Meet the Appalachian Community

People’s stories are intriguing and multifaceted, and each individual contributes to the rich fabric of excellence here. So, who will you find at Appalachian? Read on to meet the community.
  • Nataly Jimenez
    Thursday, September 2, 2021

    First-generation student and Wilson Scholar Nataly Jimenez, a senior majoring in sociology-criminology, deviance and law, aspires to become an immigration lawyer — a goal inspired by watching her own immigrant family encounter hardships.

  • Lynn Patterson ’89
    Thursday, April 1, 2021

    Lynn Patterson ’89, university program specialist in App State's Belk Library and Information Commons, considers her relationships with students as an important part of her job. The alumna has mentored many students over her 30-year employment at the university.

  • Cashae Cook ’14
    Monday, March 29, 2021

    As a child, Cashae Cook ’14 said she was always glad to see police officers arrive at her house — because it meant she and her siblings would be safe. Now, as Appalachian Police Department’s new diversity, inclusion and community engagement officer, Cook wants to make sure the Mountaineer community also experiences positive interactions with police officers.

  • Jenny Ly
    Monday, October 7, 2019

    Appalachian State University junior Chau “Jenny” Ly is succeeding in the field of computer science and helping her female peers do the same.

  • 6 members of App State Community receive Plemmons Leadership Medallions
    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    Six members of the Appalachian State University Community have been awarded W.H. Plemmons Leadership Medallions in recognition of their efforts to provide campus leadership for students.

  • Jordan Moore
    Tuesday, July 9, 2019

    Chemistry major Jordan Moore aspires to take her talents abroad — providing medical care in developing nations.

  • Travian Smith
    Thursday, June 6, 2019

    Appalachian State University senior Travian Smith is the inaugural recipient of the university’s National Pan-Hellenic Council Divine Nine Leadership Award.

  • Rachel Gallardo
    Saturday, December 1, 2018

    2018 Top of the Rock recipient Rachel Gallardo is a campus leader studying dietetics, while also serving as a megaphone for the diabetic community.

  • Murilo Artese
    Friday, November 30, 2018

    From São Paulo, Brazil, senior Murilo Artese is one of 125 international students from 44 countries at Appalachian.

  • Malik Hargrave
    Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Appalachian senior Malik Hargrave studies actuarial science while taking advantage of leadership opportunities on campus.

  • Nicholas Gilliam ’17
    Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Now a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame, this Honors College student reflects on his Appalachian Experience.

  • Jake Keller ’17
    Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Appreciative of his professors' support as an enlisted National Guard specialist, Keller presents them each with a Patriot Award from the United States Department of Defense.

  • Razan Farhan Alaqil
    Monday, November 6, 2017

    Political science major Razan Farhan Alaqil has been the Saudi youth representative to the United Nations. Two events in fall semester of her junior year put her on the world stage.

  • Sarah Freeman-Thibault ’14
    Friday, November 3, 2017

    Freeman-Thibault was able to come out as gay as an undergraduate student because “Appalachian gave me the courage … to be myself,” she says.

  • Abraham Howell
    Friday, November 3, 2017

    Applying to Appalachian State University seemed “a smart choice” to Abraham Howell of Charlotte. Now a psychology major, he says he’s glad he did.

  • Sarah Miner
    Thursday, November 2, 2017

    Exercise science major Sarah Miner of Charlotte has a passion for creating equity in health care — and a career plan to make it happen.

  • Guin Thi
    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    By the time she arrived on campus, ready to begin her college journey, Appalachian freshman Guin Thi had exceeded the hopes and dreams of her family. Now she is realizing her own dream, learning more about a profession that has intrigued her since childhood: architectural design.

  • Sarah Mbiki
    Monday, February 13, 2017

    Sarah Mbiki is an advocate for the role academic and professional student clubs play in the Appalachian State University experience. The senior computer science major credits her experience in the Women in Computer Science club for providing her with support and mentorship opportunities as she completes a challenging major and prepares for work in a field that is traditionally male-dominated.

  • Fidel Leal
    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    When Fidel Leal, described by a Cuban music critic as “one of the most advanced and important Cuban pianists of his generation to storm into the first decade of this century” saw the bottom line on the cost of a music education at the New England Conservatory in Boston, he was crestfallen. Completely out of his price range, he returned to Cuba, his dream of earning a master’s in music in America unfulfilled.

  • Ray Christian
    Tuesday, December 6, 2016

    Ray Christian, a storyteller and instructor at Appalachian State University, compartmentalizes his life of 55 years into three disparate segments: an impoverished childhood in a Richmond, Virginia, ghetto, 20 years serving his country in the U.S. Army, and the past two decades “doing nothing but going to school.”

  • Traci Royster
    Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    Her professional trajectory has been informed, in large part, by the bedrock principles that shaped her life.

  • Kemal Atkins ’92 ’96
    Saturday, October 8, 2016

    Alumnus Kemal Atkins’ family put education first. He has made a career of helping students find a place in higher education.

