2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Outstanding Young Alumni
Caroline Gettis Huffaker (09C)
A volunteer position with the Sexual Assault Center of NWGA while a Berry student ignited a passion for advocacy that launched Caroline Gettis Huffaker’s career trajectory. Her professional contributions, particularly in the criminal justice and judicial systems, have benefitted victims and survivors in meaningfully pursuing justice and exercising their rights.
Since graduating in December 2009, she has worked in the non-profit setting for sexual assault and domestic violence programming, leading the formation of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) for Hamilton County, Tennessee and starting the first professional Victim Services Unit for the Chattanooga Police Department. The Chattanooga unit serves victims and survivors of all crime types and endeavors to walk them through the criminal justice and judicial systems with dignity, support and meaningful access to justice.
Huffaker currently works at the National Policing Institute, where she serves and supports law enforcement agencies through research, technical assistance and comprehensive programming to promote public safety outcomes that are equitable, fair and just for all communities. She has contributed to other local and national projects through consulting opportunities that have improved systems and communities for the better, including service as a member of the project team that assessed the sexual assault unit for the NYPD.
Describing Berry as “a second home for most of my life,” Huffaker grew up attending summer camp at WinShape before enrolling as a student. “The people, the campus and the Berry community have left an indelible mark on my life and have certainly contributed to the person I am today. The emphasis on service to others (hands), development of self (head) and living life in community (heart) are philosophical tenets that I return to each day in my personal and professional life. I count it a gift to have strong relationships with my friends on campus, and I always feel a sense of pride when talking about Berry or telling others what life is like on campus.”
Huffaker worked with Ashley Demonbreun-Chapman (10C), Berry College PD and the offices of residence life and student affairs on the BRAVE Project, a grant program funded by the Office of Violence Against Women designed to raise awareness about gender-based violence and promote healthy relationships among students and their peers. Huffaker adapted a comprehensive law enforcement curriculum used in another major city and adapted it for Berry College PD to reflect the laws of Georgia and incorporate elements that reflect Berry’s unique ecosystem.
She also lives out Berry’s motto of “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” through volunteer service as a member of the board of the Young Leaders Board at Partnership for Families, Children and Adults and the River City Youth Collective Advisory Board. RCYC supports teens transitioning out of the foster care system into independent living situations; she has contributed time and skills that helped develop programming, strategic planning and sustainability efforts for the organization. She also served as a planning and advisory board member for her local mental health court and participated on the advisory board for La Paz, a local organization that works to promote inclusion of LatinX and Hispanic neighbors in Chattanooga community life. She and her husband are active members of Mountain Fellowship, where she served the congregation as a member of the pastoral search committee.