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Fall 2016

In August, we welcomed close to 3,125 students, approximately 17 percent from traditionally underrepresented groups, up from 15.2 percent in fall 2015, which was also an Appalachian record for diversity. We honored more Wilson Scholars than ever before this year and increased merit-based financial aid for students across the board by $500,000 – a 33 percent increase. Leveling the field for students economically is one expression of our commitment to sustainability’s 3Es: economic, environmental and social equity.

Chancellor Sheri N. Everts

A Message from the Chancellor The Wilson Scholars are the embodiment of Appalachian State University’s vision – putting students first by providing access to a transformational education. I have enjoyed getting to know the 2016 cohort and am proud they represent Appalachian. With our longstanding commitment to quality in teaching, research and service, and with the stellar faculty and staff who strive to prepare our students to lead purposeful lives as engaged citizens, these six very special students surely will grow and flourish along with the rest of our students. The 2016 scholars are part of the largest, most diverse and brightest first-year class in our history.

On the environmental side, Apperion, the university’s solar race car, placed third in the qualifying track race for the Formula Sun Grand Prix and went on to place sixth in the American Solar Challenge. Team Sunergy raced nearly 2,000 emissions-free miles over the course of eight days – powered only by the sun. This incredible group of students and their faculty mentors represent both the entrepreneurial spirit and the deep and lasting understanding of sustainability that is representative of Appalachian. Community service, too, plays an important part in the 3Es, and we excel in this arena. Appalachian’s students completed their successful 10th Annual Homecoming Blood Drive on Sept. 21. This event differs from blood drives held by other universities because it is entirely coordinated by students. We had an incredible day! Over 500 volunteers worked tirelessly and we collected 1,235 pints of blood, with a record number of double red cell donors. Mid-semester is upon us. New friendships have been formed, challenges and opportunities presented and, as always, the Appalachian Community is moving forward. The Wilson Scholars are representative of all that we honor at Appalachian – excellence in teaching, research and service, and sustainable values in action. I am eager to see the transformation.

Berlin & Beyond For my first summer with the Wilson Scholarship, I decided to use my ELF to go to Berlin, Germany with another scholar, Sope Kahn. Some time in the beginning of the year, the two of us met at Mellow Mushroom. I asked Sope if they had any idea what they wanted to do for the summer and sure enough, there were no plans yet. We didn’t know what we wanted to do, but quickly agreed to do a trip together. We thought about our mutual interest in the arts and decided on Berlin for the contemporary art scene. The first few days spent in Germany were a blur. I have never experienced jet lag before. While I don’t believe that I was completely jet-lagged, I do remember briefly falling asleep around 11 p.m. (5 p.m. EST) only to force myself awake to play video games with my friends back in America until 7:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. EST). Needless to say, this was a mistake. It was a lesson well learned and we didn’t have too many important things planned before leaving for Italy that weekend. The main concerns were finding affordable food, figuring out the underground metro system, and navigating the city. Three days later we hopped on a flight to visit Madeline in Rome, Italy. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy to taste the amazing food; let me say that the food lived up to the rumors. I didn’t have many Italian meals in the weekend, but I did have authentic pasta, pizza, and most importantly: gelato! (P.S. fruit flavors are the best.) At the start of the third week, Sope and I went to visit my German family friends who live right next to the Baltic Sea. The family had visited us in the states a couple times in the past, so it only seemed fair for me to give them a visit while I was “in the area.” While there, we were treated to a trip to the docks to see a lineup of massive ferries, a feast of a variety of meats, and a strawberry field for fresh strawberry shortcake. I had never seen Sope, a “vegetarian,” eat so much meat before! Needless to say, it was a trip to remember.

Sam and Sope

The bulk of the trip, as intended, was spent going to a variety of art museums, contemporary and old-fashioned. A number of the contemporary art pieces used many elemts of design that I’ve learned through my major. The way I think about art has somewhat changed since starting my major in industrial design. When I look at pieces of art, especially the ones that I find most appealing, I see them in their entirety but I also focus in on specific things like line work, line weight, contrast, etc. I found myself doing this constantly throughout the different art museums that we visited. I feel like it made the pieces even more interesting to view because I had (have) an even better understanding of them. Being able to go to Germany (as well as Rome) and see Anke and her family and all the different art, scenery, food, and Berlin itself was amazing. I still can’t even believe that I spent half the summer exploring another country!

Grace Bowling in Peru

My Time Starts Now I’m sitting in a coffee shop watching rain collect in pools on the uneven asphalt, and I’m trying to search out some piece of wisdom, some insight to share. My hands are waiting on the keyboard, but what I feel now is a humbling smallness. I am trying to learn how to be one in eighteen thousand, and simultaneously, one of just six. To be here, contemplating all of this in a place where my education is a sought-out investment is more than an honor. It’s an acknowledgement of my entire existence, every moment of confusion and struggle and frustration, and a profession of faith in me from countless people who have found their own way in the world. It’s a gift to have been brought together with five inspiring friends who are in this world to change it for the better. I am both excited and deeply nervous about the start of this semester and this new life. I cannot wait to be in Costa Rica seeing my passions for Spanish and sustainability meet and twine together and spin off in new and wildly unexpected directions. I keep Mary Oliver’s books close to me and her words are

always close to my heart. If there is one overarching goal for this year and the three after that, it’s to “keep some room in [my] heart for the unimaginable” because all of the opportunities at my fingertips are just waiting to made into possibilities. I used to think I would change the world. I wanted to solve our biggest problems and confront our greatest weaknesses. Today, I am no less passionate, but I have come to believe that the way I will be of service is in smaller ways. I want to build a home and a school for young kids to immerse themselves in nature and learn to cook and speak Spanish, climb trees, play in the rain, and be truly joyful; I want to teach the ways of a simple, self-sustained and self-sustaining life. I want to dedicate these next years to myself so that I can learn and practice all of the skills, big and small, that I want to teach and, more importantly, model. This time is for learning how to feed my boldness and to both challenge and honor my timidity and for trying hard and failing harder. My great hope in these years and in the rest of my life is to cultivate joy in myself and in others. And it starts now.

