Andrea Berry Establishes Garfield and Phyllis Jenkins STEM+ Outreach Fund And Berry Family Scholarship Fund
“Both of my parents were into science and technology,” said alumna Andrea Berry (CS ’84). “It’s in my blood. And I know if both of them were here, they’d want to do this.”
Berry has created the $25,000 Garfield and Phyllis Jenkins STEM+ Outreach Fund for pre-collegiate, K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and other (STEM+) initiatives. These are educational activities that increase access, awareness and preparedness in STEM+ fields, particularly for students from low- and middle-income areas, minorities, and young women.
She also has established the $25,000 Berry Family Scholarship Fund, which provides an undergraduate scholarship with a preference for computer science, Berry’s major (her minor was electrical engineering). Students planning to major in applied mathematics, electrical engineering, math and science education, or humanities or social sciences also may be eligible.
Berry’s father, Garfield Jenkins, was a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, who had been a member of the renowned Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military airmen.
“In the middle of his career at Argonne, he was asked to be in charge of affirmative action,” Berry said. “That’s how he came to know Nate Thomas.” Thomas recruited hundreds of African-American and Hispanic students to IIT between 1973 and 1986 as head of the Early Identification Program.
Phyllis Jenkins was a radiobiologist. She stopped when she was pregnant with Andrea, but went on to be a science teacher, teaching biology, chemistry, and physics, Berry added.
The couple, who had met at the University of Illinois, lived in an apartment on IIT’s campus in the 1950s and took classes at IIT. Phyllis also took physics — with now-Professor Emeritus Earl Zwicker — as part of a teacher certification program in the 1980s, when Berry was earning her degree. “So I had physics class in the morning, and she had it at night!” Berry said.
The Garfield and Phyllis Jenkins STEM+ Outreach Fund is part of an overall IIT strategic initiative to diversify the pool of candidates applying to the university and one of the lead gifts in the new K-12 STEM+ Pre-Collegiate Program and Youth Leadership Program to introduce, encourage, and advance young people from elementary school through high school in STEM+ fields. During summer 2011, led by the Garfield and Phyllis Jenkins STEM+ Fund, the program underwrote the computer science camp for middle-school girls held by the computer science department (see separate story) and other programs.
“That can be an excellent opportunity for the girls, something that can be life-changing,” Berry said of the camp, which may be expanded to Saturdays.
Berry is a member of the IIT Board of Trustees. She also was recently named to the CSL Board of Overseers and the computer science department advisory board and helped to formalize the IIT African-American Alumni Association. She won an IIT Alumni Award for Professional Achievement in 2010 and delivered the IIT commencement address that spring.
Berry has served as senior vice president of Broadcast Operations, Fox Network Engineering and Operations, since January 2004. She is responsible for all FOX broadcast operations and transmission that support the Fox network and its cable entities. At Fox and at CBS, where she worked before joining Fox in 1996, she has won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Technical Team Remotes for coverage of the World Series, figure skating at the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, and for NASCAR.
Berry lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, Executive Producer/Director D. Channsin Berry, and sons Brandon and Aaron.