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Summer 2017 Newsletter


A message from the departing faculty director In Spring 2015 I was asked to serve as the Faculty Director of the Wilson Scholars Program. I had just returned from sabbatical in New Zealand and was eager for a new challenge. The opportunity to help design and lead the premier scholarship program at Appalachian was too good to pass up, so I quickly accepted. It has been a memorable couple of years, and I’ve enjoyed many special moments with these young adults. One of my favorite moments was watching the six freshmen taking Salsa dancing lessons in Costa Rica as they blended in their own unique styles. That week in Costa Rica was filled with service projects and learning about sustainable development. Although the housing was a bit rustic and it rained every day, the students were energetic, positive, and engaged. I also recall watching with pride as Madeline Hamiter presented with poise and professionalism to the University Foundation Board of Directors. She had been on campus for less than a year, and we asked her to present to one of the most important groups on campus. I lost track of how many people complimented her, and they couldn’t believe she was a freshmen. The Wilson Scholars started calling me “Dad” last year, and I’m pretty sure it is a compliment. I’m still a bit confused when they say “that is such a Dad thing,” but I like it. Just recently, the students surprised me with a Sunday morning brunch and a shirt reading “App State Dad” that I’ll always cherish. When I started, there were only four Wilson Scholars who were finishing their freshman year. Now we have 20 Wilson Scholars in the program, and those four freshman will graduate next year. As the program has grown, so has the time commitment, and it has reached the point that I’m no longer able to adequately meet the obligations and still fulfill my other professional responsibilities. Fortunately, my good friend and colleague, Dr. Mike Mayfield, has agreed to serve as Faculty Director once I step down later this summer. Mike is the perfect fit. He has been involved with the program since its inception, and the students know him well. Mike will excel in the role. Mike will continue to be supported by the fantastic staff in University Scholarships. Leah Beth Hubbard and Leanna Brown are so helpful, and we all appreciate their positive attitude. The members of Wilson Scholars Selection Committee will also continue to do the heavy lifting and carefully evaluate several thousand applicants each year. The process of narrowing the pool from thousands to just six offers and selecting those we feel are most genuinely committed to servant leadership is exciting and quite stressful. Although at times, we initially disagreed, we always reached a consensus after thoughtful and honest deliberations. The professionalism and integrity of the committee members made the evaluation a thoroughly enjoyable process. I look forward to watching the students continue to mature and the program reach even higher goals under Dr. Mayfield’s leadership. Best, David Marlett


Welcoming the Wilson Scholars cohort of 2017 Jama Brookes Exercise Science Connelly Springs, NC “Resiliency is not about bending back into the person you once were; it is about bending forward into the person you are becoming.”

Evan Malinchock Sustainable Technology Chapel Hill, NC “I have decided to dedicate my life to helping preserve our planet, so that future generations can enjoy the wonders of nature, just as I have.”

Jabari Moore Biology Mint Hill, NC “I want to be someone that others can look up to. I want to be the student that strives to not only excel academically but to be an example to someone who did not have the opportunity that was provided to me.”

Joy Siler Theater Asheville, NC “All of my life I have loved stories. To this day there is nothing I enjoy more than losing myself in the ins and outs, laughter and tears, passions and fears of another person, real or fictional. Stories can change the world.”

Sydney Shadrick Special Education Lake Zurich, IL “Perhaps the most important aspect of my academic career is the ability to work with those who are as committed in their pursuits and who are as passionate about helping others as I am.”

Sydney Stoter Communicatioon Sciences and Disorders Califon, New Jersey “I believe that helping others is a citizen’s responsibility and I aim to carry out this duty each day as I pursue my career.”


