Living on the other side of the world, Carla Berry (’78) hasn’t lost touch with her True Blue heritage. The resident of North Queensland, Australia offers a simple explanation. “I guess it’s hard to get the ‘Statesboro blues’ out of your system!” she said.
The Atlanta, Ga., native hails from a family of Georgia Southern graduates including her brother Chuck (’76) and sister-in-law Mary (’76). Berry’s niece Rose, is a current student. As an undergraduate, Berry majored in printing management, and was the first female graphics art lab assistant on campus. Based on her academic experience, she completed two summer internships, working with the Government Printing Office’s regional printing procurement office in Dallas, Tex., and another with Eastman Kodak as a technical sales representative. Berry graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in technology, and landed in Australia in 1987, when she moved to her former husband’s home country.
“Fifteen years later I became an Australian citizen on Australia Day (January 26), but I still hold American citizenship as well, so I call myself an ‘Ausmerican,’ ” she said.
While living there, Berry has worked for the Yellow Pages Australia and even owned a business that developed environmental screening systems which separate solids from liquids. Her colorful career also consists of a year-long experience as caretaker of a 3400-acre grazing property in New South Wales, and she even escaped the corporate world to take a nine-month long sailing sabbatical after building her own sailboat.
Although Berry’s corporate career has been full of challenges, in recent years, she has experienced several changes in her personal life as well. The Ausmerican was diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that is defined by the body’s inability to absorb nutrients. While others might have been daunted by such a diagnosis, Berry instead viewed this medical challenge as a way to help others. Based upon her own experiences, she has become an area contact for the Australian Coeliac Society, leading support groups and generally raising awareness of the disease in her country. Berry has quietly become another great example of a Georgia Southern alumna transforming a challenge into a simple act of goodwill around the globe.