Anonymous Donor’s vision translates to $500,000 in scholarships for Wayne County Students

July 24, 2015


Albert Einstein was credited with saying, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.  He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…. pays it.”  As an accountant and business professional, our donor knew well the wonders of compounding when he started an endowment that awarded a $20,000 scholarship to the minority student in the Wayne County Public Schools (Goldsboro, North Carolina), who recorded the highest score in the end of grade science and math test in the third grade.   In 1992, the donor made his first contribution of $10,000 to fund the scholarship that was invested over the long term so that the third grader would have $20,000 in financial support to attend Appalachian State University. The vision of the donor was to inspire these 9 year olds to know that college has become a real possibility if they make education a priority and admission to Appalachian a personal goal.  Twenty-six scholarships have now been created over the years producing scholarships that are valued at over $500,000.


The scholarship recipient was obviously gifted to have scored in the highest percentile in the third grade. The scholarship was designed to provide incentive to work hard and remain focused on being “college bound.”  Most of the awardees are the first in their families to attend college. With the assurance of the scholarship, the financial pressures of paying college tuition are considerably lessened. The donor has stipulated that the student will major in science or mathematics and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average.  The scholarship support is for four years.  


To prepare these young scholars to the rigors of higher education, the College of Arts and Sciences partnered with Appalachian’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance that has been instrumental in communicating with these students and their families and arranging for visits to the university for those who are in high school and starting to think about the next steps of their education.  Susan King, Education and Outreach Coordinator says, “We begin cultivating relationships with these gifted young people as soon as they are awarded the scholarship. It’s important for them to have a personal experience of Appalachian, and so we introduce them to as many Appalachian students, faculty and staff as possible on campus visits.” Scholars attend classes, labs, and sports events, eat in the dining hall, shop in the bookstore and spend their nights in residence halls with Appalachian student hosts. King coordinates with the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid, and Parent and Family Services to ensure that each student – and parent – receives the assistance needed to make the application process to Appalachian a smooth and successful one. 


And, successful they have been.  The adjustment to college life is difficult for many students, particularly those who are the first in their family to attend college.  Student Support Services counselors are available to help the Wayne County scholars succeed in the transition.  Student Support Services Director Cathia Silver explained, "The program fosters a sense of community and provides integrative services for students starting with their orientation through graduation including proactive advising, academic instruction and tutoring, financial aid assistance, mentoring program, and career exploration and development - all services designed to retain and graduate students from first-generation, low-income homes.”


Today, the Wayne County Scholars are showing great accomplishments.  A recent graduate is starting his career at a credit union and a pre-med student in her last semester doing a medical study abroad program in Africa. Several have become involved in leadership positions with organizations on campus.  One, a rising sophomore, has just been elected vice chair of the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Committee for Diversity Recruitment. Another has been chosen as a mentor for the L.E.A.D. program (Linking Education And Diversity), which is designed to create fellowship among students and families of historically underrepresented backgrounds and to help ease their transition to Appalachian State University


Currently, we have three Wayne County Scholars enrolled, and an additional ten young scholars who have been notified of their awards and are now working through elementary, middle school, and high school with the knowledge that their path to college is assured . . . if they maintain their outstanding academic records.  Meanwhile, the magic of compounding is silently working in the background to ensure this donor’s contributions grow to match the promise of a higher education for these students.

Computer scientist at Appalachian helps researchers track honey bee health

July 21, 2015

BOONE—Tracking the health of honeybees across the U.S. is the work of a multi-university team, including a computer scientist at Appalachian State University.

The Bee Informed Partnership, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is comprised of scientists from eight universities, including the University of Maryland, Oregon State University, the University of Tennessee and Appalachian. The partnership members are also beekeepers.

Their goal in the $5 million project, now in its final year, has been to track hive loss and document beekeepers’ best practices as a way to mitigate losses.

“We have been collecting a lot of data. The next step is determining what it all means,” said Dr. James Wilkes, chairman of Appalachian’s Department of Computer Science and a beekeeper himself.

