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Jenifer L. Berry named inaugural director of first-generation, low/limited-income student support

By Office of the Vice President for Student Success

January 08, 2024

Jenifer L. “Jen” Berry, a scholar-practitioner and leader in advising and empowering students, will join the Office of the Vice President for Student Success as the inaugural director of first-generation, low/limited-income student support on Jan. 16.

Jen Berry headshot In this new role, Berry will lead the creation and development of comprehensive strategic initiatives to address the needs of first-generation, low/limited-income students at Indiana University. Berry will also provide vision, leadership and direction for university-wide efforts to increase retention and completion rates and strengthen academic support services and partnerships for first-generation, low/limited-income students.

“When our team began our search for this important role, we had a strong showing in our pool,” said Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, vice president for student success. “From the beginning, Jen showed the committee and then our full team their strength as a professional, and I know that our FGLLI students will benefit greatly from Jen’s experience, knowledge and compassion for their well-being and success.”

Hailing from Washington, D.C., Berry earned their Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from American University as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar. Both programs prepare undergraduate students for graduate school through involvement in research, scholarly activities and leadership. Berry is also an alum of Indiana University Bloomington, earning a Master of Arts in sociology, and is pursuing a Doctor of Education in higher education and student affairs.

Berry comes to the Office of the Vice President for Student Success from the 21st Century Scholars Program on the IU Bloomington campus, where they have worked for the past 10 years; they most recently served the program as the assistant director and lead academic advisor. In this role, they intentionally built a suitable and sustainable academic advising program directly serving about 300 first-year scholars annually and supporting 2,300 continuing scholars, meeting the needs of first-generation and lower- or limited-income students.

“I am excited to kick off this role by highlighting the great work folks are already doing to assist first-generation, low- and/or limited-income students and begin to work with campuses to enhance the support, experiences and successes of our FGLLI students,” Berry said.