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Berry gains experience, knowledge during internship at UNC-Chapel Hill
By Lesley Covington
Erin-L’nai Berry had the opportunity to experience graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill before she has even graduated from UNCP in mass communications.
One was the summer pre-graduate research experience, and the other was the more undergraduate research apprenticeship.
The second program is smaller and focuses on students in humanities, Berry said.
Berry discovered these programs at one of UNCP’s graduate school fairs, she said.
“I was so eager to be apart of these programs because they would allow me the opportunity to try graduate school out and see if I really liked it,” Berry said.
Students were selected on minority status and their interest in pursuing higher education.
“All students in the programs were chosen because they had shown an interest in getting their Ph.D.s,” Berry said.
Berry’s research during her stay on the campus focused on music and how it affects African-American women.
“I thought it would be great to research the effects of hip-hop on African-American women,” she said.
Berry felt pressure to prove herself at Chapel Hill.
“A lot of people believe that a mass communications major in general is a ‘cake walk,’ and that we have it easy because we are hands on,” Berry said.
“But actually we work just as hard as anyone else,” Berry said.
“Not only do we have the technical background for the equipment that we use, but we have to know why we use it, as well, and why it’s important. I hope that I broke that stigma.”
Berry was required to write a 32-page research paper and give a 30-minute presentation before an audience of about 35 people, including members of her own family.
“All the practice in the world can’t help you if you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Berry said.
She kept the audience laughing during her presentation and received a standing ovation at the end.