  • Susan M. Branch ’99
    Friday, October 7, 2016

    According to Branch, a successful attorney who serves on the university’s Board of Trustees, “I took advantage of everything Appalachian had to offer.”

  • First generation faculty and staff
    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Nearly 25 percent of Appalachian students are first generation college students. Many successful Appalachian faculty and staff were, too. Read how they charted a new course for themselves and their families.

  • Brian Shangwa ’15
    Thursday, March 3, 2016

    A young African student wanted to study in the U.S. His parents and siblings were supportive - they’re all professionals with university degrees. The young student had friends in the U.S. and a dream to follow. There was just one problem...

  • Salvador Salinas ’03
    Friday, September 11, 2015

    From an undergraduate, to University of Oxford, to The University of Texas at Austin, Appalachian shaped the way Salvador Salinas ’03 engaged with the world through his liberal arts education.

  • Connor Burleson, Joy Maker
    Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    Connor Burleson is a 2014 graduate of Appalachian’s Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP), a person-centered, innovative program that provides students with intellectual disabilities access to a two-year college education with full access to all university programs and services.

  • Michael Obacha
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    With maintained success and national recognition for his community service work, Appalachian basketball junior forward Michael Obacha and his shoe drive have continued to provide shoes to the youth of his native country, Nigeria.

  • Derrick C. Jones '79
    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Derrick C. Jones ‘79 says that he is “first, last, and always an educator.”

  • Daniel Burleson
    Friday, December 19, 2014

    This horticultural specialist keeps campus beautiful and safe year-round.

  • Marty Watkins
    Monday, January 6, 2014

    For Environmental Service Technician Marty Watkins, work is about more than just a job – it’s about family.

  • Debbie Bauer ’05
    Monday, January 6, 2014

    Administrative Assistant Debbie Bauer: mother, wife, gardener, student and leader.

  • Carys Kunze '14
    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Music major Carys Kunze has covered a lot of ground. It’s all possible, she said, because of her Chancellor’s Scholarship, The Honors College and “amazing support from the faculty.”

  • Brian Pham '14
    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    A father of two, transfer student Brian Pham completes this education after an early life in refugee camps following the conflict in Vietnam.

  • Latwanna Singleton ’13
    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Business graduate and single mother

    “I knew that Appalachian was where I wanted to be. I could feel it. Everyone was friendly, and it felt like home.”

  • Christine Sita Davé
    Monday, June 17, 2013

    "I am inspired to hear our students' challenges and how they face them with so much dignity and respect for each other. I am inspired every day to serve and mentor our first-generation college students."

  • Dr. Harry L. Williams '86 '88 '95
    Monday, June 10, 2013

    First-generation college student Dr. Harry L. Williams ’86 ’88 ’95 receives a 2013 Distinguished Alumni award from the Appalachian Alumni Association.

  • Monday, June 3, 2013

    With the collected experiences of his colorful career, it's likely that Barnes will stretch the canvas of his next career in Appalachian’s Ombuds Office.

  • Meredith Ballard
    Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Appalachian State University junior Meredith Ballard was born with a severe visual impairment that has worsened progressively.

  • Danny Garcia-Rosales, senior
    Monday, March 25, 2013

    ACCESS Scholar

    “ACCESS has helped me in so many ways. It not only pushes me to achieve academic success, but also fosters a sense of family among program members.”

  • Rawdon Marroquin, junior
    Friday, March 22, 2013

    Teaching Fellow

    “When I first arrived in Boone and stepped onto the Appalachian campus, I knew that I would do anything and everything possible to come to school here. It reminded me of how I am to people -- warm and welcoming.”

  • Jordan Lancaster, sophomore
    Monday, February 11, 2013

    As soon as you meet Appalachian State University’s Jordan Lancaster, you know he has lots of layers besides his clothes.

  • Kacey Griffin ’13
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    “I love the diversity that we have in the choir, the compliments we get from our classmates, faculty, families and friends. I am glad that we reach out – not only to our campus, but also to our community, our state and beyond.”

  • Dr. Chishimba Nathan Mowa
    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Department of Biology

    “The greatest duty of any civilized society is to help discover and develop the unique talent that each child brings to the table. Being a part of this and making a positive difference in the lives of students…is a great honor."

  • Dr. Chuanhui Gu
    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    A native of China, Gu determines to what extent local streams are harmed by pollutants and other change.

  • Dr. Kin-Yan Szeto
    Friday, November 30, 2012

    “I treasure the educational experiences that students can have in college because of what we learn about ourselves and others.”

  • Dr. Hongwei "Chris" Yang
    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Dr. Hongwei “Chris” Yang, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University, is an expert in advertising using the Internet, mobile devices and social media.

  • Willie Fleming ’80 ’84
    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    During his tenure at Appalachian, Dr. Willie Fleming ’80 ’84 made a difference in the lives of African American students. Now a scholarship bears his name.