CAS Corps Member Avery Hodgson Receives Mountaineer Medics Service Award

BOONE, N.C. — Avery Hodgson, junior biology major from Linwood and member of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Corps, is the recipient of the 2023-24 Jay Kerley EMS Service Award. Hodgson received the award for his work as a member of Mountaineer Medics, App State’s career development and emergency medical service (EMS) program.

The Mountaineer Medics program is managed by full-time staff members in Environmental Health, Safety, and Emergency Management (EHS&EM). In the program, undergraduate and graduate students with Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) credentials work part-time to provide basic life support services to the App State community. The program functions as a Basic Life Support service in the Watauga County EMS system. Through the program, students gain practical experience in the emergency medical field while also increasing the campus community’s access to pre-hospital care.

The Jay Kerley EMS Service Award is named in honor of Jay Kerley '07, a valued EHS&EM team member who was lost last year when he was struck and killed by an impaired driver on his way to work. Kerley served as the Watauga County Assistant Fire Marshal, and was originally tasked with developing Mountaineer Medics. He served in a variety of public safety roles in the community, both paid and volunteer, prior to joining the EHS&EM team as the Life and Safety Coordinator in March of 2022.

"Jay had a very outgoing personality and was highly committed to public service. He was quick to volunteer for additional duties, dedicated to helping people in their worst moments, and continuously working to grow his professional knowledge, skills, and abilities. This is the top award given by our agency, and is only issued to one medic per year," shared Jason Marshburn, director of EHS&EM.

In selecting the recipient of this award, the selection committee considered five key criteria which Kerley personified: Service, Commitment, Character, Leadership, and Engagement. According to Marshburn, the review process was difficult, as there were many strong candidates under consideration. However, after a thorough review, one student clearly stood out to the committee.

Marshburn wrote, "Avery Hodgson has exemplified and embodied the areas of Service, Commitment, Character, Leadership, and Engagement. He has dedicated time to learning skills and gaining knowledge on how to provide better patient care. Avery consistently spends time with professional staff members during the day (on a voluntary basis) to learn and assist with emergency calls for service. He has been very supportive of the team and is always eager to help. He has shown up early to work assignments to assist with setup and preparation. Related, he has participated in volunteer opportunities such as the community's 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. He has also demonstrated excellent patient care skills, and even more importantly, very strong character. He has a natural ability to talk with people and not only treat their illness/injury, but also connect with them and make them feel comfortable and supported. Avery does not have to be reminded to complete tasks, and takes extra to ensure excellence in all that he does."

CAS congratulates Hodgson on this honor and thanks him for his service to the community as a Mountaineer Medic.


About the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management (EHS&EM)
The Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management (EHS&EM) at Appalachian State University works in coordination with other university departments to support App State's commitment to campus safety. The office’s primary responsibility is environmental health, safety and emergency management functions across App State’s Boone and Hickory campuses. EHS&EM also coordinates App State’s on-campus emergency medical service (EMS) program, Mountaineer Medics, which provides emergency medical care and support to the App State Community. Learn more at

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

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

By Lauren Andersen
December 19, 2023

Avery Hodgson, junior biology major from Linwood and member of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Corps
Published: Dec 19, 2023 11:30am