Lily and her swing dancing partner

GEAR UP I spent the summer here in Boone. I worked for GEAR UP, an on-campus program dedicated to encouraging middle school and high school students to pursue education beyond high school. Specifically, along with two other ASU students and one advisor, we taught 6-8th graders how to code and modify a popular video game, Minecraft. The reason I became interested and eventually decided to spend my summer working with this program is because of the faculty involved. The faculty were clearly passionate about this and everyone was welcoming and excited to be a part of this experience. I think that this camp is a great idea and provides students with an incredible opportunity as the computer science field continues to grow. In my opinion, these programs should be implemented in schools as it is especially important for young girls, who don’t get the same exposure to technology as boys. When I wasn’t teaching, I was dancing. I traveled all over to swing dance to live bands, from Richmond to Greenville and Asheville to Charleston.

I appreciated the opportunity to learn from some of the best teachers around the world and gain some new skills for the fall, where I will continue teaching the swing dancing club at Appalachian. Even though I enjoyed all of my trips, one of my favorite musical and dance experiences of the summer was in Asheville. That trip started when I got an excited call from my mom. A swing dance band that I introduced her to, the Resonant Rogues, were touring through Asheville (their home town) in late July. We booked a hotel and a week later found ourselves in a tiny, speak-easy themed bar called the Crow and Quill. It was comfortably filled with people of different styles-from goth to vintage chic. Lucian, my mom’s service dog, curled up in the corner as Sparrow Pants-one of the band leaders-taught people a tradition Middle Eastern line dance. Then, the music started and everyone joined hands and vined their way through the room. Even though I usually swing dance to this band, it was refreshing to take away my focus from my dance partner and enjoy the talented group. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget.

Climbing the Mountain Starting your freshman year can certainly be an adventure, however my fellow Wilson scholars and I would agree with this statement on a completely different level than our peers. After moving into our dorms we spent the next three days in Pisgah National Forest as part of a University Program. We carried backpacks, climbed mountains, swam in rivers, set up camps, and more. We each learned about ourselves, how we work as parts of a group, and explored different forms of resilience. Our first day, we bonded with each other through cheesy introduction games. We asked each other what type of fruit we identified with. It’s safe to say we got to know each other beneath the surface! We hiked about a mile (with our backpacks) to set up camp. It started raining on us when we reached the camp site. I was surprised by our efficiency in setting up camp in rainy conditions. That challenge set a precedent which would reaffirm our competency as a team. That night, we sat around the bonfire with warm drinks. We played the game Mafia (which led to a ton of inside jokes) and bonded as a group. The second day of our trip was the toughest. We walked for miles, gaining serious elevation. We each faced personal struggles that tested our character. From falling in a river, to getting lost, to struggling with the physical taxation of the hike, we all climbed our own metaphorical mountains. I knew that we were an amazing group at these low points. My fellow scholars demonstrated such resilience, positivity, and strength which inspired me through the toughest moments. That night, we spilled our hearts out about what we admired most about each other. We felt like a family. That night, we decided to wake up at 3 a.m. the next morning to summit the mountain and see the sunrise. It was easier said than done. I woke up that morning and regretted our decision. However, with the amazing company and support, I had the time of my life. We hiked, scrambled up rocks, and made it to see the breathtaking sunrise. Our trip to Pisgah National Forest and our climb up Table Rock Mountain was an amazing way to begin our college experience. It provided us with a fresh perspective on challenges, which would empower us in our futures at Appalachian.

How to become a Wilson Scholar

About the Wilson Scholar Program Wilson Scholars push the boundaries of learning and act with passion and determination to create a sustainable future for all. They see moral prolems - problems of social justice - as intellectual problems that we can think and reason about. The Wilson Scholars push the boundaries of the classrooms into remote neighborhoods in North Carolina’s towns and cities and into the barren fields of the coastal plains. Wilson Scholars find better ways to protect our state’s natural resource, find better ways to close the achievement gap and create jobs. They may even find a way to make health care more affordable. In all things, they make a difference. 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 14 students who have the heart, drive and now the resources to impact the world in very significant ways.

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

Summer Snapshots Grace Bowling, 2016 Cohort Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, Boone, NC Although Grace is from Boone, she spent most of her last year in La Paz, Bolivia, working in a hospital and for a healthcare organization collecting data for a study on health and nutrition of children in a rural and impoverished area. While abroad, she learned how to speak Spanish and truly discovered her love for other cultures which has lead her to study Languages, Literature, and Cultures at Appalachian.

Sam Hines, 2015 Cohort Industrial Design, Sanford, NC Sam is a proud member of the second wave of Wilsons Scholars. He recently just traveled abroad with another Wilson Scholar, Sope, to study one of his favorite things, art. In addition to art, he is also an avid listener of music of all kinds. Sam is an active member of the Black Student Association and is currently a Junior studying Industrial Design.

Lily Shaw, 2014 Cohort Spanish, Sociology, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Since arriving at Appalachian, Lily has become involved in many different areas of campus. Her favorite hobby is swing dancing and she is very active in the swing dancing club on campus. She is also an active mentor in the Honors College as well as an intern for GEAR UP and the College ACCESS Program here at Appalachian.

For more information about the Wilson Scholars Program visit,

2016 Fall Wilson Scholars Newsletter