Angela Berry, MA '14

Angela Berry, MA '14

Professional counseling graduate student Angela Berry, MA '14 wants to help veterans and military families transition to “a new normal.”

The mother of two, married to an Air Force officer, understands the stress that long-term or frequent deployments can put on a military family.

“I always wanted to be a counselor, to be in the helping profession,” Angela said. “I really want to work with veterans. My dad is a Vietnam vet and he didn’t receive the help he should have after he returned from Vietnam. Our soldiers coming back are experiencing issues after they get home. Our troops deserve as much help as they can get. I want to be able to do for them what my dad was unable to get.

“I want to help people get through life-changing events. With my own issues I’ve had to do that on my own, and it’s been a long road,” said Angela, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy (MD) at age 15.

She worried that her inability to fully convey facial expressions - the effects of muscle weakness caused by MD - might hinder her effectiveness as a counselor. However, the Professional Counseling program’s emphasis on self-awareness and personal growth, as well as academics, has helped Angela realize her strengths. Her confidence grew as she practiced her skills during free stress management sessions offered to students at the Lebanon campus.

“Angela is a shining example of a counselor-in-training,” said Dr. Jim Cook, director of the professional counseling program. “She is a naturally warm, caring, and genuine person. Her sense of humor and kind spirit instantly put others at ease. These qualities are difficult to teach and lendthemselves well to counseling those with emotional problems.”

Angela made the transition from stay-at-home mom to college student when her daughters, ages eight and eleven, entered school. “A year-and-a-half after hearing the Wiggles and Barney songs, I felt my IQ slipping away,” she said, laughing. She received a degree in psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2007, and enrolled in McKendree’s professional counseling master’s program when the family transferred to Scott Air Force Base.

Upon completion of coursework and an internship, she will graduate in 2014.

Learn more about McKendree UniversityGraduate Programs, or the Professional Counseling program.