Tag Archives: Student Achievement

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

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Lunar LemonIn our last issue, we shared the story of the “Lunar Lemon,” a 1986 Chevy Astro van transformed into an endurance racer by creative technologies students and faculty working out of Berry’s HackBerry Lab. After earning  “Eternal Optimist” recognition for its debut performance in the “24 Hours of LeMons” racing series (limited to vehicles valued at $500 or less), the space-themed Lemon soared to even greater heights in its second outing. This time, the Berry entry claimed the prestigious “Index of Effluency” award for accomplishing “the most with the least” after completing 217 laps – approximately 500 miles – at a track in South Carolina. The student-led team earned a cash prize for its efforts and automatic entry into the next race in September.

Related Content: President’s Essay – Just imagine!

By Katherine Edmonds, philanthropic communications student writer

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Lunar Lemon Racing

The Lunar Lemon van competes in the “24 Hours of LeMons” race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Students in Berry’s creative technologies program are always looking for a challenge, so when the opportunity came to test their mettle in an endurance race for cars costing $500 or less, they couldn’t resist.

The result was the “Lunar Lemon,” a vintage Chevy Astro van purchased from Berry and fitted with wings and “rocket boosters” made of recycled materials. Its first outing didn’t quite go as planned – the vehicle failed to pass inspection on race day – but the student team led by Visiting Instructor Zane Cochran (with assistance from the Hatch Athens nonprofit group) was undeterred, working for 40 hours straight to get the Lunar Lemon ready for competition. Despite the late start, the Berry entry earned the “Eternal Optimist Award” from race judges after completing 95 laps (approximately 225 miles) without any mechanical issues, beating a number of teams that started a day earlier. Emboldened by the experience, the team is already planning another outing April 30.

Students Fixing Van

Students Jacob Ramsey and Chris Whitmire work on the interior of the Lunar Lemon.

Such hard work and resourcefulness are hallmarks of Berry’s groundbreaking creative technologies (CRT) major, the first undergraduate degree program of its type. Combining business, computing, engineering, manufacturing and hands-on design, the program provides students very real opportunities to give physical form to their most imaginative thoughts. Since its 2014 launch, CRT’s mix of high-tech creative tools and do-it-yourself ingenuity has become quite the draw for students, with 29 now majoring in creative technologies and others enhancing their Berry experience through classes such as vehicle prototyping and advanced robotics – so many, in fact, that the program’s HackBerry Lab recently moved into a new space near the Emery Barns.

“The projects I’ve done in creative technologies have taught me problem-solving strategies and given me mechanical experience,” said sophomore Jacob Ramsey, a management major and creative technologies minor. “But they also let my imagination have free rein.”

Rome News-Tribune: HackBerry Lab spurs student ingenuity

By Maxine Donnelly, philanthropic communications senior student writer

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One of our favorite new traditions – the forming of the “B” by first-year students – heralded the arrival of fall semester on the Berry campus. More than 600 new faces flowed through the Gate of Opportunity for the Aug. 24 kickoff to the 2015-16 academic year, among them approximately 575 freshmen.

Fully one-third of the new students hail from outside Georgia. Representing more than 30 states and 12 foreign countries, these students reflect Berry’s growing regional and national stature.

While final numbers won’t be available for several weeks, preliminary statistics cited by Dean of Students Debbie Heida during opening convocation are impressive, to say the least.

Here are some of the highlights:

38 percent of the new arrivals graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school classes, including seven valedictorians and nine salutatorians

51 percent have been recognized for extraordinary academic achievement

60 percent have had at least one leadership experience, including seven student council presidents

68 percent have been involved in a community service activity

31 percent held jobs during high school

In addition, 65 of the new arrivals have family members who attended Berry

Please join us in welcoming all the newcomers to the Berry family. You’ll be hearing much more about them in the coming years.

Around Berry: Welcome new Vikings

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Berry Model United NationsBerry’s Model United Nations team did fantastic work at November’s Southern Regional Model United Nations Conference in Atlanta. Students from more than 60 colleges and universities provided representation for 77 different countries during the various simulations. The Berry team split into delegations for two countries, Germany and Argentina. The students representing Germany fared particularly well, claiming one of 10 position paper awards for pre-conference research and one of five distinguished delegation awards for their work in committee.

By Carey Blankenship, philanthropic communications student assistant

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Viking FusionStudents representing Viking Fusion and the Department of Communication made waves again last fall, earning recognition in a trio of national contests. Berry received a total of six nominations, winning two Pinnacle Awards (presented by the College Media Association) for The Takeover, an audio thriller by sophomore communication major Michael Shaw.

Other nominations (listed by contest) included:

EPPY Awards
(presented by Editor & Publisher)

National Student Production Awards
(presented by College Broadcasters Inc.)

By Maxine Donnelly, philanthropic communications student assistant

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The 2Class of 2018014-15 academic year is only a few weeks old, but Berry’s newest students – more than 600 in all – have already made themselves right at home.

The fun began in late August with move-in day and Viking Venture, followed closely by First-Year Service Day and the usual flurry of athletic competitions, arts events and other student activities that dot the calendar each September. (Check out this crowd at a recent concert!)

