Living, Loving, and Laughing Up the Mountain First-Year Wilson Scholars enjoy their Outdoor Experience
Who knew that two days in the woods could turn a group of acquaintances into best friends? Our journey on the Mountains to Sea Trail heading to the Linville Gorge and Table Rock taught us so much about ourselves, each other, and the world we live in. We faced challenges that seemed monumental even on our first day. We struggled to fit our gear into backpacks (we each carried about 50 pounds!), encountered a rattlesnake, trudged through the rain, and heaved a rock over a tree in a futile attempt to create a bear hang. It was hard to believe that the journey was just getting started! Our second day consisted of stifling heat, sweating more than we thought possible, bee stings, river crossings, and an elevation gain of 4,000 feet. We came into camp feeling weak and sore, but proud we had accomplished what had seemed impossible. We gained another 2,000 feet on the third day, and we began to doubt that the destination was going to be worth the struggle. Struggling to breathe in the thin mountain air and covered in cuts and bruises from rock climbing, we reached the breathtaking summit at Table Rock. We had never felt more proud of ourselves, individually or collectively, having climbed a literal and metaphorical mountain together. It forged a strong bond between us and gave us the confidence to achieve anything as long as we stay motivated, open-minded, supportive, and hydrated! “I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human...I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” This quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poem, The Invitation, resonated with each of us after our wilderness leader read it aloud to begin our hour of solo time. This time allowed us to reflect on the four key aspects of being a Wilson Scholar: leadership, community, service, and discovery. We concluded that being a Wilson Scholar is not about having the same goals, triumphs, or even destinations. It is about the journey in between: cheering each other on, being willing to try our best and give our absolute all. We definitely are a community, but we are even more than that. We are now a family made up of people that will one day touch lives with each of our special gifts. Live, Love, Laugh! Evan, Joy, Jama, Jabari, Syd, and Sydney
Daily Lessons from Abroad by: Alia Dahlan This past summer was a little different for me because I studied abroad in Australia last semester. I spent my time from late-May to early-July traveling in Australia and Indonesia, mostly with friends or family. I experienced so much in so little time that it is almost overwhelming to think back on it. I made new friends, got frustrated with traveling logistics, argued with my mother, said a lot of goodbyes, tried new things, had many amazing meals, and saw incredible sights that pictures cannot do justice. Because my daily journal entries total 22 pages for this period, I will list a few lessons I earned from each aspect of my journey: • If there is such horrible turbulence on a plane that a flight attendant falls over and passengers are screaming, everything will eventually be okay. • Travelling together is an amazing bonding experience for existing friends, but it’s more fun when you make more friends from all around the world and go adventuring together • There are also many strange laws regarding aboriginal people that treat them as different types of citizens than other Australians. • Crocodile tastes like chicken. • A trip with my Canadian best friend made me realize how close two people can become over the course of four months. • I love colorful lights, namely the Vivid lights festival in Sydney. We went to the Toronga Zoo to see animal sculptures made of colorful lights. We also took a night cruise on the Sydney Harbour to see the city (including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge) all lit up.
Alia explores Indonesia
• Uber drivers can be very insightful on topics of racism and islamophobia in Australia. • Celebrating the end of Ramadan takes a full week and many visits with relatives to cemeteries. • Talk to the person next to you on plane rides. Who knows? They may have played basketball at Elon University, even though you are both traveling to Cairns from Brisbane. • EVERYONE in Australia makes a living wage. A two-mile taxi ride might cost $30, but at least you can survive if you have a job. • The first time an American drives on the left side of the road is not bad. After returning home, I took two summer classes and worked part-time at College Access Partnerships at Appalachian. It was great to catch up with friends and have a transitionary period between my travels and school starting again. I am looking forward to the upcoming semester, especially working with the new Honors College dean for Appalachian Honors Association and participating in Walker Fellows, along all of the other clubs I am involved in. Of course, none of these summer adventures would be possible without the Wilson Scholars program, the Wilson Scholarship, my parents, and all my friends who support me and follow me in my adventures. The Walker College of Business also deserves a shout out for all of the support, scholarships, advice, and organizations it has provided me with. I am so fortunate, privileged, and cared for. I have had experiences of a lifetime this past summer, and I am so thankful.
Emma Labovitz and Sarah Aldridge visit the White House
What’s Next For Me by: Emma Labovitz Summer seemed to have passed to quickly as it always does. I spent my time in D.C. working for the Department of State. As this was my dream internship, I guess it is no surprise that it flew by— just as the saying goes,“time flies when you’re having fun!” With this internship I worked with the Bureau of Population, Refugee, and Migration, which deals with all migration issues around the world. My specialization was in Western Hemispheric issues; I mainly looked at problems faced by the Northern Triangle and Mexico. This job allowed for a lot of flexibility, and I was able to attend various lectures throughout the city on the impending crisis in Venezuela and the Peace Accords in Colombia. The notes I drafted at these discussions were sent up to the Secretary of State (like I said, my internship was super awesome). Aside from that, I worked a lot with grant processing. While not as exotic, I was able to see the ins and outs of the federal grant process and how money is allocated. As I hope to work for an NGO one day, this provided a valuable perspective for grant writing moving forward. While the internship was great, living in D.C. was also an incredible experience. I learned
how to live on my own, which was unexpectedly pleasant. I found a new passion for cooking and spent my evenings after work writing Fulbright applications, cooking new vegan dishes, and going on runs through a beautiful park near my house. Sarah Aldridge, a fellow Wilson Scholar, and I were able to attend various functions including a fundraiser for Emily’s List and a graduate school fair. We also had the pleasure of having dinner with Brad Wilson while he was in D.C. for business one weekend. All in all, I spent a lot of this summer reflecting on what is next for me. I’m heading into my senior year of college (yeah, I know...I keep saying it in hopes that I’ll finally be able to process it). The question keeps coming up, “what is next?” This summer provided at least a little clarity. I decided that I will go abroad upon graduation. Whether to graduate school in Ireland, a Fulbright to the Netherlands, Peace Corp work in Costa Rica, or perhaps teaching English in Nepal, going abroad is the unwavering next step for me. I know I care about helping migrant and refugee populations. While I can’t explicitly say how I intend to help this community, the passion is there, and I will head forward in my career knowing I am rooted in a deep love for serving others.
