Emily Berry is McKendree University's 2019-2020 Student Laureate

(LEBANON, Ill., November 19, 2019) — McKendree University senior Emily Berry has received the state’s highest student honor—the 2019-2020 Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award—as a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. She was among the outstanding seniors from each Illinois four-year college and university who were honored for their leadership, service and excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities on Nov. 16 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. It is the 45th year that the academy has celebrated Illinois’ students’ success.

The psychology and Spanish major from of Fallon, Ill., exemplifies the characteristics of a Student Laureate. Responsible, engaged, optimistic and empathetic, Berry’s professors have called her “the quintessential intellectually curious student” and “an influential role model for her peers.”

Student Laureates also demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement. Berry has worked as a camp counselor and supervisor for children’s recreational activities at the YMCA in O’Fallon. She has helped organize fundraising events for hospitalized children and persons living with Alzheimer’s disease. On campus, she has been a tutor and advisor in the Student Success and Advising Center.

“McKendree has allowed me to flourish and become a part of many groups on campus such as Kappa Sigma Tau, Campus Activities Board, Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service, Psi Chi and Pi Gamma Mu honor societies, and an International Studies Abroad ambassador,” Berry said. “I have become more independent, self-sufficient and creative. I think those have been some of the most rewarding parts because I can use those skills to influence or help others in a positive manner.”

Naturally drawn to people and travel, she has visited Guatemala, Cuba, Morocco, Japan and Spain, where she studied in Seville during the spring 2019 semester.

“Learning about culture, development and identity has increased my interest in the environment and how we maneuver throughout our daily life,” Berry said. “I want to continue to learn so that I can have a better understanding about the world around me and help others create ways to live with a sense of peace and unity.”

Her post-graduation plans are service-focused. She has been accepted to AmeriCorp's City Year in Miami for spring 2020 and also applied to PeaceCorps Costa Rica and the Fulbright program to be an English teaching assistant in Mexico.

“I want to improve my Spanish so that I can better communicate with Spanish speakers and further understand the many Hispanic cultures,” she said. “I want to understand the culture more because that will allow me to have a greater understanding of an individual's background for future clients. After my gap year, I plan to attend graduate school. Currently in the U.S., only five percent of clinical psychologists speak Spanish. I plan to achieve a doctoral degree in clinical-school psychology with an emphasis in Latinx studies to best serve children who may or may not associate with Hispanic culture. I want to work with children in a hospital or school environment because I want to provide to them the best resources to make a beneficial future. My goal is to spread optimism and lead others to create their best future.” 

 

McKendree University senior Emily Berry, a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois (center), is congratulated by Dr. J.L. Kemp, professor of psychology at McKendree, and Frank Clark, chancellor of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. (Photo by Dave Blanchette, Studio 131 Photography)

McKendree University senior Emily Berry, a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois (center), is congratulated by Dr. J.L. Kemp, professor of psychology at McKendree, and Frank Clark, chancellor of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. (Photo by Dave Blanchette, Studio 131 Photography)

 

-McK-