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Emily Berman

Emily Berman

Director, product management/innovation | Medline Industries | Class of 2011

Emily Berman was far from the first UI freshman to feel a bit overwhelmed by all that comes with the transition to college.

So when it happened in the fall of 2007, the Grainger College of Engineering — namely, then-Assistant Dean Bruce Elliott-Litchfield — knew how to cure it.

Berman, now the Chicagoland-based director of product management and innovation at Medline Industries, explains:

“I had a tough first semester — it was an adjustment period for me and I didn’t cope very well with the changes of being away from home and being immersed in a totally new social culture. At the time, the engineering school had an optional program for students like me that had struggled their first semester — a one-semester course that taught coping skills and study skills and exposed us to successful professionals who had less-than-perfect academic histories.

“That program, which Assistant Dean Litchfield ran, changed my trajectory and motivated me to reinvest myself in the engineering coursework. It also gave me the confidence to understand that the failure of that one semester didn’t have to define my entire adulthood. Prior to that, it genuinely had felt like the world was ending.

“It is not overstating to say I am eternally grateful to everyone involved in that program — there is no way I’d be where I am today without the resilience it taught me.”