Madeline Hamiter visits the Great Wall of China
Holland Fellows, 2017 by: Madeline Hamiter I was so excited when I was accepted into the Holland Fellows, a prestigious research program within the College of Business at Appstate. Twelve students from ASU partner with twelve students from the University of Fudan, in Shanghai, to complete a research project and present our findings at the Shanghai Economic forum.
Being part of such a huge and diverse research team was an incredibly valuable experience by itself. I had never been challenged in such a unique way, and learning to work together to accomplish something that none of us could have done alone was a truly inspiring experience. Throughout the project we became much more than a team, and I am proud to say that we will maintain our friendships for a lifetime. As the only student group presenting at the forum, we were both humbled and honored. It was so gratifying to present our research, which we had spent so many late nights perfecting.
where I could find my way around Kowloon without a map. I felt like I got a much more intimate, personal experience with Hong Kong than I might have gotten if I had not stayed behind after the others flew home. One of the most fascinating moments in China was over a lunchtime conversation with my coworkers. We were talking about systems of government, so naturally it resulted in a friendly debate about democracy vs. communism and a one party system vs. a two party system. It was very strange to be the only one in the room arguing on the side of democracy. After growing up immersed in American politics, it was hard for me to imagine what it would be like if there were only one ruling party in the US, or if I was unable to vote for my representatives or our nationâ€™s leader. It was stranger still when my coworker mentioned that her grandfather had fought in the Korean War. I also have relatives that had fought in the Korean War; it was incredibly sobering to realize that just a few short generations ago, our families were at war with each other in order to prove the point that we were so casually and openly discussing over lunch that day.
Hong Kong blew my mind, it was so different from everything we had experienced so far in China or anything I could have expected. I think the best way to describe it would be if London was combined Overall, my time in China was once in a lifetime with New York and dropped on top of Hawaii. experience. Being a Holland Fellow, travelling the world on my own, and working in Beijing have all It was also invigorating to rely on myself and my been experiences that have altered the way I view the own intuition to navigate unfamiliar surroundings. world and the way I view myself. I enjoyed the challenge. I even got to the point
About the Wilson Scholars Program The Wilson Scholars Program embodies and exemplifies the Appalachian spirit: a rich blend of academic excellence, leadership, and service. This scholarship program attracts truly passionate students--individuals who care deeply about issues they see in their own lives and in the lives of those around them--instills in them a commitment to change the world for the better, and provides the resources and support for students to do so, innovatively, intentionally, and empathetically. Wilson Scholars receive a personalized educational experience in- and outside of the classroom, designed in partnership with their Faculty Director. Scholars learn to incorporate their vibrant passions into their lives and career goals as they participate in specially designed seminars, engage in international experiences, and design capstone service 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 generous 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 our world in significant and meaningful ways.
First-Year Scholars with Brad and Carole Wilson and Chancellor Sheri Everts
â€œMaking a difference is the only thing that matters.â€? - Carole Wilson â€˜75
Where’s the Wilson?
“I love to relax and do homework in Durham Park.The atmosphere is so calming, and I love spending time outdoors.”
“You can always find me registering people to vote outside on Sanford Mall.”
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“I basically live in Peacock Hall because that’s where the College of Business is housed. I spend more time there than I do in my dorm room.”
“I enjoy spending most of my time in the Solarium where I can find a sense of peace and admire the world around me.”
Thoughts and Updates from the Senior Class: Lily Shaw, 2014 Cohort Sociology, Spanish “The best part of senior year is what I’m doing outside of my classes: teaching. I teach Lindy Hop, a type of swing dance, every week at Appstate’s Swing Dance Club in addition to working with middle schoolers through my job at College Access Partnerships. As a freshman in the inaugural class of Wilson Scholars, I never thought that I would be doing any teaching, but it’s a way for me to combine the four main pillars of the Program (service, academics, passion, and leadership) with my own interests. The inagural class is active in the communities in vastly different ways, and I think that that is what makes our program uniquely strong and essential in a world of growing possibilities.”
Sarah Aldridge, 2014 Cohort Political Science Sarah is currently leading efforts to organize the second annual City to Mountains Student Exchange, a weekend leadership development program for middle school students from Charlotte, N.C. She recently joined the Watauga County Democratic Party as a Deputy Field Director focusing on a voter registration drive and “get out the vote” initiatives for the upcoming November elections. In addition to taking political science and sociology courses, all focused on pragmatic skills for her future career and her interests in education policy and women’s rights, she is working on her Honors Thesis on school resegregation in Charlotte, NC.
For more information about the Wilson Scholars Program visit: wilsonscholars.appstate.edu.