CAS Corps Feature: Luke Darney

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:

Luke Darney

Year: Junior
Major: Chemistry (Biochemistry)
Hometown: Cary, N.C.

Which clubs or organizations are you a member of?

  • Appalachian Chemical Society

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

  • Appalachian Excellence Scholarship

What research or coursework have you been most passionate about?

"My research in the lab of Dr. Brooke Christian using a protein from tardigrades to stabilize protein based therapeutics."

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

"I hope to be selected for an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) and do an internship over the summer at another university."

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

"The library because it is where I do my school work and studying. While I enjoy lectures, there's something special to seeing an idea and taking my time to really get it. Working over that bump to finally understand a difficult concept is very rewarding, which is why I have a lot of positive thoughts towards the library."

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

"One of my favorite memories at Appalachian thus far was when I was in the gym and got a text from a friend of mine that she is going to be late to the chemistry club meeting where I am president for. My reminder on my phone didn't go off, and I had ten minutes to be there. I was dripping sweat, ran to my dorm, showered as quickly as I could, and literally ran to Garwood Hall. I looked like a fool running across campus with my backpack full of things, but I tried so hard to get there on time. I finally got there with just twenty seconds before the meeting was set up. Out of breath, I told my club that I had made it on time in a joking manner. I felt really bad, and it was a bad look for me to be one of the last people there as the president. Especially since we had guest speakers from industry that were going to give presentations, and I wasn't there to help them set up. But instead of outrage, people started clapping and someone jokingly called me the 'people's president.' It felt really good to see that the club was behind me even though I messed up. They saw my efforts and that I was human and made light of an embarrassing situation. It really shows how great the community at App State and in the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences is."

What do you like about Boone and the surrounding community?

"I love the beautiful views. I can look outside at any point, whether I am studying, on my phone, or sleeping and it is just beautiful."

What are your hobbies?

"I do obstacle course races."

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

"My favorite TV show is 'Psych.'"

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

"One faculty member that has made an impact on my life is Dr. Brooke Christian. I work in her research lab. Almost every week day I am in her office, discussing interpretations of data and plans for the future. She always guides me through the process, allowing me to grow critical thinking about what I have done, what I will do, and considerations for each. All the while keeping me on the right track. This really helps with me growing as a researcher. She is also a great person and fun to talk to. Dr. Christian has also helped me apply for internships and with classes to take."

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

"An invaluable aspect of Appalachian State is the approachability of professors and smaller classroom sizes. This individualized attention has helped me so much in my understanding of my classes. At any point, I can raise my hand and ask a question, and I know that the question will be heard and explained during class. After class, it is guaranteed that if I need further explanation after still struggling with something that the professor will be there to help."

What do you hope to do after graduation?

"After graduation, I hope to go to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry."


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

Compiled by Lauren Gibbs
March 1, 2024

CAS Corps member Luke Darney is a junior chemistry major from Cary. Photo submitted
Published: Mar 1, 2024 7:55am