BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University’s College of Arts and Sciences welcomes eight new staff members to the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, Computer Science, English, Geography and Planning and Psychology.
Richard Hodges joined the Department of Biology as the Administrative Support Specialist. In this role, he manages the department budget.
Haley Herman joined the Department of History as the Administrative Support Associate. She earned an Associate of Arts from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health at Appalachian State. Herman explained what brought her to Appalachian by saying, "I love the mountains, the Boone atmosphere and getting to see all four seasons. Our campus is beautiful with lots of history and there seems to be something fun going on all the time. We have a unique and welcoming community here that sets us apart. I love supporting our different sports teams, especially our football program...Go Mountaineers!"
As the Administrative Support Associate for History, Herman manages the general office duties and assists with appointment scheduling, record keeping and communications. In her free time, Herman enjoys traveling, hiking, swimming, playing basketball, working on her hobby farm and spending time with her family.
Herman's advice to students is to enjoy their time at Appalachian. "Step out of your comfort zone when you can, meet new people, experience something different, hike or drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, do your absolute best in your classes and never be afraid to ask for help," she said.
Megan Hutton joined the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences as the Administrative Support Associate. She earned an Associate of Applied Sciences in Information and Systems and Advertising and Graphic Design from Wilkes Community College. Hutton is also an alumna of CAS, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Languages, Literatures and Cultures with a concentration in Spanish and Hispanic Studies in 2022.
As the Administrative Support Associate for Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, Hutton is responsible for issuing registration permits to students, updating course schedules, managing the budget, assisting with meetings and events, and supervising student workers. When asked why she decided to apply for the position, Hutton said, "I was already familiar with campus and I was a student worker in the same building I'm in now. I feel comfortable here and everyone has been very welcoming."
Ryan Kennedy is continuing in the Department of Psychology as the Administrative Assistant. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Health Studies and a minor in Public Health from Appalachian State in May. "After being a student at App State for 4 years and working on campus for 3 of them, I did not want to leave this environment that I have grown to love so much," Kennedy explained.
As the Administrative Assistant for Psychology, Kennedy manages student records, processes special course and graduate assistantship forms and answers questions from students, faculty, staff and others. He is also responsible for managing the department's listservs, providing student advising support and coordinating department textbooks. In his free time, Kennedy enjoys reading, hiking, taking long drives, listening to music, and spending time with his loved ones and their pets.
As a student, Kennedy served as a supervisor in the Plemmons Student Union, receiving the Phil Arnold Award in recognition of his service and dedication to the Union. When asked about the best advice he ever received, Kennedy shared that Dr. Brad Vest, Associate Director for the Department of Student Engagement and Leadership, once asked him "What do you need from me to be successful?" Kennedy reflected, "It stuck with me in a profound way. At a very opportune time, Brad was able to help me with a lot of my internal struggles...By changing my way of thinking to match this question from Brad, I was able to start helping myself be better in many different ways, and in turn, be a much better leader and individual for those I was (and am now) working with."
Shane Miller joined the Department of Computer Science as the Administrative Specialist. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Emory & Henry College. Miller says he came to Appalachian State because it is "a place where I can grow my skills while having the opportunity to grow as a person. I get to be a part of something bigger that serves younger people and helps prepare them for life after being a student."
As the Administrative Assistant for Computer Science, Miller manages a wide variety of tasks, such as advising, textbook orders, classroom scheduling, budget reconciliations, travel requests and data entry. Miller's hobbies include writing, reading, video and tabletop games, hiking, photography and co-hosting a supernatural and true crime podcast called "Monsters and Murder." He also applies his background in theatre as an actor, a director, a writer, a production assistant and the secretary of the board of directors for the local Beanstalk Community Theatre. "Life does not end after school and the world is truly unlimited to whatever you want to do," said Miller when asked what advice he would like to share with students.
Kim Paramo is returning to the Department of Biology as the Administrative Support Associate. An alumna of CAS, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Languages, Literatures and Cultures with a concentration in Spanish and Hispanic Studies in 2021. "Coming back to App State has been one of the easiest things to happen and I really appreciate how the department has welcomed me and they have all made this transition so much easier," Paramo said.
