KENNESAW, Ga. | Mar 27, 2019
Honors student exemplifies scholarship and service
As a Kennesaw State University student, Alice Barry has excelled in the classroom, traveled abroad, been a leader for fellow students, given back to her community and earned recognition as one of the top students in the University Honors Program — and she feels that she still has much more to do.
Barry, a junior from Canton, Ga., majoring in nursing, attributes her unforgettable experience at KSU to being involved in the President’s Emerging Global Scholars (PEGS) program in the Honors College. Through coursework, community involvement and international trips, PEGS challenges its students to grow as scholars, leaders and innovators.
“I didn’t come to college with the mindset that I just want to get in and get out with a degree,” Barry said. “I want to expand my opportunities and do things that set me apart, and PEGS really develops young leaders. The people you meet and the experiences you have in PEGS change your life, and I don’t think you could get that from just passively going through college.”
For example, Barry and the rest of the second-year PEGS cohort took a two-week service trip last spring to Italy, where the students volunteered with a non-governmental organization (NGO) and delivered clothing donations they had collected prior to their trip. The Honors students also visited the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger, and served in Kim Onlus, an organization that provides medical care to children around the world who don’t have access to it in their home countries.
That was Barry’s second PEGS trip abroad, after having traveled to Costa Rica following her first year at Kennesaw State. She said the highlight of that trip was volunteering at an orphanage, tidying up the facility and – more importantly – interacting with children who typically don’t have any visitors.
“We didn’t speak Spanish at all, but the language wasn’t an issue because those children were so excited to see us and it was a great experience,” Barry said. “They gave us more than we gave them. It was eye-opening.”
Barry is just as committed to service projects closer to home. As part of a PEGS leadership course last fall, she and two other nursing students conducted weekly food drives for the KSU CARE Services food pantry. Barry has served on the PEGS board and as a peer leader for the program’s first-year cohort. She also helped develop an outdoor classroom for students at a Cobb County elementary school in a joint effort by PEGS and the Enactus team in the Coles College of Business.
“I really love helping people,” she said. “The different courses that we’ve taken in PEGS and the different leadership styles we’ve addressed have narrowed my focus on, how can I be a leader and what can I personally do to contribute to the society that I live in? How can I give back?”
“Alice is a model PEGS student,” said Tim Blumentritt, the director for Barry’s first two years in the program. “She is an excellent student, earning top grades and actively engaging in her classes. When there is an opportunity to engage in something interesting, or when the program has a need, Alice is there. She gives the program her full attention and follows through on every commitment.”
Even with all her involvement and leadership in the PEGS program, Barry never expected the recognition she received from the Honors College earlier this year. After all, the University Honors Program has no shortage of outstanding students.
Kennesaw State boasts an enrollment of 1,216 Honors students – 857 on the Kennesaw Campus and 359 in Marietta – this fall, a 96 percent increase from 620 just two years ago. That includes 460 first-year students who were accepted from the 520 Honors applications for fall 2018.
The median incoming grade point average of a University Honors Program student is 3.79. The average incoming GPA is even higher in the PEGS cohort, 3.94.
So, Barry was caught off-guard when she was named the first winner of the Outstanding PEGS Student award, given to a student who embodies academic excellence and a spirit of genuine service. The award is named for the late Ralph Rascati, whose three decades of contributions to Kennesaw State included being the founding dean of the Honors College and launching the PEGS program.
“We are thrilled that Alice Barry was chosen for the inaugural Dr. Ralph Rascati Outstanding PEGS Student award,” Honors College Dean Rita Bailey said. “She exemplifies the exceptional and honorable attributes that Dr. Rascati was known for – a heart for service to others, a desire to grow leadership skills, and an interest in learning about people and cultures from around the world.”
“It would not be the Honors College it is today without Dr. Rascati, so getting the award modeled after him means more than you know to me,” Barry said. “I take it to heart that people saw me as a representation of what he was in our community.”
Barry said that receiving the Outstanding PEGS Student award further motivates her to accomplish her goals, including continuing to be involved in campus and community service projects while completing her nursing degree. She aspires to be an emergency room and trauma nurse, and also to earn a master’s degree and become a nurse practitioner.
“I don’t need to think, ‘I got this award, great – now I don’t need to do anything else,’” Barry said. “No, I’m going to keep doing what I do in the community and at school. I’m going to try harder to fill the big shoes I’ve been put in.”
– Paul Floeckher
Photos by Lauren Kress
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.