Tag Archives: Work Experience Program

Viking Connections-Employers Event in AtlantaAbove: The Atlanta skyline provides the perfect backdrop for a January Viking Connections-Employers event hosted by the firm of Nelson Mullins.

Berry students preparing to enter the workforce had four opportunities this academic year to network with alumni through the Viking Connections-Employers program.

Now in its fifth year, Viking Connections-Employers is a great way for students to tap into Berry’s alumni network as they interact with graduates on every rung of the career ladder, from young professionals to executives.

“We hear over and over again that our alumni really enjoy working with our students,” said Mark Kozera (79C), director of employer development for Berry’s Student Work Experience Program. “We’ve had a lot of success with students getting internships and jobs as a result of these events.”

This year’s events had four specific areas of focus: business, the humanities, nonprofits and Northwest Georgia. Alumni in attendance hailed from companies as diverse as Habitat for Humanity, the Centers for Disease Control, Jackson Spalding, Georgia Power and Turner Broadcasting.

David Nuckolls (10C), who attended one of the events as a representative of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, praised the quality of the students he met, noting, “I’m encouraged by the level of talent, aptitude, and work readiness these students possess and feel very confident that their participation in this program will guide them on their path to success.”

Alumni wishing to participate in future Viking Connections-Employers events should email mkozera@berry.edu.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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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

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A dream several years in the making became a reality this summer with the grand opening of the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. Currently the largest single-surface tennis center in the United States, the 60-court facility is located on Berry-donated property just north of Mount Berry Mall.

“Less than a handful of communities in the entire country come close to matching what you have here,” United States Tennis Association Executive Director Gordon Smith praised at the July opening. “You should all give yourselves a round of applause.”

The center is already proving to be a draw for players from throughout the Southeast, hosting four major tournaments and more than 1,600 participants in its first few weeks alone. Two other major events are scheduled this fall, with many more to follow in 2017 and beyond.

The new center was funded by a voter-approved special purpose sales tax as part of a public-private partnership expected to provide a major boost to the local economy while also opening the door to new work and learning opportunities for Berry students. The community partnership has allowed the Work Experience Program’s community and industry initiative to expand into the tennis world. The center also provides opportunities for students to pursue certification in Professional Tennis Management. Berry is one of a handful of colleges and universities nationwide to offer such a certification program.

“We want to create great experiences for our students,” said President Steve Briggs. “We want them to be ready for life and to understand what it means to put on great events and to serve other people’s needs. Students are attracted to Berry because they have the opportunity to participate in something like this.”

Additional coverage: Grand opening photo gallery, Good Day Atlanta

Public Relations Student Assistant Alexi Bell contributed to this story.

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Viking ConnectionsStudents working toward careers in business and the humanities honed their networking chops through participation in two recent “Viking Connections” events in Atlanta.

Piloted in 2014, this program allows students to build career connections with successful professionals – many of them alumni. The impressive roster of participating employers included Chick-fil-A, Turner Broadcasting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Invesco, Cox Communications, the Peace Corps, Jackson Spalding and AT&T.

“The primary focus of Viking Connections is helping students build relationships that will lead to jobs after graduation,” said Mark Kozera (79C), director of employer development for Berry’s Work Experience Program. “It’s also an excellent way to engage alumni, providing opportunities for them to assist students while also expanding their own career networks.”

The program has already borne fruit for students, with several securing summer internships through their participation in the 2014 pilot events.

Alumni interested in participating in future Viking Connections events or offering other types of career assistance for current students should contact Kozera at mkozera@berry.edu.

By Maxine Donnelly, philanthropic communications student assistant

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Holden Wilbanks: Berry BeesAs a business major, junior Holden Wilbanks never thought he would need to worry about getting stung on a regular basis.

A double major in management and economics, Wilbanks has always had an interest in entrepreneurship and a desire to start his own business. Through the student Work Experience Program, he is now CEO of Berry Bees, one of 14 student-operated enterprises on the Berry campus.

“As far as getting stung goes, I’m pretty confident in my bee suit. I have only been stung a couple of times, so it protects me pretty well,” he said.

Wilbanks haHolden Wilbanksndles all the administrative duties of the enterprise including product deliveries, customer relationships and hive management. The enterprise program hones skills such as leadership, professionalism, public speaking and others necessary in the post-graduation workplace.

