CAS Corps Feature of the Month: Andy Mendoza

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

Each month we will be introducing one of our twelve students representing the college in the 2018-19 academic year through a question and answer format. This month, meet Sophia and learn about her research experiences. For more about the CAS Corps, visit:

Andy Mendoza


Major: Cell/Molecular Biology

Minor: Chemistry

Honors College

Hometown: Durham, N.C. 

What clubs or organizations are you a member of?
PHI CHI (Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Society), the Honors College, intramural sports and ACCESS.

Sports or hobbies?
I enjoy all kinds of physical activity. I primarily play soccer, but really enjoy playing basketball and football as well. 

Scholarship(s) you have received from Appalachian or while studying at Appalachian?
ACCESS Scholarship

Location(s) you completed or will complete an internship.
I completed an internship at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) this past summer. 

Location(s)/lab(s) you conducted research.
I conduct research here at Appalachian in Dr. Zwetsloots Integrative Muscle and Physiology Lab  and have conducted research at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in Research Triangle Park. 

Location(s) you hope to go for an internship, study abroad or research experience.
I hope to study abroad in Europe sometime in the near future. 

What are you most excited about this coming semester?
I am most excited about starting my job as a resident assistant. I look forward to helping first year residents feel welcomed to App and provide resources to help them pursue their own passions.

What do you like most about Boone and the surrounding community?
Boone is a place like no other. The atmosphere is so unique and there’s just a special feeling you get being here. Students come from all kinds of different backgrounds so you get to meet a lot of interesting people and all of the locals are very kind and passionate about the area as well.

What do you feel has been valuable in your education at Appalachian versus another institution?
What I believe has been valuable in my education is that App has allowed me to think for myself and be independent. All of the professors are very knowledgeable and passionate about their fields but most importantly they want students to interact with the coursework and not just retain information for exams and immediately forget everything afterwards.    

Tell us about one faculty member that has made an impact on your life and how.
There have been so many faculty members at App that have made a significant impact on my life, but if I have to select one, I’d have to say Dr. Zwetsloot. Working in his lab has been a transformative experience for me, allowing me to apply the scientific knowledge I have gained through my coursework and seeing the real-world impacts it has. He is very passionate about research and always expects the best from his students. 

Tell us about one other connection you have made while at Appalachian - a friendship, mentor, colleague, a new found hobby or interest.
While at App I have been fortunate enough to meet two astonishing people who have taught me so much. They are driven, hardworking and passionate about their career paths. But what has left its biggest impression on me is how they practice self-care daily and remain grounded. I have been extremely fortunate to have met them and am grateful to be able to call them my friends. 

What is your understanding of "sustainability" after being at Appalachian?
Sustainability is the practice of preserving the surrounding environment based on your daily decisions. After being at App, I have learned to be much more conscience of my decisions with regards to waste. 

What is your understanding of a "liberal arts" education and do you believe Appalachian has provided that?
I consider receiving a liberal arts education as one that allows a student to be well rounded and knowledgeable about a diverse range of fields. Appalachian has done a good job of exposing me to different subjects by providing passionate professors who are very active and inspiring.  

What is your favorite space or place on campus?
The third floor of Belk library in the desks by the windows.

I find inspiration from … my parents

I recharge by . . . doing physical activities with friends 

My favorite superhero is . . . Batman

My favorite place to eat in Boone is . . . El Paso

My favorite ice cream is . . . vanilla

My spirit animal would be . . . the honey badger

My dream job would be . . . to be a physician 

Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or your experience at Appalachian?
I cannot emphasize how content I am being a student at App. There are so many astonishing people who are very passionate about their educations and want to be the best version of themselves. It is a laid-back community but still one that strives to achieve excellence. 

Andy Mendoza, Cell/Molecular Biology major, Chemistry minor. Photo by Ellen Gwin Burnette
Published: Jan 14, 2020 5:09pm