Helping studentsstay on schedule

Helen Berry’s day revolves around 100 or more daily planners: One planner for herself and another 99 for the schedules she works with.

Berry is an academic coordinator for graduate students — graduate students who teach, hold full-time jobs, have a family and, in their spare time, manage to attend a university. In other words, “office hours do not always end at five,” she said.

Berry works with two departments at WSU Tri-Cities: teaching and learning, and educational leadership and counseling psychology. She’s been with the university for almost 14 years.

The majority of her students are teachers, so most of them take one or two classes in the spring and fall, and then a heavier course load in the summer.

“But I’m busy 12 months out of the year,” she said.

The two problems graduate students encounter most are admission applications and deadlines.

“I try to work hard on behalf of the students,” she said. “If they have questions or concerns, I make sure to contact each and every department involved to get their problem straightened out.”

Berry works with current and prospective graduate students regarding the admissions process, program content and policies and procedures. She also helps students meet important deadlines such as: submitting a program of study, applying for a degree and scheduling final exam forms.

“I guess I serve as a contact person between the admissions department and the graduate school, but I’m also a contact person between students and the graduate school,” she said.

This interconnectivity of departments and students gives Berry a wide range of coworkers.

“I love what I’m doing,” she said. “I feel like I work well with all of WSU’s departments, which are filled with wonderful people — truly a great group of faculty and staff.”
Staff Spotlight is an occasional series about WSU staff.
If you have a suggestion of someone to be featured, please contact intern Jordy Byrd at

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