Student Lauren Berry Leads Biology Fraternity
Updated: May 5
By: Alexander Winton
Lauren Berry, a student at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, is the president of the co-ed biology fraternity Beta Psi Omega. Berry's love of being involved on campus and her desire to make a difference led her to pursue a leadership role in the fraternity. "I knew I always wanted to be very involved on campus. I joined this biology fraternity during my freshman year, and once an exec position became available, I decided to run and since then I really liked being involved in the behind-the-scenes parts of the fraternity," she said.
As President of the fraternity, Berry has been able to develop skills that she believes will be useful in her future career. "It has definitely influenced my college career a lot. I have developed skills that I will use in my future career that I wouldn't have otherwise," she said. Some of these skills include public speaking, organizing events, time management, and communication. "Being able to balance schoolwork and planning events for the fraternity, running exec meetings has definitely helped me with that skill," she added.
Balancing her responsibilities as president of the fraternity with her academic and personal pursuits has been one of the biggest challenges for Berry. "That's definitely one of the tough parts of being so involved in a fraternity like this because sometimes I'll prioritize the fraternity over schoolwork just because it's a lot more enjoyable and rewarding at times then, let's say, a biochem class. But making sure your priorities are in the right order was something that was difficult to navigate and a big learning curve, making sure that school comes first. And at the end of the day, this is just a fraternity and it's just the club as important as it is, making sure that it comes behind schoolwork," she explained.
The goals and mission of Beta Psi Omega are centered around helping students help themselves. By joining the fraternity, students can get more involved on campus, be a part of a community of diverse students, connect with others in the field of biology, and network. "It's also a great way to make friends. I have made some of my best friends through this fraternity. It's a great social community, the right academic community, really helps with professional development through the events that we host and networking, of course," Berry said.
As President, Berry has faced challenges in planning chapter meetings that cater to the diverse group of students in the fraternity. "It's very hard to satisfy everyone because we do have such a diverse group. Trying to plan events that will benefit all members is near impossible. Not all events are going to cater to everyone. I try my best to really give a diverse variety of events. I get guest speakers from a bunch of different careers such as dentistry, doctors, research, optometrists, things like that," she explained.
Berry believes that her experience in the biology fraternity has prepared her for her future career goals, and she aspires to work in the field of dentistry. "I plan on going to dentistry school after college. It definitely gave me a lot of exposure to dentistry through some of the events we hosted," she said.
Finally, as a prominent woman on campus, Berry offers advice to other women looking to get involved in leadership roles or pursue their passions in male-dominated fields. "My advice would be to always strive to achieve your goals and don't let any fears or worries hold you back. All women are more than capable of leading, and it's really important to have women in leadership roles," she said.