlings in the greenhouse and nursery (300 in 2016 alone!).

“Berry College is to be commended for involving their students in the care of their tree canopy,” said Lynne Beckley, executive director of the forest council. “Combining practical work experience with the students’ learning of sound arboricultural practices provides an excellent opportunity for the students and excellent care for the campus trees.”

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

Bookmark and Share

Viking Fusion wowed judges at this year’s Southeast Regional Emmy Awards, earning top honors in the College/University Student Production/Non-News Program category for Sunrise, a short film written and directed by senior communication major Gino Destefano Valdivia.

The winning entry tells the story of a suicidal man confronting his own sorrow. Inspiration came from Valdivia’s childhood, when his mother taught him to smile at people he met on the street because you never know what they might be going through.

“That smile could save a life,” he noted. “Even though Sunrise is simple from a production standpoint, my hope is that the story captures this sentiment.”

Valdivia’s film was one of three Viking Fusion productions to earn Emmy nominations this year. It previously claimed third-place honors for Best TV Entertainment Program at the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards.

This is Viking Fusion’s second regional Emmy.

Other recent honors for Viking Fusion include a third-place national showing for The Collector, a dark comedy produced by junior communication major Ryan Warrick, and a first-place regional award for The Things They Carry, an online series produced by students in Berry’s COM 311 Sports Journalism class.

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

Bookmark and Share

Kassie HowardA trio of Berry student-athletes found themselves ranked among the very best in NCAA Division III after dominating seasons in softball and men’s golf.

Sophomore pitcher Kassie Howard (pictured) won acclaim as Berry’s first softball All-American and was one of 10 finalists for National Player of the Year after leading her team to a program-best 39-8 record and a second straight trip to nationals.

Two Berry golfers – senior Tommy McCloskey and junior Ryan Elmore – were Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalists after helping their team qualify for nationals for the third consecutive year. McCloskey also earned All-America Scholar recognition with his 3.49 GPA. He graduated in May with a degree in finance.

Photo by student Russell Maddrey

Bookmark and Share