Out of my comfort zone by: Javon Nathaniel My second semester at Appalachian State University has not been the easiest of experiences, however, it has certainly been the most rewarding. This semester, I’ve learned how to truly balance my academic and social life, two aspects of college that I feel are both equally important to the overarching journey. I made a resolution to become more involved with students on campus after adjusting to college during my first semester. This resolution led me to the Appalachian Student Ambassadors, an organization of driven students that assist multiple offices within the university in representing the student population and providing insight to prospective students. However, the program is more than just a professional organization that possesses an unparalleled mindset to serve. The Appalachian Student Ambassadors is a group of friends that connect with one another and help lift each other up with words of encouragement alongside actions that reflect their genuine nature. My goal this semester was to get out of my comfort zone and embrace a different group of people that I had never previously interacted with. In the midst of my academic career, I found myself looking for people to talk to that could relate to my experiences and who were similar to me. What I didn’t realize is that I needed people completely different from me in order to gain another perspective on my approach to life and my vision for the future. In college, I have learned to open myself up and let the flow of life “The future will be take me. Many people, especially college students, try to control controlled by how their lives too much and to dictate every detail perfectly. I’ve one chooses to live come to find that doing this only life today.” adds unnecessary stress and that it is more important to focus on the moments of the present. The future will be controlled by how one chooses to live life today, not by how they wish to live in the future. The way I have chosen to live my own life is to pour my all into my education, remembering that I have friends who want to see me succeed. I choose to acknowledge the smaller moments of life and leave the future as a question as I define its unknown nature with my actions today. I choose to measure my success by the people I’ve impacted, and not the riches I’ve obtained. Thankfully, I still have three more years of college to discover more important lessons that will carry me throughout my life.


Using my voice by: Emma Labovitz It is starting to hit me that I have only one year left at Appalachian. As I watch some of my best friends walk across the stage, heading on to what comes next, I feel overwhelmed with anxiety knowing that this will be me next year. One year from now, I am supposed to have it all figured out. Luckily, this last semester has provided a lot of clarity around what I want to do next. As per usual, I hit the ground running this past semester. The first week back on campus kicked off our membership process for the Appalachian Student Ambassadors. This year we took in 23 new members, the largest new member class in our organization’s history, and I am interested to see how this shifts the dynamic in our organization. I wonder how my role will grow within the group and how I will use my voice moving forward. This semester I lead an Alternative Service Experience (ASE) to Piùas, Ecuador. ASE is essentially a service program that provides students with an alternative to a typical break from school. These programs are carbon neutral and intentional so that through service, students are working with rather than for a community and practicing simple living. As I think back on this experience, I am so thankful for all I learned, both from the community we worked with and from my participants. I couldn’t imagine this being my last ASE, so I reapplied to lead another program over winter break next year. Fortunately, I was selected to lead a program to work with issues of food insecurity and homelessness in Southern Colorado. This is my first time going on a domestic ASE, so I am interested to see what it is like to work with a culture that, while different than my own, is still under the umbrella of America. Within my sorority, I created a multicultural liaison position to educate women in my chapter on various social justice issues throughout our community. I hope that this role will begin to bridge the gap between the privilege that comes from being in a sorority and the many issues of marginalized communities in our society. While accolades and accomplishments are a great marker of time as I reflect on this semester, what I am happiest about are the less notable experiences. It is the time spent with friends and growing in my relationships that has made this semester so incredible. I cannot help but be incredibly thankful for these relationships and cannot reflect on this semester without a sense of gratitude. As I head to DC this summer, I am apprehensive, but incredibly excited. I cannot wait to live in a new city on my own and experience what it is like to have that anonymity which inevitably comes with living in a city. Wish me luck!


