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CBS People: Will O'Berry

This advisor and advocate is helping CBS undergrads navigate and transform their college experience.

What do you do here?Will O'Berry
I'm an Academic Advisor in CBS Student Services.

How long have you been at the U?
I started working in CBS Student Services and at the U of M in January 2013. Thus, I've been here for just a bit over two years.

Describe something interesting or unusual about your work here.
I have been interested in issues of equity and diversity for most of my adult life. Thankfully, higher education tends to be an environment that is supportive of these initiatives (though it, like any institution, still has "work to do"). In CBS Student Services, I employ these interests in unique ways. I serve on our Intercultural Competence Committee, where we focus on facilitating equity and diversity initiatives for the unit. For example, this month, Student Services staff is watching and briefly discussing the PBS documentary, Race: The Power of an Illusion, one which focuses on the history of race and racism in the United States.

Additionally, as part of my professional development, I serve as a Violence Prevention Educator (VPE) with the University's Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education. This past fall, some of the VPEs, including myself, presented on the topics of masculinity, gender violence, and bystander intervention to new members of many of the campus's fraternities.

Lastly, I am one of the College's Qualified Administrators for the Intercultural Development Inventory. In this role, I educate CBS students in a one-on-one environment on intercultural competence and communication.

You've worked at several colleges and universities. What drew you to higher ed?
I completed my initial undergraduate work at Indiana University, where I studied music. I soon realized, however, that music was not something I wanted "to do" as a career. I was highly involved on my campus as a student leader and was very fortunate to have several mentors who encouraged me to explore the profession of college student development. I've been hooked ever since. I love helping, mentoring, and advising students, largely because as a first-generation college student, I know how transformative a college education can be. Hopefully, this fall, I will begin a Ph.D. in the University's higher education policy program!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel as many of my close friendsFrisco the dog and family in other parts of the country. I also enjoy simply hanging out at home, reading or watching something on Netflix, with my partner, Brian, and our dog, Frisco.