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Spring 2017

A message from the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Thank you so much for your interest in becoming a Wilson Scholar at Appalachian State University. As Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, I have had the honor of working closely with the Wilson Scholars Program from the very beginning of its existence and I can tell you that it is one of the best experiences that I have had over the last 35 years working in higher education. When they first conceived of the Program, Brad and Carole Wilson had in mind the transformative experiences that they had as students here at ASU and in Boone. You have probably heard already about the Appalachian family and how friendships and scholarly partnerships developed at ASU have a way of enduring across many years and many miles and I can attest to that as well. I have been visiting this campus since I was in pre-school and have worked here for nearly thirty years. Despite having worked at four other universities and spent time on many other campuses, I have never been to a campus with the same sense of purpose and dedication to a shared journey of inquiry as we find here at ASU. The Wilson Scholars Program seeks to attract young scholars who are determined to make a difference in the world through service and leadership. Our first three classes of Wilson Scholars clearly demonstrate those values, as they are campus leaders in student organizations, local non-profits, and volunteer organizations. They are all excelling in the classroom and beyond. They are traveling the world together (Paris and Costa Rica) and individually (India, France, Somalia, Bolivia, Australia, Germany, Costa Rica, and more). I know without a doubt that they will be leaders wherever they go and whatever they do when they graduate and go on to graduate school and careers. Sincerely,

Dr. Michael W. Mayfield Professor of Geography Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Dr. Michael Mayfield

Unwavering passions

by: Sarah Aldridge

This semester I had the opportunity to spend 15 weeks in Washington, D.C. working two part-time internships: one with the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) in the education office for the ranking member and the other with a national nonprofit, the Sustained Dialogue Institute. I also took two online classes through Appalachian, an independent study in the Politics of Education Policy and a master’s class through the department of Curriculum and Instruction on Advanced Topics in Diversity. I lived in the heart of Washington, D.C., just a block away from the Senate Hart Office building and two blocks from the Supreme Court building enabling me to build relationships and connect with change makers and new friends from all across the globe. This was the first time that I was really able to fully engage in my future career goals of education policy, and it was completely eye-opening and life-changing in so many ways. With the Senate HELP Committee, I participated in research projects and worked to analyze recent legislation and regulations in education policy. I also had the opportunity to shadow my mentor, an Appalachian alumna, served as the Education Policy Director to meetings, as well as several briefings for new reports and various legislative actions. One of the highlights of this semester was attending a “constituent coffee” with Senator Murray (WA), who is a ranking member of the HELP committee. It was so inspiring to be able to meet, have a small conversation, and hear more about how she became involved with federal politics 24 years ago. With the Sustained Dialogue Institute, I primarily worked closely with the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network staff in assisting with tasks to expand the reach of their programming and to create new handSarah visits the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. outs and information for workshops and trainings. I also was largely responsible for a lot of event planning that went into the Host Committee Luncheon as well as the National Dialogue Awards honoring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (which also meant I got to see her speak, which was incredible). Through my work with Sustained Dialogue, I was able to not only learn a lot about the inner workings of nonprofits and the different skill sets required to work in that field, but I also had the opportunity to practice and enhance my communication and leadership skills with dialogue. All in all, my semester in Washington, D.C. was life-changing in so many ways. I discovered that this is the city that I really want to live and work in after college, and I discovered an unwavering passion for education reform, both through the federal government and the nonprofit field. I became more confident in my abilities and my strengths throughout the semester and learned to push my boundaries and try new things more than I ever had before. I believe that I grew exponentially as an activist and citizen throughout the semester, as well as just emotionally and mentally in many ways. I am so sorry to see this semester end but cannot wait to see the adventures that will come as a result of this experiences. Even further, I can’t wait to return to D.C. as a member of the workforce someday!

Sustaining growth & courage As my first semester at Appalachian comes to an end, I have been reflecting on the tremendous impact that the Wilson Scholars Program has had in shaping my experience thus far, as well as how it will continue to shape my experience at Appalachian in a positive way for the rest of my undergraduate career. I do not shy away from discomfort, and I often purposefully place myself in unfamiliar situations with the goal of exercising my personal resilience. This semester has been no less of a challenge, both personally and academically.

by: Anisha Sharma

I find myself in absolute reverence of the Sustainable Development program at Appalachian. To my peers, friends, and family, I describe the program as the marriage of the noble disciplines of human rights, environmental, economic, anthropological, and gender studies. I also had the incredible opportunity of working as the engineering chair for the Equity in STEM club on campus, where I visited Hardin Park Elementary School and taught the kids how to create simple hydroponics systems using reusable materials (such as plastic bottles and old cloth). Next semester, I look forward to performing in the Vagina Monologues and raising awareness for the V-Day movement, an international movement to end violence against women and girls, while also working in the Women’s Center as a desk volunteer. I am also excited to continue my equity work in STEM club, the Office of Sustainability, and the Sustainable Development Student Alliance.

