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GET TO KNOW, RACHEL! | A 2015 JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY SENIOR

Rachel-JMU-114_WEBMeet Rachel Berry! No, not the character from Glee… (even though she DOES have a beautiful voice)! I’ve known Rachel since she was born! No, she’s not my sister, she’s my cousin! She’s a 22 year old about to graduate in just a few more days! I cannot believe it. It seems like yesterday we were swimming at Lake Anna where our grandparents live or listening to her serenade us with her talented voice at family reunions with songs from her favorite musicals. Let’s not forget when she became obsessed with horseback riding and always wanted to play “ponies” instead of “house”. She’s got a big heart and it shows! She’s been studying and working hard these past few years and will be coming back to JMU in the Fall to get her Masters in Education! How awesome is that!?

CONGRATS, RAY!James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld PhotographyJames_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

She’s a gal of many talents! I mean, just look at this incredible cap that she painted!!

James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

James_Madison_University_Lilly_Inspired_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography I had so much fun walking around the JMU campus with Rachel and listening to her talk about why she loves JMU, where she has classes, and explaining to me the “JMU Bucket List” of senior traditions like stealing a brick from the pathways on campus. I thought there just happened to be a lot of “pot holes”… but as we started walking around the quad, I kept seeing patterns of missing bricks and I just started laughing… two in a row missing here… five missing there…

James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld PhotographyJames_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography Just like my other “get to know…” blog posts, I asked Rachel some questions! Each time I send these questions I always love getting them back and reading the thoughts of the people I photograph! I think the questions bring more life to the photographs because you get to “hear” about who they are and not just stare at their face, haha:)

Perfect throw!
Rachel-JMU-33_WEBRachel-JMU-27_WEB

Basics

Rachel Berry, 22 years old from South Riding, Virginia.

Nicknames: Raybear, Ray Ray, Berry

Major: Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Minor: Elementary Education

Organizations: JMU Greek Intervarsity, Delta Gamma, Kappa Delta Pi: Education Honors FraternityJames_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

Why did you choose to attend JMU?:

There’s something really special about the way our campus feels. I knew as soon as I stepped on campus at JMU that it was the place for me! I loved the community and the friendly atmosphere. JMU students have a really special bond with each other and I could feel that even before I was a student.James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld PhotographyJames_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld PhotographyRachel-JMU-57_WEB

Describe one of your favorite JMU memories.

My favorite JMU memory is probably the first football game I ever went to. It was so much fun getting dressed up and going to the game with my friends! I also really like the streamer throwing tradition at games. Whenever we get a touchdown the whole student section grabs streamers and throws them in the air! It’s like it’s raining purple and gold!James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld PhotographyOf course things got a little goofy!:)Rachel-JMU-67_WEB

Do you have a favorite class?:

My favorite class ever was a class that I took about Classroom Management this past fall. It was so interesting talking about how to decode the behavior of students to figure out the best way to help them cope in the classroom. It was like a puzzle that we had to figure out for every student!Rachel-JMU-73_WEBJames_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld PhotographyJames_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

What do you love about the sisterhood of Delta Gamma?: 

Being a Delta Gamma has been really special to me. I love how committed we are to “doing good” in the world. My sisters are just wonderfully, genuine women. I’m going to miss being a collegian but the Alumni groups of Delta Gamma are so great and numerous that I’m almost even more excited to get out into the world and meet other sisters!James_Madison_University_Senior_Delta_Gamma_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

What is your dream job?

I have a lot of different things I’d like to do, but I’m starting to become more interested in Therapeutic Horseback Riding. I’d really like to get my instructor certification so that I could open up a Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center!James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld PhotographyJames_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

The Fun Stuff

Name 5 things you couldn’t live without.

Ice Cream, Chocolate, Pinterest, Mascara, and my FamilyRachel-JMU-124_WEB

What kind of music do you like/Best concert you’ve ever been to?:

I really love country music! Some of my favorite concerts I’ve been to have been Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, and Miranda Lambert! Everyone is always dancing and having a good time so it’s like a giant party!James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

Do you have any plans for the summer?:

I’ll be in Harrisonburg doing a summer semester for graduate school and taking a few trips here and there!Rachel-JMU-122_WEB

James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

People might be surprised to know that…? 

I’d rather clean a horse stall than clean my room!James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

What are you looking forward to the most in the upcoming year?:

I’m really looking forward to my student teaching session in the Fall. I’m so excited to get some intense classroom experience and have the chance to take control of a classroom! I’m so excited to meet my new students!Rachel-JMU-103_WEBRachel-JMU-93_WEB

Final Words

Advice for incoming freshman or rising seniors?:

I would just say be yourself. In college you can be anything you want to be, you can act however you want, you can say what you want. But I think the people who stay true to themselves and what they believe in are the best kind of people and the people I’d like to be friends with. Do what you want in college and in life, but don’t let the things you do and the people you meet change the person you want to be.Rachel-JMU-140_WEB

What do you think you’ll miss most about JMU?:

I think I’ll really miss the atmosphere. There’s a definite feeling of acceptance and love here and I don’t think I’ve found that anywhere else.James_Madison_University_Senior_Photographer_Brett Denfeld Photography

What can you do today that you didn’t think you could do a year ago?

I’m definitely a stronger person than I was a year ago. This past year has taught me a lot about being myself and making choices that are going to be the best for me. I’ve always been a people pleaser, but I think this year has taught me how to please myself. I feel very confident and blessed!Rachel-JMU-14_WEB

Anything else you wanna say?

Have courage and be kind.Rachel-JMU-137_WEB

Congratulations, Rachel!

xoxo, Brett

  • Aunt Christie

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!!

    You captured my girl!!!

    Thanks

    XOXOXOXReplyCancel

  • Lundi Denfeld

    stop makin me cry with your photos that speak. these are wonderful! I love the last one in the fountain! I love the ones from behind…I love the one throwing the cap in the air…I love the ones with her gown open and her big smile…I love the cowboy boots and the cap…I love the purple tulips and the statue…I love her twirling ones in the white dress. Ok, so I am pretty much saying I love them alllllll!!! Great job capturing Ray’s spirit!!!!ReplyCancel

  • […] time sure does FLY! Just a few months ago I took her sister, Rachel’s college senior photos! (Remember Rachel’s shoot at JMU?) I can’t believe we’re all this old now!!! It’s been so fun to watch Katie grow […]ReplyCancel

  • […] dog, Bonnie, hopped in for a few!Best friends!Next up at JMU is Kelly!Last at JMU, my cousin, Rachel! (You’ll see her sister Katie in a little bit!)So, how cute is Rachel’s […]ReplyCancel

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