As the Administrative Support Associate for Biology, Paramo is responsible for payroll, travel and assessment. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, scrolling through TikTok, and reading. When asked what advice she would like to share with students, Paramo emphasized, "Be your own advocate. No one else will know what you need better than yourself. No matter whether you are a student or have begun your adult career, it is important to remember that your needs are just as important as anyone else's. It might be uncomfortable, but it is truly something that will help propel you to success."
Joshua Platt is continuing in the Department of Geography and Planning as the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab Supervisor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geography in 2021 and is currently completing a Master of Arts in Geography as part of the Accelerated Master's program.
As the GIS Lab Supervisor, Platt manages department computer labs and software subscriptions, oversees department marketing and engagement and teaches "Geospatial Technology in a Changing World." Platt's hobbies include mountain biking, climbing, drumming, writing music and screen printing.
"I really like the atmosphere of the department and I have built research collaborations that I would love to see continue," said Platt, whose graduate research explores the geomorphic response of the Watauga River following the 2021 removal of the Ward’s Mill Dam. Dr. Derek Martin, Platt's research advisor, commented, “Josh has been an exemplary graduate student, and has been one of the hardest working students that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. His experience, attitude, work ethic, and genuine curiosity about the world make him a perfect fit for our department. I’m excited to see him take on this new role!"
Andie Thomas is returning to the Department of English as the Administrative Assistant. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing in 2018. Thomas explained why she accepted a position at Appalachian State after four years away by saying, "As an App grad, this University feels like home. I loved being a student in the department, so getting to work in that exact department felt like the perfect fit. I also love helping people, and my position allows me to do that, tenfold."
As the Administrative Assistant for English, Thomas assists the chair and assistant chairs with administrative duties, helps professors prepare for their courses and communicate with students, and serves as the initial point of contact for students with questions about contacting professors and locating classes. Her hobbies include reading, crocheting and playing "Dungeons and Dragons." When asked what the best advice she ever received, Thomas said, "Let your days off be days off. You will love your job more when you remember that work/life balance is key."
Has one of these staff members, or another staff member in CAS, gone above and beyond to help you recently? If so, nominate them for a staff "Shout Out." Organized by the Staff Senate, "Shout Outs" recognize the positive contributions of staff members to the Appalachian State community each month. The recipients are entered into a drawing for a gift from the campus bookstore. To learn more about the program and nominate a staff member, visit https://staffsenate.appstate.edu/committees/staff-recognition.
About the A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences
The A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with eight different concentrations and an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree in fermentation sciences. The department’s programs prepare students to attend graduate and professional schools, as well as for employment in the pharmaceutical and fermentation industries and other business sectors. Learn more at https://chemistry.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Biology
The Department of Biology is a community of teacher-scholars, with faculty representing the full breadth of biological specializations — from molecular genetics to landscape/ecosystem ecology. The department seeks to produce graduates with sound scientific knowledge, the skills to create new knowledge, and the excitement and appreciation of scientific discovery. Learn more at https://biology.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Computer Science
Appalachian’s Department of Computer Science provides a rigorous, high-quality education that prepares students for the computing industry or graduate education. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, which is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, and a Master of Science degree in computer science. Learn more at https://compsci.appstate.edu.
About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Geography and Planning
The Department of Geography and Planning promotes the understanding of the spatial dimensions of human behavior within the physical and cultural systems of the earth, and the role of planning in achieving improvement in those systems. The department offers degrees in geography and in community and regional planning. Learn more at https://geo.appstate.edu.
About the Department of History
The Department of History offers a broad curriculum in local, national, regional and world history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, which encourages history majors to develop a comprehensive approach to human problems. The study of history is an essential part of a liberal arts education and offers valuable preparation for many careers, such as law, journalism, public history, public service and business, as well as in teaching and the advanced discipline of history. Learn more at https://history.appstate.edu.
About the Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology
Appalachian’s Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology serves more than 1,000 undergraduate majors seeking the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, as well as 80 graduate students in three master’s programs (experimental psychology, school psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology and human resource management) and the clinical psychology (Psy.D.) doctoral program. Learn more at https://psych.appstate.edu.
Compiled by Lauren Andersen
August 19th, 2022