Throughout my academic career, I have thrived in the arts, language, literature, and humanities. As an actress with a passion for history and the beauty of language, I have experienced the most discernible personal growth from courses which embody extensive reading, writing, and oration. However, this semester, I opted for a schedule of primarily Biology and Chemistry labs and lectures. For the first time, I saw that As the feminist, accomplished my grades were not where poet, and civil right activist I was accustomed to having Dr. Maya Angelou once said, them. The hard work, resil“One isn’t necessarily born ience, and patience (with with courage, but one is born Anisha works at the Women’s Center myself for making this deciwith potential. Without coursion and in my abilities) that age, we cannot practice any I channeled into my academic work this semester other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, is something that I am truly proud of. Additionally, merciful, generous, or honest.” This semester, I am the person that I have become due to these experi- proud of my sustained courage and the doors that it ences is much stronger, more courageous, and has has allowed me to open. While I have worked hard greater insight into what it means to truly be sucto be where I am today, the feeling that I get when I cessful as a student. Although it was a hard journey reflect upon these experiences is almost serendipito take, upon reflection I wouldn’t change anything tous. However, I am a believer in the notion that we about these decisions. create our own “good fortune” through our attitudes towards adversity, courage, and sense of self-belief. My growth from this experience propelled me further towards exploring new ideas, organizations, I am looking forward to the upcoming spring seand programs which feed my soul and allow me to mester and continuing my amazing experience as a sustain my best effort as both a student and conWilson Scholar. tributor to society.

Jake with Sigma Nu brothers

On to the next

by: Jake Powell

My first semester in college was amazing! I accomplished so much in just a few months and learned a lot about myself. I figured out how to manage my time and how to be comfortable being myself. So far, college has lived up to all of my highest expectations. I decided to rush Sigma Nu at the beginning of the semester, and I am so glad I did! I took on the leadership role of Pledge Class Philanthropy Chair. For my first event, I was asked to keep a Sigma Nu tradition alive and organize a Puppy Kissing Booth to raise money for charity. I chose UNICEF USA to receive the process because the organization was working in areas of the East Coast that had been badly damaged by Hurricane Matthew. At the booth, we photographed patrons with one of six adorable dogs and puppies and asked for donations. By the end of the event we had raised about $320 for UNICEF USA. I experienced first-hand the value of organization and time management. The event was a huge success, and I was so happy to see lots of people show up despite the cold weather! During my very first semester, I have made lifelong friends and have continuously learned how to be a better person and a better leader. I am always looking forward to more opportunities to practice my leadership with Sigma Nu and across campus.

Another highlight of the semester was the trip to Costa Rica with the other first-year Wilson Scholars. The trip focused on sustainability efforts in several Costa Rican communities and across the nation, a topic I am very passionate about. Over the course of the trip, the friendship between the six of us grew past what I had expected, and we all had an exciting and eye-opening experience. The classes that I took this past semester were all very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I am proud to say that I finished with a 3.94 GPA! My favorite classes are related to Sustainable Technology, so at this point I think it will be my major. I also participated in intramural soccer and basketball this fall. It turned out to be a perfect way to spend my free time and to make new friends. Next semester I plan on becoming even more involved on campus by joining a club related to my major, running for a another leadership position in my fraternity, and applying for a summer internship with the EPA or some other environmental agency. All in all, it was an eventful semester that taught me many important lessons I plan to hold onto during the rest of my time here at Appalachian and for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to take on the next semester!