“I think it is so important to work at Berry because you need to find value in what you do. Every job on Berry’s campus is meaningful and fulfills an important role,” he said.

Every student at Berry has the opportunity to work regardless of family income, and more than 95 percent of students take that opportunity.

In addition to his work with Berry Bees, Wilbanks serves as a spokesperson for the enterprise program, sharing information with groups such as Leadership Georgia, the Berry College Board of Trustees and Berry Alumni Council.

By Nic Diaz, student public relations assistant

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Online MarketplaceBerry’s student-operated campus enterprises continue to come up with new ways to serve their customers – including you! Launched in 2009, this program provides tremendous opportunities for students to gain firsthand experience while also delivering a diverse (and growing) array of products and services. Recently, an online marketplace was launched that provides easy access to several of these products, including cheese made from Berry milk, woven items created on original Berry looms, and handcrafted cypress furniture constructed on campus. More products will be added in the future.

“Our enterprise program continually searches for new and progressive ways to market our quality products,” said sophomore Greg Howard, acting director of the Berry Enterprise Student Team (BEST). “We believe our new online marketplace will give consumers an additional and easy way to view and purchase our merchandise.”

Click here if you would like to receive future email updates from Berry College Student Enterprises.

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First-class facilities, centers for integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, enhancements to the Work Experience Program, generous scholarships, and new student mentoring initiatives are the focus of LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity.

Together, these campaign priorities will build on Berry’s historic mission of educating the head, heart and hands and further strengthen opportunities for students to discover their gifts and realize their potential. The result will be graduates who leave Berry even better prepared to improve their homes, workplaces and communities.

“Opportunity long has been Berry’s pledge to hardworking students,” said Barry Griswell (71C), retired chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group and campaign co-chair with fellow college trustee Randy Berry. “The experience of a Berry education has changed my own life and others, while the character of a Berry education has changed communities for the better. We want to continue this important work.”

The campaign launch was accompanied by news that more than $73 million in gifts and pledges were already in hand. These early commitments – made during the four years preceding the May 17 kickoff event – include $24 million to support an eventual total of 130 innovative, mission-based Gate of Opportunity Scholarships. Funding also has been completed for the McAllister Hall endowment supporting science education and science-based scholarships.

Future commitments will make possible major facilities enhancements for Berry’s growing animal science program and much-needed renovations for the college’s primary performing arts venues, Ford Auditorium and Blackstone Hall. Other brick-and-mortar projects include a campus welcome center and entry enhancements; the Valhalla stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field; and the recently completed renovation of Roy Richards Memorial Gymnasium.

Learning experiences will be enriched through centers focused on integrity in leadership and entrepreneurship, while work experiences – long a hallmark of a Berry education – will be enhanced through gifts supporting Berry Student Enterprises and other high-level student work positions. New mentoring programs will help students maximize the opportunities afforded by their Berry experience.

Details about each campaign priority can be found at www.berry.edu/lifeready. The site also includes information about giving options alumni and friends can use to help make these projects a reality. Gifts of any size through June 2020 count toward the campaign total.

“We could not be where we are today without your support, and we will not achieve the goals of this campaign without your help going forward,” President Steve Briggs said in an email message to alumni. “We have the opportunity to have a profound impact on Berry and the lives of future students.”

Campaign launch.

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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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Scholarship Night has always been an emotional celebration bringing together students and the donors who fund their scholarships, but this year’s event took on added significance thanks to the tremendous generosity of a longtime Berry friend and the incredible opportunities that will result.

On a night when Berry annually expresses its sincere appreciation to all scholarship donors, a new act of generosity was announced that has resulted in the formation of a $10 million Donor Opportunity Fund designed to help speed the creation of 80 additional Gate of Opportunity Scholarships. The fund provides matching support – at a rate of $1.25 for each dollar given – to individuals or groups who endow new Gate of Opportunity Scholarships. Once established, these new scholarships will benefit Berry students for generations to come.

Each four-year Gate of Opportunity Scholarship represents a partnership among a donor, a student and his or her family, and Berry, with each partner contributing approximately one-third of the cost of the student’s education. The student’s portion comes largely through extensive participation in the Work Experience Program.

Twenty-eight students currently are working their way through Berry with the prospect of graduating debt-free thanks to Gate of Opportunity donors. One student whose life has already been changed by this mission-focused program is Naing Oo. Watch the video to learn more about his inspiring story.

Read more.

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