News & Stories
Vanessa Fowler
February 2, 2022

Future Forensics Coach Taps into Journalism, Psychology and Campus Leadership Roles

Majoring in communication with a minor in psychology, Vanessa Fowler ’22 has her career goals mapped out. Already accepted to a few graduate programs, she plans to become a communication professor and forensics coach and work for a college like Berry (or Berry itself!).

“Originally, I had come to Berry as a psychology major due to my interest in wanting to know how people think and why they do the things they do,” she explains. “The more I learned about communication, the more I realized the major concentrated on those same aspects. I’m really into writing, so I chose journalism as my concentration. Through journalism, you’re able to discover why something happened and then share with countless others because they deserve to know the truth of the matter.”

Vanessa says she never considered herself a leader until taking on the position of student forensics coach. Coaching has allowed her to guide others in their forensics journey while expressing leadership in a way best suited to her personality — determined yet understated and sensitive to others.

“I love everything about forensics, but there is something really special watching the first time a student gives a performance and comparing it to the last time,” she says. “Because you get to see the development, all the work they’ve put into their pieces, the changes they have made and how much they’ve improved is the best part.”

In February, the forensics team captured their 27th consecutive Georgia state championship, with members winning eight of 14 individual championships. Along with teammate Morgan Thoem, Vanessa qualified for the Interstate Oratorical Contest and will represent the state of Georgia in late April.

Additionally, Vanessa’s experience as the online editor of the student newspaper Campus Carrier has sharpened her eye for details. “With online editing as well as forensics, it is important to notice the little things. It is my job to make the Carrier appear professional, but still in a manner that people will want to look at it on their computer or phone. … I need to pay close attention to the details, making sure that there is not a misplaced comma here or ensuring that this image works with this article. It complements my work in forensics because when you are working on your pieces, you make little choices that can help or hurt.”

Vanessa also points to her LifeWorks experience as having shaped her transferable skills, teamwork and application of practical knowledge. “In my job working as an office assistant in the women and gender studies department, I have been able to develop better research skills and have begun to practice for how to build college classes,” she notes. “It has also helped me sharpen my leadership skills, especially now that it is my third year there, and I am the supervisor. It is up to me to ensure my co-workers stay on task and to help them whenever possible.”

Reflecting on the relationships and experiences that have shaped her, Vanessa says that she associates the word “community” with the word “home.” She adds, “Community is a place where you belong, where you are comfortable and able to express yourself freely.” Vanessa found that at Berry.

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