Full-time undergraduate enrollment for fall is 2,060. There are also 92 graduate students. The new arrivals – 568 first-year students and 36 transfers – fit perfectly among their returning classmates, reflecting the standard of excellence we expect of Berry students. Here’s a quick snapshot of the Class of 2018:

  • 28 states represented (including Georgia)
  • 8 countries (including the U.S.)
  • 7 high school valedictorians
  • 7 salutatorians
  • 21% finished in the top 10% of their high school class
  • 47% have been recognized for outstanding academic achievement
  • 39% were members of the National Honor Society and/or Beta Club
  • 57% boast leadership experience
  • 69% were involved in community service as high school students
  • 25% gained work experience during high school
  • 31 have family members who attended Berry

If their prior accomplishments are any indication, you can expect to read a lot more about this group in the years to come. Stay tuned!

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Tommy McClosky at Nationals

Photo of Berry All-American Tommy McCloskey by John Bell of Touch A Life Photography.

Honorable mention All-American Tommy McCloskey paced a No. 8 national finish for men’s golf in Berry’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Golf Championships. Women’s tennis also made history this spring – capping a sparkling 18-3 season with a first-round NCAA Division III national tournament victory over Methodist University – while the equestrian team closed out another successful campaign with a fourth-place finish at western nationals.

Proving equally impressive in the classroom, 98 Berry student-athletes made the Southern Athletic Association’s spring honor roll. In addition, women’s lacrosse player Kristan Dziurzynski (14C) was honored as a third-team Capital One Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.


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Student Work Award

Mary Chambers (right) with Yvonne Williams, coordinator of student employment at Furman University and representative of the Southern Association of Student Employment Administrators.

Senior Mary Chambers has made quite a name for herself in Berry’s Work Experience Program, building a reputation for excellence as director of the award-winning student team providing accounting, marketing and project management services for the college’s growing number of on-campus student-operated enterprises. This spring, she was named regional Student Worker of the Year by the Southern Association of Student Employment Administrators, an organization stretching from Texas to Virginia. The former intern at The Broadmoor – a Five-Star, Five-Diamond resort in Colorado – is the first Berry student to be so recognized. As a regional winner, she will now be considered for national honors. Next up for the soon-to-be graduate is a position in corporate marketing at Chick-fil-A.

Chambers’ award is one of many notable distinctions earned by Berry students in recent months. These include a second-place national finish for the novice forensics team (and an individual championship for sophomore Carson Kay), two national awards for the Cabin Log yearbook and an Area 9 Outstanding Chapter Award for Berry’s Peer Educators. Representatives of the college’s Model U.N. team turned in stellar work representing Lithuania at the national conference in New York, while, closer to home, English majors Casey Cox and Jacob Collum won acclaim as finalists in Agnes Scott College’s 43rd Annual Writers’ Festival.

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The Treves Family Audio Slideshow

A screen capture from "The Treves Family: An Uncommon Story," by student Mary Claire Stewart. Click image to access audio slideshow.

National honors have been piling up like falling leaves around the Viking Fusion studio this semester. The student-run site earned recognition as one of America’s “50 Best Student Press Websites” from College Media Matters and was runner-up to Kent State University as “TV Station of the Year,” as judged by the College Media Association. The latter organization also rewarded two individual productions with first-place awards: a Viking Fusion promo and senior Mary Claire Stewart’s audio slideshow The Treves Family: An Uncommon Story, which was part of the larger Jews of Florence multimedia project. An additional first-place honor – this one in the National Student Production Awards competition – went to Episode 5 of Going Up, a series co-created by current student Glenn Garrido-Olivar and recent graduate Nathan Sutton (13C).

Viking Fusion is a co-curricular multimedia website based in and managed by the Department of Communication.

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Rachel QuillinBiochemistry major Rachel Quillin (pictured) is one of only a handful of students nationwide to be awarded a Lambda Sigma National Honor Society scholarship in 2013-14. Quillin, the recipient of Lambda Sigma’s Emily Taylor Scholarship, has distinguished herself in the classroom – making the dean’s list in each of her four semesters at Berry – and through significant participation in the Work Experience Program. She also established a literacy program at the Open Door Children’s Home. The aspiring health care provider was nominated for the scholarship after serving as president of Berry’s Lambda Sigma chapter in 2012-13.

Also earning acclaim this summer were the seven students responsible for The Jews of Florence multimedia reporting project, which placed third nationally in the Newspaper Project Award competition. The series – consisting of more than a dozen stories across multiple media – was produced during a summer study-abroad experience in 2012. Other institutions honored in the competition included Northwestern, Iowa State, James Madison and the University of Texas at Austin. Read more.

Not to be outdone, Berry math majors scored in the 97th percentile nationwide on the Educational Testing Service Major Field Test, a comprehensive undergraduate assessment designed to measure the critical knowledge and understanding obtained by students in a major field of study. Read more.

UPDATE: In our last issue, we shared news that Berry tennis player Kaleigh Carpenter’s inspirational story had been featured in the summer issue of the NCAA’s Champion magazine. More recently, the sophomore standout – born missing part of her left arm – has been interviewed by ESPNW and Fox Sports Radio.

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Alyssa HollingsworthAlyssa Hollingsworth (13C) joined students from Yeshiva University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, John Brown University and Lee University as winners in the 2013 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Contest, a national competition that challenges college students to submit essays focusing on complex ethical issues.

Alyssa’s third-place entry, Naan in the Afghan Village, recounts a 2011 visit to Afghanistan to visit her sister, who works for a nongovernmental agency that specializes in community development and health education for Afghan women. The piece was written as part of a class assignment at Berry and submitted for recognition at the encouragement of Visiting Assistant Professor of English Abigail Greenbaum. The award includes a $1,500 cash prize, as well as an opportunity to  meet Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

A charter participant in Berry’s Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program, Alyssa graduated in May with a degree in English. She will continue to hone her writing skills while pursuing a master’s degree at England’s Bath Spa University.

 Read more.

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