Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Finding purpose at New Hope Hospice:

Public relations alumna steps into health care field
Amy Berry describes benefits of studying public relations at Huntington University, a Christian college.

“I truly believe that everything I have to do at my job now, I had to do at one point in college.”

When Amy Berry graduated from Huntington University in 2007, she had no idea where her bachelor’s degree in public relations would take her. Just a year after earning her degree, she ended up back in her hometown of Marion, Ind., with a position in marketing and community relations at New Hope Hospice.

The position involves the marketing of New Hope Hospice’s services to nursing homes, doctors’ offices and hospitals in Marion, Muncie, Peru, Huntington and Fort Wayne. She is also in charge of all the media advertising, including radio, newspaper, magazine and phonebook ads. She says one of the most enjoyable parts of her job is preparing for luncheons and fundraisers, including networking within area communities.

“The biggest challenge of my job at the beginning was getting used to the hospice field,” Amy said. “Death is not something anyone wants to deal with, but it’s something that affects everyone.”

But Amy came to embrace what New Hope Hospice is all about and has found joy in her work.

“Hospice is the most underutilized Medicare benefit, and it’s the most satisfying benefit,” she said. “Once you see how your team works and what a benefit our services are, not only to the patient, but also to the family, your outlook changes.”

Her degree in public relations required Amy to take a variety of communication and business classes, each one preparing her for her position in a different way.

“I truly believe that everything I have to do at my job now, I had to do at one point in college,” Amy said. “For example, I had to create a marketing plan in college for a local business. I am now creating my own marketing plan consisting of radio ads, television commercials, newspaper ads, marketing goodies and brochures.”

Amy points to her professors as one of the greatest assets of her time at HU. She cites the example of Dr. Kevin Miller, associate professor of communication, as having a profound impact on her.

“Every time we had to write an article or paper, Dr. Miller was always willing to go over it with me,” Amy said. “He let me know what worked and what didn’t. Even if the paper wasn’t for his class, he would still offer ideas.”

Besides coursework, Amy learned about public relations through practical experiences such as practicums and her internship with College Mentors for Kids in Indianapolis. As part of her internship, Amy helped plan the organization’s fall retreat, obtained free tickets for their first alumni event, created and retooled more than 120 activity plans for children and updated the website. The university’s Enterprise Resource Center connected Amy with College Mentors for Kids.

“If you are serious about public relations, I would make sure that you do some internships because it’s challenging to find jobs in PR with no experience,” Amy said.

During her tenure at Huntington, Amy was one of the standouts of the women’s basketball team, having been named Forester Athlete of the Week 10 times, selected as a Mid-Central College Conference First Team member twice and was an NAIA Third Team All-America selection. She says the experience taught her how best to manage her time, how to work hard and how to communicate with others, all vital skills that she uses daily at New Hope Hospice.

Marketing New Hope Hospice’s services came rather easily to Amy as she was the marketer for HU’s Fuse 105.5 FM. As the marketer, she collected more than $1,000 worth of prizes and money for giveaways from local businesses. This experience gave Amy a foundation in sales and marketing.

But one of the most life-changing experiences for Amy was the impact HU had on her spiritual growth.

“I grew spiritually in college and would say thanks to my college experience, my faith is still at a level way above what it probably would have been if I had gone to a state college,” Amy said.

Seeing her faith revealed in her career is something that Amy looks forward to daily. The people she interacts with at nursing homes and hospitals inspire her faith, and that is one of the most rewarding parts of her job.

Berry recalled her first day on the job when she was touring the facility with one of the chaplains. They met up with a lady and stopped to talk with her. Amy listened to the woman’s life story and says she will never forget the final words the woman said to her that day: “God has put me through all this so I can share my story with others to bring them joy.”
“I knew then and there God had put me there,” said Amy. “It was amazing, and she showed me exactly how I want my faith to be shown every day.”

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