We are thrilled to highlight one of five distinguished alumni who were inducted into the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame in 2023. The Hall of Fame honors alumni who have achieved outstanding personal or professional accomplishments or made distinguished and lasting contributions to their field or to society in general.
Meredith Berger’s enthusiasm for the art of storytelling and effective communication was apparent in her immersive work in student media at Vanderbilt. While majoring in American Studies and Spanish, Berger held various positions at The Hustler: reporter, assistant news editor, arts editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief. She also served as a radio co-host on WRVU.
She remembers fondly the camaraderie of working with The Hustler staff, even when the hours were long.
“We spent so much time in the basement of Sarratt, chasing information and sources, making sure the content and copy edits were just right, squeezing in all our time before, between, and after class to make sure we produced a quality product,” Berger said.
After graduating from Vanderbilt in 2004, she went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and law degree from Nova Southeastern University. She is a member in good standing of the Florida Bar.
Berger currently serves as assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment. She was appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the job in July 2021. She is also the chief sustainability officer for the Department of the Navy. She is responsible for providing oversight and policy for Navy and Marine Corps energy, climate resilience, critical infrastructure, and facilities and their sustainment, restoration, and modernization, and environmental stewardship, among other duties.
She has held a variety of policy and senior leadership positions in both federal and state government and the private sector. Berger was a senior manager for the Defending Democracy Project at Microsoft Corp., and she was a fellow with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Berger served as deputy chief of staff to the secretary of the Navy and as a Department of Defense Fellow. Prior to her work with the Navy, she held policy positions with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of the State of Florida Chief Financial Officer.
She said of the diversity of her professional experience, “Looking forward, I would never have expected the incredible experiences that I have had the opportunity to pursue. Looking back, it all makes sense and lines up so well.”
Berger said her college media experience at Vanderbilt furthered her appreciation for the value of “a good story told well.”
“I make sure I am always prioritizing good, clear, timely communication.”