Katie Oppenheimer Berkey, Esq., AICP (’05) graduated from F&M with her B. A. in American Studies and a minor in Urban and Social Public Policy magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Katie also received the Fred and Nancy Sener Prize in American Studies. Katie took several American Studies courses with Dr. David Schuyler including “The American Landscape,” “From Wilderness to Environmentalism” and “The Urban Experience,” all of which helped to shape her interest in land use, historic preservation, environmental conservation, and urban planning.
After graduation, Katie began as a Zoning Manager with Network Building & Consulting LLC, a position she found through a friend and fellow American Studies graduate. Katie represented seven national and regional wireless providers in preparing land use cases for wireless telecommunications facilities across dozens of jurisdictions in the Baltimore/Washington area.
After several years work in wireless site development, Katie returned to school to earn a joint Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of City and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.) degree under a dual-degree program sponsored by the University of North Carolina School of Law and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Department of City and Regional Planning. She specialized in land use and environmental law and planning. While in law/graduate school, Katie was the Senior Associate Justice of the Student Supreme Court, and an Articles Editor for the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation. Between semesters, Katie also interned for the State of Connecticut’s Office of Responsible Growth assisting staff in many facets of implementing the Conservation and Development Policies Plan for Connecticut.
After completing her dual J.D./M.C.R.P. degree, Katie began as a licensed Florida attorney and certified land planner (AICP) with the Pavese Law Firm in Fort Myers. Her law practice focuses primarily on resolving the planning, zoning, real estate and environmental issues related to the development of land. In addition, Katie's article "A Comprehesive Solution to the Marine Biofouling Problem for the Endangered Florida Manatee and Other Species," recommending that the harmful effects of marine biofouling be comprehensively mitigated through improved marina design and boating practices under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act, was recently selected by Environmental Law as its lead article. Katie's other selected publications can be found here.
Of her experience in American Studies at F&M, Katie says, “The American Studies Department at F&M provided me with an amazing opportunity to study, not only American History in the traditional sense, but also explore my intellectual curiosities in art, economics, sociology, political science, gender studies, English, anthropology, and religious studies. It was the perfect major for someone who simply loves to learn. The interdisciplinary nature of the American Studies curriculum helped me to discover what I am truly passionate about – the evolution of land, its functions and the resulting environmental, societal and legal impacts. Majoring in American Studies has helped me in my career by not only improving my academic writing, steering me towards fields I have enjoyed, and assisting me in finding my first position after graduation, but also by providing me with the invaluable skills necessary to comprehensively analyze problems and their possible solutions.”
Associate Dean and House Prefect Kate Snider (’99) majored in American Studies at Franklin and Marshall. She took many classes with David Schuyler, who was, in her words, “an incredible mentor.” His “Urban Experience” was one of her favorite classes and he also was her advisor for her year-long independent studies/honors project. After graduation, Kate attended the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware. The program focuses on material culture -- items made or used in American from roughly 1640 to 1820. She wrote her master’s thesis on one silver designer, Charles Osborne, who worked at Tiffany & Co. and Whiting Manufacturing Company. Her thesis was published in the Winterthur Portfolio (University of Chicago Press). After completing her MA, she worked as the consulting curator for the Benjamin Franklin 300 exhibition which was funded by Pew Charitable Trust and was a collaborative effort between numerous Philadelphia-area museums. After that, she returned to Winterthur to catalogue Chinese export porcelain, was then hired to run the adult education classes and then became a leadership gifts officer in the Development Office at the museum. A job then opened up F&M to be the Director of Donor Relations. She then moved into her current prefect position. Of her return to F&M and her job as Weis House prefect, she says, “I was thrilled and haven't looked back.”