By Geiger Sturkie, COM 250 Reporter

Edited by Addison Howard, COM 303 Editor

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. — Berry College launched a new $15,000 academic scholarship that inducts 40 new students yearly into a mentorship program. 

In fall 2020, Berry piloted the new “Roosevelt Scholarship,” which is meant to help first year students adjust to the struggles of college. The admissions team created this program to provide mentors and extra funds to the students.

The admissions team looks for students who have a strong motivation to succeed in school. The program takes these incoming students and places them into different class sections to give them a community of people their age to work through struggles alongside.

Each of the new students are given a mentor to whom they can report when needed. With their mentors, they can talk about the challenges they face during their time at Berry. After a semester, the students have the option to choose a new mentor.

Anna Sharpe, the associate dean of student success, helped launch and now manages this new scholarship program. She said one of the main purposes of the program is for the scholars to receive mentorship to help them perform well in their college studies.

“We know that students in our tight knit scholarship-based programs tend to do really well at Berry,” Sharpe said. “That strong mentorship is meant to help students with the learning curve of coming to Berry.”

Once a month, Roosevelt scholars have a big meeting to discuss how school is going throughout their first year at Berry. Upperclassmen mentors and peers give advice on subjects like how to find friends, study for finals, and manage overall stress levels.

The admissions team designed these monthly meetings to help students find where they fit best on campus. Madison Gordon, a freshman in the program, said it gave her better insight into selecting classes and a clearer study concentration.

“It’s an amazing group and they are upfront, gentle and comforting about all sorts of problems,” Gordon said. “Through mentorship, this scholarship really helped me decide what I want to do and how to get there.”

Students do not have to apply to the program. Berry’s admissions team looks at the students’ needs based on financial aid and how they perform academically, then awards the scholarship to qualifying students. The only requisite for the students in an academic school year is to maintain a 2.0 GPA average.

Meredith Johnson, the assistant dean of students, is one of the faculty advisers of the program. She said she hopes the scholarship program will evolve in a full-circle manner in regard to mentorship.

“We would like to have more of our students already involved in the program to come and speak to the new students,” Johnson said. “Hearing from staff is good but hearing from older students is really powerful.”

The scholarship program’s name is a reference to the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, who was friends with Martha Berry. Roosevelt visited the school in 1909 and has a cabin dedicated to him behind Richards gym.

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