More than 6,000 beekeepers from across the U.S. participated in the partnership’s recent survey. Wilkes and his team of four undergraduate students from Appalachian and a computer programmer from the University of Tennessee were responsible for building the database infrastructure for the project enabling beekeepers to submit their information, and the scientists to generate reports based on the data collected.

Beekeepers provided information about the number of bees they keep, how many they lost each year, what their management practices are and techniques they use to manage their bees, among other information.

The information is important for both the backyard as well as commercial beekeepers, according to Wilkes. “The information is collected with the idea that the epidemiologists can look at the data and come up with correlations between particular practices and hive loss,” he said.

For instance, the data collected since the project began indicate that beekeepers who treat their bees for the varroa mite experience fewer losses than beekeepers who don’t treat for the parasite.

Beekeepers in North Carolina who responded to the survey reported that they lost 41.5 percent of their honey bee hives in 2014-15. Nationwide, the number of hives lost was 42.1 percent. Beekeepers in five states reported losses between 60 and 63 percent.

Healthy honey bees aren’t only important for honey production, they are vital to the success of commercial farms where pollination is needed for crop production of vegetables and fruit and nut trees.

“Bees are part of the food system and food security. If they are not able to have hives for pollination at the level needed by the farmers, there will be problems up the food chain,” Wilkes said.

When the USDA grant ends next year, members of the Bee Informed Partnership plan to continue their research.

“We want the grant work to continue,” Wilkes said. “Our goal has been to build a sustainable business model. We have formed a nonprofit organization to carry on this work after the original grant ends in May 2016. Our vision of the program is to identify the best management practices in the current climate of beekeeping. If enough people change a few things, we could reduce the overall loss.”

To learn about Bee Informed Partnership’s latest report, visit


Research team studies a local water resource, wins a national award

July 2, 2015

Dr. Kristan Cockerill, Assistant Professor in Cultural, Gender and Global Studies and Dr. William Anderson, Chair and Professor in Geology, were recently recognized as the 2015 Boggess Award winners by the Journal of American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). This prestigious award recognizes research conducted in the preceding year that best describes or analyzes a major problem or aspect of water resource management.

Their research, “Creating False Images: Stream Restoration in an Urban Setting” utilizes a local water resource, Boone Creek,  to examine the prevailing assumptions regarding stream restoration practices, including why, where and how stream restoration is conducted.  In their research Drs. Cockerill and Anderson propose that many stream restoration projects may actually exacerbate existing problems and create new water resource problems due to a lack of data, planning and evaluation. 

According to Dr. Cockerill, the research interest in the subject is driven by the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary opportunities that studying water restoration and management issues provide. “I’m very interested in complex systems and in assessing problems from multiple perspectives”, she states. “Stream management encompasses so many facets and so many disciplines.”  For instance water management research spans the fields of history, hydrology, ecology, water policy, public perception, hydrogeology, geomorphology, civil and environmental engineering, and others. 

In the future, the pair plans to continue their research in monitoring the vitality of Boone Creek and the impacts of continued development, and also hope to bring student authors into the project.

English faculty delivers a global perspective through literary research

July 1, 2015

Dr. Başak Çandar, an Assistant Professor of World Literature in the Department of English, will be returning to Appalachian State this fall after completing her participation in a prestigious ten month research program, the Europe in the Middle East, the Middle East in Europe (EUME) fellowship. Each year only ten postdoctoral scholars from around the world are invited to participate in this fellowship to conduct research in a variety of fields including anthropology, history, literature, political science, religion, or Middle Eastern Studies. 

As a EUME Fellow, Çandar has been working on a book manuscript titled “Representing Censored Pasts: State Violence in Twentieth Century Turkish and Spanish Literature,” which focuses on how novels represent violence committed during repressive regimes.  Çandar’s interest in the subject is driven by the multifaceted relationship between history and literature as well as by her own personal history. “I was born in Istanbul, Turkey and grew up in a fairly politically engaged family,” states Çandar. “My parents’ generation in Turkey experienced three military coups over three decades, which means that like many other Turkish people my age, I grew up listening to stories about the coups.”