Living in the land down under by: Juliet Irving It was July 13th when I landed in Melbourne. I was picked up from the airport, and two hours later, I arrived in Bendigo, Australia, the town I’d call home for four months. It was cold! It actually snowed lightly on the way there. For someone who expected literal outback and heat (even if it was winter at the time), Australia sure set me straight. Honestly, the weirdest thing was trying to comprehend that I was even in Australia, the place I used to want to live as a kid. It had seemed to me like the mythical land of kangaroos for so long that it felt almost unreal to actually be there. For the most part, the semester was pretty routine outside of the fact that I was in Australia. However, as the temperature warmed up and we moved into spring, it started raining. And raining. It was wet season in Australia ... one of the worst they’ve had in awhile. And with the rain and the heat came mosquitos. The mosquitos in Australia are things to be feared. Literally nothing else put fear into my heart like the thought of those insects. Looking back on it now, I can laugh and see how great those moments were. I took three fine art classes and two studio classes, each only once a week. Honestly, that was harder than loading up my schedule at App. It felt like a vacation where I had to force myself to focus on classes. The studios I had were a bit different than what I had expected, especially considering they were fine art focused and more research-based than what I was used to. We had fewer projects but they were more intense and conceptual than most of the work I’ve done for graphic design.

Juliet at an Australian beach

With finals week came a lot of stress. For one of my studio classes, Studio Studies, I presented the piece and research I spent the entire semester on. It was entitled Dancing Hands was made up of about 80+ canvases of different sizes with printed pages on them. The pages were from several explorations I did where I danced against the paper with charcoal powder on my hands. Each experiment was made up of about 40 pages that were shrunk down and put on the canvases, then arranged on the wall. Once I made it through finals, I took off on a solo expedition of Australia!

Traveling on my own allowed me to truly experience everything I saw and to grow as an individual because there was no one else looking out for me. I was completely independent, and I really felt myself growing as an adult, not just a college student. Once I got back to Bendigo, I just had a few days to say goodbye to all of my friends. We laughed and joked and cried; it was hard to leave. They played such a large role in my experience in Australia. I had known I would make new friends abroad, but I didn’t expect to meet such amazing people and become such great friends with them. I was the only American that I ever knew on campus. I’m glad, because it pushed me to learn and adapt to my new surroundings that much quicker. I miss the weather, the people, and the kangaroos, but I’m so grateful to have these memories of such a great experience. I have to say it wasn’t my favorite thing to be obligated to go to class when all I wanted to do was explore and travel, but I learned things from my Aussie professors that I might never have learned anywhere else. Australia had been a land of myth to me for so long. I knew it existed, but it always seemed out of reach. And yet I was just there. That’s pretty awesome.

First-year Scholars plant a rare, endangered species of avocado tree

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

2017 Wilson Scholar finalists Jama Brookes, Exercise Science Sophia Lang, Biology Mackenzie Brown, Communication Sciences & Disorders Samuel Lanning, Finance and Banking Molly Campillo, Global Studies Hannah Magraw, English, Secondary Education Hayley Canal, Sustainable Development Evan Malinchock, Environmental Science Kayley Carpenter, Theatre Arts May Martineau, Sociology Mia Cushing, Finance and Banking Annakathleen Miller, Psychology Jackson Durham, Career and Technical Education Julianna Millward, English Zachary Ellis, Management Amina Mohamed, Biology Skylar Fisher, Global Studies Everett Moore, Biology Aaron Froehlich, Biology Avery Pope, Biology Scott Grant, Biology Sarah Riegel, Nursing Dru-ann Harris, Undecided Danielle Schmidt, Biology Matthew Hoffman, Biology Sydney Shadrick, Special Education Leo Jaffe, Environmental Science Joy Siler, Undecided William Johnson, Exercise Science Sydney Stoter, Communication Sciences & Disorders Morgan Johnson, Biology Julia Urh, Mathematics Rachael Kelley, Biology Madeline Ward, Global Studies Margaret Kuhn, Psychology

Fun facts about the Wilson Scholars Program


Scholars have used their Experiential Learning Fund of $10,000 to study abroad in Spain, explore art in Germany, hone photography skills in Italy, intern with the Senate, and more.


Wilson Scholars have access to a private study space equipped with everything a student would need to be successful.


Each Scholar participates in a specialized seminar introducing them to key programs and people-to-know around campus during their first semester.


Several of the Wilson Scholars jokingly call Faculty Director, Dr. David Marlett, “Dad.�


The Wilson Scholar Program feels like a family. Between group bonding and extraordinary support, personal and professional, Wilson Scholars are lifelong friends.

Where in the world have the Wilson Scholars been?

For more information about the Wilson Scholars Program, visit

Profile for Appalachian State University

Wilson Scholars Newsletter - Spring 2017  

Wilson Scholars Newsletter - Spring 2017  

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