Berry graduate earns prestigious fellowship
Recent Berry College graduate Meredith (Smith) Johnson doesn’t shy away from opportunity.
Although Johnson (11C) was accepted to Harvard University this fall, she was granted deferred enrollment to participate in the esteemed Woodruff and Whitehead Foundations Fellowship.
The fellowship is a one-year opportunity for a recent college graduate to gain work experience and exposure to the charitable sector in Atlanta. In this position, Johnson will assist staff of the Robert W. Woodruff, Joseph B. Whitehead, Lettie Pate Evans and Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundations in the full range of foundation activity, including site visits and meetings with grantees and applicants
Throughout Johnson’s four years at Berry, she served as head student orientation leader, a peer educator and president of Habitat for Humanity and Sigma Delta Pi. She was also a member of the prestigious college honor society Phi Kappa Phi.
The Rome native also received the Martha Berry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement.
“In my 30-plus years in higher education, I have rarely come across a student with the talent, intelligence, and compassion of Meredith,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Debbie Heida. “When she became president of Habitat for Humanity in the freshman year, we knew we had a special student – and she lead the organization for four years. She is a remarkable leader in part because she quietly gets things done while teaching others how to put their whole heart into their work and their service.”
Johnson said she remained open to diverse activities and job positions throughout her time at Berry.
“I really wanted to try out different things, and I’m glad I did,” she said. “My jobs really offered something different. With each one, I had to start from scratch. You have to be really detail-oriented, and you have to be willing to work with different people and use your resources. I also learned to be independent.”
Although every position “brought something special,” Johnson said being a part of the Peer Educators was especially rewarding.
“Peer Educators is the closest to my career. Even though it isn’t direct counseling, it’s what I want to do,” she said.
In the fall of 2012, Johnson will continue to pursue this goal at Harvard in the master of education program (“Prevention Science and Practice” counseling track), where she will focus her studies on adolescents. Johnson is the second student in Berry history to be accepted to this program.
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