Participating in the fellowship has also provided Çandar with an opportunity to deepen her research with new questions, topics and connections while working in an environment that facilitates exchange among a community of Middle East scholars.  Çandar believes that her experiences will “surely play into the way I teach and discuss with students questions of World Literature,” when she returns to campus this fall. 

English Department Chair, Dr. Carl Eby also supports the fellowship as it brings an important international component to Appalachian State’s World Literature program.   According to Eby, “Last year we had 1,361 students in World Literature in this Department.  This experience will be brought back into the classroom, but it also projects our presence back out to the world as well.”

To learn more about the EUME fellowship and Dr. Çandar’s research, please visit:

Fulbright awards send Appalachian professors around the globe

June 26, 2015

BOONE—China, Ethiopia, Poland and Austria are the upcoming destinations for four professors at Appalachian State University. Each has received a Fulbright award to teach and/or conduct research at their host institution.



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The first to depart overseas is Jeanne Dubino, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies. Dubino will spend June and July teaching at Northeast University in Shenyang, China, as a Fulbright Specialist.

Dubino will conduct a series of workshops for faculty and graduate students on teaching literature, especially women’s literature, at the university level, and work with faculty on curricular development. She will also teach two graduate-level classes in poetry and women’s literature, and serve as a reader of master’s theses.

This will be her third trip to Northeast China. Through a U.S. Department of State grant, “People and Nature for a Sustainable Future,” Dubino was an exchange faculty member at NEU for two months in 2014. While there she co-taught a graduate class in women and literature. In 2012, she traveled to China as part of an interactive video conference class taught at Appalachian titled Global Understandings that was offered to partner classes in China, Taiwan and Thailand.



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Al Harris, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, will travel to Poland in spring 2016 on his second Fulbright Award. The first was an assignment in Portugal. As a Fulbright Scholar, he will teach classes in information technology to master’s-level students at Adam Mickiewicz University in Pozan, Poland, where he served as a guest lecturer for three weeks in 2011.

“During that time, I was able to establish a great relationship with some faculty and administrators at the Faculty of Law and Administration at Adam Mickiewicz University,” Harris said. “During our discussions, we talked about other opportunities for cooperation and exchange.” In 2013, Harris started a study abroad experience in Poland where students from Appalachian worked with Polish students on a week-long project. He also led a study abroad to the university in Poland in 2014 and again in May.

“Poland has a great university system and has transformed its economy into one of the most robust economies in Central/Eastern Europe,” Harris said. “It will be great to spend a semester in that kind of environment.”



Sid Clements

Sid Clements, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will travel to Innsbruck, Austria in March 2016 for a four-month assignment as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the Management Center in Innsbruck (MCI). This is his first Fulbright award.

Founded in 1995, MCI is an educational institution offering study programs leading to bachelor and master degrees, executive master degree programs and executive certificate programs.

Clements will assist the center in its plans to implement an electrical engineering master’s program. He also will conduct research on a wastewater purification with non-thermal plasma discharge project. The research involves using underwater electrical discharges to cause chemical reactions that remove liquid pollutants from wastewater. “There are many kinds of possible pollutants in wastewater, for example solvents, oil, gasoline, kerosene and other hydrocarbons,” Clements said of the research project’s potential benefit.

Like his colleagues, Clements said his Fulbright experience also will benefit students interested in future study abroad opportunities at MCI. “I am trying to set up graduate student exchanges between the center in Innsbruck and Appalachian. Being at MCI for four months will allow us to make progress on this,” he said.


Appalachian studies students present research at international conference

June 26, 2015

BOONE—Three graduate students and a faculty member from the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University presented papers at an international mountain studies conference held at Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, in May.

Organized by the University of Alberta’s Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative, the academic conference, Thinking Mountains 2015, was an interdisciplinary gathering of over 140 scholars from around the world who presented research about mountain environments and cultures.

Dr. Katherine Ledford, assistant professor of Appalachian studies, and three of her students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Appalachian studies – Melanie Harsha, Karen Russo and Robyn Seamon – shared their research on the Appalachian Mountains.

The graduate students’ presentations were derived from their papers for a seminar on global Appalachia. The seminar places early representations of Appalachia within the European traditions of the picturesque and the sublime and directs graduate students in studying the region in comparison with other mountain regions around the world, including the Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathians and Andes, among others.

