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Student Stephens Co-authors ''Pictorial History'' of Berea

Berea College has a new published author in town, and her first book pays homage to the place she has learned to call home.

Patricia L. Stephens, a sophomore Biology Major at Berea College, published her first book this spring, becoming the next inductee into the heritage of Berea’s celebrated published student authors. The Book titled Images of America: Berea is a compilation of postcards and images taken from Berea's archived special collections that illustrates Berea's "pictorial history". The images include not only historic images of Berea College, but also of the town dating back to the earliest days of photography. Stephens worked on the project with Howard Carlberg, husband to Shirley Carlberg of Alumni Relations and his brother Marvin. Marvin, who lives in California, who initiated the project. "He had so many old postcards of Berea that he wanted to share them. So he called up Howard and asked if he knew of a writer. Then Howard called me and we all ended up in the college archives digging through old photos and papers for hours a day." According to Stephens the authors really had to "hit the ground running," in order to have the completed manuscript available by the deadline on September 16. They began the project in mid-June of 2008.

The book went on sale March 16. Stephens was kind enough to share her experience of attending her first book signings. “Most of the time it is kind of fun. It is nice to see people flip through the book and say 'I remember this. I remember when I used to do this, or this is where I used to do that.' It is an amazing thing to see that kind of light in their eyes. They are so excited to see these old photos that bring back memories.” Even though this project was not related to her major, Stephens admits that the research spent digging through the archives would be relevant to her field of study, even though the material for this project was not. "It just kind of opens my mind to new projects. At a lot of colleges it's just your major, your major, your major. Berea College, especially with all the general studies courses, kind of pushes you to broaden your horizons and to try different things outside of your major, which I think is really important in a good overall education."

Stephens was asked whether she planned upon continuing her writing after this project. She would like to do so, but said that she would like to work next time on more fiction and creative writing. "I want to write about something that is new and impossible". Stephens, who spent two years of her collegiate experience writing for the Department of Public Relations will have many opportunities to see her work published. Next year she hopes to work for the grounds department in order to get a broader range of hands on experience with landscaping and ecology. We can only applaud Stephens for the work that she has done to distinguish Berea as a place where the “new and impossible” can be taught, learned and achieved.

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