Barry takes road less traveled

When Yaya Barry graduates on Saturday, May 7, 2016, it will be the realization of his dream and the culmination of a long journey for him and his family who moved from Guinea to the United States in 2004. When they arrived in Philadelphia, Barry did not know any English. In just 12 years, he was able to not only learn the language, but to earn a B.S. in Accounting and a full-time internship at Ernst & Young as an auditor.

?Before coming to Berks, I was working at a restaurant and there I was being trained as a supervisor. As part of that position, I was responsible for taking care of the financial records. That?s when I realized that when I went to college, I wanted to either major in accounting or finance,? explains Barry.

Although he originally planned to continue his studies at Penn State University Park campus, he soon found the faculty and staff to be so supportive at Berks that he decided to stay for all four years. He was also involved in many campus activities.

?I am glad I came to Berks and even when the opportunity to go Penn State Smeal College of Business arose, I decided against going because of the things I achieved at Berks, all the mentors? help I received, and all the friend I made,? states Barry. ?I love Berks. I think it?s the best place to be.?

During his time at the college, Barry was a member of the Student Accounting Association, past financial manager for the Student Government Association, a peer mentor, and an orientation leader. He was also president of Chi Alpha Epsilon, a national honor society and he made the college?s Dean?s List every semester. In addition, he held several jobs on campus, working in the Information Technology Department as a classroom technician, in Police Services, and in the Learning Center.

Through the Accounting major, he had an opportunity to complete an internship at Customers Bank in their auditing department in 2016.

When asked how his time at the college has prepared him for the future, he commented, ?When I first came to Berks, I was a lousy writer and public speaker. I came a long way due to the leadership positions I held and the opportunities to work on group projects.?

?With Penn State Berks, you have mentors who are very supportive; it?s not like that at every college. If you apply yourself, people are willing to help you.?

Where does the road lead next for Barry? He plans to earn his CPA and eventually earn a master?s degree in Finance.