Harsha presented research on serpent handling religious traditions in Appalachia; Russo introduced conference attendees to the development of ecotourism in Appalachia; and Seamon compared systems of natural beekeeping in Appalachia with apiarian practices in other mountain environments in Europe. Ledford presented an argument for the benefits of comparative mountain studies to the field of Appalachian studies, a portion of her current book project.

Ledford said, “This conference was a unique opportunity for my graduate students to practice comparative critical thinking about mountains in conversations with other scholars from around the world. We met people from Africa, Asia and Europe, all conducting research on mountains and mountain cultures.”

As part of the conference, Ledford and the graduate students visited the Athabasca Glacier and learned about environmental factors impacting the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains.

“In Canada, my graduate students visited mountains that are very different physically and culturally from the Appalachian Mountains,” Ledford said. “This conference extended the work we did in my global Appalachia seminar in beneficial ways. It challenged my graduate students to consider our Appalachian Mountains from different perspectives.”

Participation in the conference was made possible by support from the Center for Appalachian Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Student Research, and the Graduate Student Association Senate, part of the Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies.


Nominations for 2014-2015 Faculty and Staff Awards Now Open

Have you worked with a faculty or staff member that is extraordinary in how they teach and deliver services to our students and community?  Have you wondered how this person can be recognized for his or her outstanding work? Consider taking a few minutes to recognize great behaviors by nominating him or her for one of the awards available through the college. 

The College of Arts and Sciences invites all staff and faculty to nominate well deserving faculty and staff for one or more of the College of Arts and Sciences Awards for the 2014-2015 academic year. 

The awards up for nomination are:

The guidelines and procedures for each of the awards can be found on the College of Arts and Sciences webpage, and the forms for nominating are located here:        

All nominations are due to the Dean's Office by August 28, 2015.

Faculty Member Receives 2015 National Council on Public History Book Award

May 7, 2015

Department of History faculty member Andrea Burns has been awarded the 2015 National Council on Public History Book Award for her work, From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement. The NCPH Book Award recognizes outstanding scholarship that addresses the theory and/or practice of public history or that includes the products of public history work. Public history gathers, preserves, protects and makes publicly accessible the collective consciousness of nations, communities and individuals.

From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement was inspired by Burns’ fascination with the intersection of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, and the establishment of African American museums during the 1960s and 1970s. Although African American museums have existed since the 19th century, Burns’ research detected a distinct change in the types of exhibits and programs they produced during the 1960s. This change, and its repercussions, are the focus of Burns’ book.

“It is an enormous privilege to be recognized by one’s peers,” says Burns. “I hope that my book contributes, at least in a small way, to the ongoing conversation public historians are having about the necessity of studying, preserving, and interpreting African American history.”

To learn more about the Department of History, please visit its website

Cloutier receives awards from Cave Research Foundation and Geological Society of America

May 6, 2015

When Mara C. Cloutier chose to attend graduate school at Appalachian State University, the Asheville resident said it was because she could explore two possible passions: field work and lab research.

Cloutier is a first-year graduate student in Appalachian’s Department of Biology working with Dr. Suzanna Bräuer (biology) and Dr. Sarah Carmichael (geology) on the effects of water pollution on cave ecosystems. She recently received two awards to support her research this summer – a $2,500 grant from the Cave Research Foundation and a $1,500 grant from the Geological Society of America.

Bathanti receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine

April 30, 2015 

Faculty member and former Poet Laureate of North Carolina Joseph Bathanti has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an honor which is given to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state of North Carolina. Other notable recipients include Maya Angelou, Bob Timberlake, Coretta Scott King, and Doc Watson.

“Receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is a tremendous honor, especially in light of those who have received it over the years,” says Bathanti.

In addition to becoming North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate, Bathanti recently received the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for his latest work, “Concertina”, and is on the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Humanities Council. Bathanti is a faculty member in Appalachian’s Department of English, and is also Writer in Residence at Watauga Residential College.

To learn more about Joseph Bathanti, please visit his webpage.