GSU student Leah Hendry is leading through service

Global volunteerism promotes business skills


Leah Hendry grew up in New York and Alabama, but the international business student is most comfortable as a citizen of the world. Now in the third year of a five-year joint degree program from the College of Arts and Sciences and the J. Mack Robinson College of Business (RCB), Hendry is building an impressive global resume while she earns her bachelor’s degree in French and master’s degree in international business (M.I.B.). Hendry is also an Honors College student.

Leah HendryThis summer, Hendry (right) spent six weeks working with orphans and physically challenged children, teaching English and educating the Sfax, Tunisia, community on health care and the environment. This internship was her first trip to Africa, but it will not be her last. This opportunity, like Hendry’s earlier forays into Central and Western Europe, were made possible through private giving to Georgia State University. Hendry is recipient of the Mary Kathleen Berry Scholarship Endowment. She also has received the Campus Atlanta and the Second Century scholarships from the Honors College.

The Berry Scholarship honors Kathy Berry (B.A. Journalism ’72, M.B.A. '86), a GSU Foundation Board member and 2011 recipient of GSU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award. Like Hendry, Berry held multiple jobs and served as a volunteer student leader while completing her undergraduate education. She worked with the Georgia Press Association for 20 years, 15 of those as executive director.

These scholarships allow Hendry to make the most of her GSU experience. Her parents are helping with her education, but to cover rent, out-of-state tuition and other expenses, Hendry has worked — first as a student assistant and now as a graduate research assistant in RCB. “I’ve been able to concentrate on my studies and participate in study abroad opportunities because of the Berry Scholarship,” she says. Not having to work during summer breaks, “I’ve been able to pursue internships and travel, which has been awesome.” At this point, she has no student loans, which is good because she plans another, longer international internship after graduation.

Despite childhood trips to her father’s home in New Zealand (where her family has now migrated), Hendry was not smitten by the travel bug until high school, after joining a People to People exchange program through Central Europe. She originally planned to become a pharmacist, but “it was a life changing trip,” she remembers. Afterward, “I knew I was going into international business.”

Drawn to Atlanta’s diversity and business environment, Hendry connected with the Georgia State chapter of AIESEC. The organization with chapters in 110 countries and more than 100,000 members, inspires students to “change the world” by focusing on leadership skills and global citizenry. Now finishing her year as chapter president, she is looking forward to exploring additional campus activities next semester.  

Her goal is a career with a nongovernmental organization or corporate philanthropy. “I’ve got my eye on the Coca-Cola Foundation,” she says. “Maybe I can volunteer to work on an international project.”

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