Life Abroad by: Alia Dahlan

Alia explores Sydney and Christchurch with friends Not everyone has the opportunity to spend half a year away from normal life to travel halfway around the world. Studying abroad at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia has basically been a break from reality. This semester has been such an adventure! It feels surreal to wake up every day in the middle of the Aussie rainforest, or wherever I happen to be that weekend. I have seen places I have previously only seen in pictures in magazines. I cannot be more thankful for this experience, all of the people I have met here, and all of the people who have made it possible for me to study abroad this semester (the Wilson Scholars team, my parents, the international offices at ASU and SCU, etc.). Coming here, I had no idea what to expect. Looking back, I am so glad I took everything one day at a time and allowed myself to relax and go with the flow. When people say that Australian culture is relaxed, they mean it. I have become a different version of myself here, a more laid back and chill Alia. I never feel rushed or stressed, I get enough sleep, and have all the time in the world to travel and socialize, or just laze around. If I have learned anything this semester, it is the importance of having new experiences and just doing the things you want to do, even if that means other obligations need to be postponed. School is extremely different here. There is more self-guided learning. You really get out of it what you put in. I only took three classes and had class two days a week. There are only three or four assignments for each class for the whole session, but the grading is more strict. Most of my lectures were online, and I had to do reading outside of class, but it was not nearly as time-consuming as school in the US. All of this free time has allowed me to explore the surrounding areas of Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Lennox Head, Ballina, Springbrook National Park, Minyon Falls, Brunswick Heads, and the town of Lismore. I also had the opportunity to spend eleven days in New Zealand for study break, and visit Brisbane (my birth city), Sydney, and Melbourne. At the end of the trip my mom and I are going to Bali and her home town of Yogyakarta, Indonesia to celebrate the end of Ramadan. I decided to come to Australia to explore the country I was born in. Not only have I done that, but I have made friends (mostly other international students from North America) and have been exposed to different places and ways of life. I will miss it so much here in Australia, but I have to get back to all of the things I have left behind in Boone. I am excited to be taking summer classes while living with Sope, getting back to the Wilson Scholars, Walker Fellows, Appalachian Honors Association, Color Guard, Pi Sigma Epsilon, and many other activities. Sope, Sam, Madeline, and I will have a lot of catching up to do in the fall. I cannot wait to use all of the knowledge and experience I have gained in the Land Down Under back at Appalachian and in my future career.


About the Wilson Scholar Program The Wilson Scholars Program embodies and exemplifies the Appalachian spirit: a rich blend of academic excellence, leadership, and service. This scholarship program attracts the best of the best, instills in them a commitment to change the world, and provides the resources and support for students to think creatively, strategically, and collaboratively. Wilson Scholars receive a personalized educational experience in and outside the classroom, designed in partnership with their faculty director. Scholars learn to incorporate their passions into their lives and career goals as they participate in specially designed seminars, engage in international experiences, and design capstone projects. Wilson Scholars explore a life-long love of learning and act with passion and determination to create a sustainable future for all. The Wilson Scholars Program was established in 2013 and was only made possible through the support of Brad and Carole Wilson, both graduates of Appalachian State University. The program has grown to 20 students who have the heart, drive, and now the resources to impact world in significant and meaningful ways.

“Making a difference is the only thing that matters.� -Carole Wilson ‘75


Expanding the Appalachian Community Sam

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“I realized that while intentions have some validity, the goodwill of intentions does not mitigate the impact it has. But these intentions do provide a basis for beginning the process of helping. Intentions propel participants forward to create positive change, and with the proper education and right intentions it is possible to work with a community and create a positive impact.”

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“There’s never a dull weekend in Paris! I’ve been to the Louvre at least ten times now, and each time is as great as the first one. The Louvre is my favorite museum to visit because I always love seeing the highly-detailed works there. The sheer mass of the collections is astounding, and it seems like no matter how much time I spend there, it’s never enough.”

“I wish more people would realize how privileged we are, especially as students studying abroad in a different country. Don’t get me wrong: I still complain about many things every day, but in the end I know how fortunate I am to be safe, financially secure, and cared for.”

To learn more about what the Wilson Scholars are doing across the world

To learn more about what the Wilson Scholars are doing across the world and here homevisit, visit, and here atat home wilsonscholars.appstate.edu/news wilsonscholars.appstate.edu/news

Profile for Appalachian State University

Wilson Scholars Newsletter - Summer 2017  

Wilson Scholars Newsletter - Summer 2017