CAS Corps Feature: Key Hatch

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Corps are chosen to serve as representatives to all constituents of CAS and to create, promote and execute opportunities for academic and professional growth. These students represent a variety of departments from across CAS and will represent the College at events through interaction among current students, future students, parents, donors and alumni.

Throughout the year, we will be introducing new students representing the College in the 2023-24 academic year through a question and answer format. For more about the CAS Corps, visit:

Key Hatch

Year: Junior
Major: Environmental Science (Life Science)
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Which clubs or organizations are you a member of?

  • National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH)

  • Watauga Residential College

What scholarship(s) have you received from Appalachian or while studying at Appalachian?

  • Appalachian Excellence Scholarship

  • Lloyd Hobbs Memorial Scholarship

  • NC Scholarship

What research or coursework have you been most passionate about?

"I am fortunate enough to be an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. The work my team does focuses on patterns of water release from climate change-induced permafrost thaw. I am deeply passionate about the climate crisis, and this work allows me to investigate one of the many complexities our societies are facing in terms of the climate crisis."

Which location(s) do you hope to visit for an internship, a study abroad trip, a research experience, or just for fun?

"Because of the research I described above, I have been to Alaska to perform field work for two summers in a row now, and I am excited to go back for one more summer!"

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

"The library! I cannot name a cozier, more comfortable, or more ideal coffee sipping spot to get work done at! Lots of space to spread out with friends or loved ones and chase your academic dreams!"

What is one of your favorite memories at Appalachian thus far?

"Being down on the field when App State kicked the game winning field goal against Coastal Carolina in 2021 (I did not rush the field, I had a special pass that allowed me onto the field)."

What do you like about Boone and the surrounding community?

"Talk about a beautiful place to live! While some universities are surrounded by urban sprawl, App State is situated in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. This may be a hippy thing to say, but hiking through the mountains with friends (or solo) has revealed much of myself to myself. The culture, whether it be the music, the art, that local mountain accent, the goldenrod along the road, or whatever else, has left me with a deep gratitude for this place."

What are your hobbies?

"Reading, playing the bass and the ukulele, swimming, running, climbing, stand-up comedy, hiking, writing, and having deep conversations with friends!"

What is your favorite book, podcast, artist, and/or television show?

"My favorite book is 'Middlemarch' by George Eliot, favorite podcast is 'The Monday Morning Podcast' hosted by Bill Burr, favorite artist (musician?) is Chet Baker, and favorite television show is 'Futurama.'"

Tell us about one faculty or staff member that has made an impact on your life and how.

"Dr. Clark Maddux of the Watauga Residential College had a massive impact on me. His class 'Great Big Books and Big Family Dramas' reignited a love of literature in me. He taught me how to develop big ideas and express them as adequately as the English language allows. He also asked me to be his TA for a semester, where I very much enjoyed teaching a class."

What do you feel has been valuable in your education at Appalachian versus another institution?

"In my department, there is no graduate program, and thus all of the research opportunities fall to the undergraduates. This is something not available at every institution, and has allowed me to grow exponentially as an Environmental Scientist and person.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

"Graduate school, and then hopefully developing and implementing technology centered around sustainable development."


About the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Located in Western North Carolina, Appalachian State University provides the perfect setting to study geological and environmental sciences. The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences provides students with a solid foundation on which to prepare for graduate school or build successful careers as scientists, consultants and secondary education teachers. The department offers six degree options in geology and two degree options in environmental science. Learn more at

Compiled by Lauren Gibbs
January 19, 2024

CAS Corps member Key Hatch is a junior environmental science major from Charlotte. Photo by Lauren Gibbs.
Published: Jan 19, 2024 9:40am