BOONE, N.C. — Members of the 2015 class of Wilson Scholars will soon arrive at Appalachian State University.
Appalachian’s leadership and service scholarship is also the university’s most prestigious full-ride, merit-based scholarship. This year’s scholars are Samuel P. Hines, a Cary Academy graduate, Sophie K. Kahn, a Chapel Hill High School graduate, Madeline G. Hamiter, a graduate of Mitchell Community College’s Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership, and Alia K. Dahlan, who graduated from the N.C. School of Science and Math.
They are among more than 1,800 applicants this year for the university’s prestigious full-ride, merit-based scholarship, which recognizes a student’s leadership and service activities and interests.
What’s in store for the Wilson Scholars
These students will begin their collegiate career at Appalachian by first spending a week on an academic trip to Paris, France, in August. They also will participate with First Year Seminar classes in reading and discussing this year’s common reading selection, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.”
When fall semester classes begin, the Wilson Scholars will embark on a personalized educational experience in and outside the classroom designed in partnership with their faculty director. As a Wilson Scholar, the students learn to incorporate their passions with their life and career goals.
They participate in specially designed seminars, engage in international experiences and design capstone projects. Each year, Wilson Scholars also focus on an area of community and self-discovery as they pursue a Certificate in Civic Engagement as part of their education at Appalachian. The certificate functions like a “minor” that gives students academic recognition for significant participation in service projects over the course of their college education. Internships, research and study abroad are also part of the Wilson Scholars experience.
Meet the 2015 Class of Wilson Scholars
Advice from other Wilson Scholars
Members of the inaugural class of Wilson Scholars, who are now sophomores at Appalachian, are Sarah Aldridge from Concord, Juliet Irving from Batesburg, South Carolina, Emma Labovitz from Salisbury and Lily Shaw from Chapel Hill. They have a wealth of experience already to share with the incoming scholars, which is also applicable to all incoming freshmen.
“My biggest advice is don’t be afraid to try something new,” Labovitz said. “College is about having novel experiences, meeting new people and stepping outside your comfort zone. It is through these experiences you can find your passions and can use the rest of college to explore these passions.”
Aldridge expressed similar sentiments. “My main advice would be to make sure you use your four years on campus to try as many new things as possible and explore as many of your passions as you can,” she said. “After one year, it’s incredible to look back and see the things I was able to do, not only because of the scholarship, but also just because of how wonderful Appalachian is, and how many opportunities there are to try new things. I can tell that these four years are going to go so fast, and I want to experience as many things as I can while I’ve got the chance!”
“Follow your passion wherever it guides you,” Irving said. “It’s important to have hopes and dreams and the scholarship helps us on that path, but we have to have the courage to follow our dreams.”
Lily Shaw urged the new Wilson Scholars to follow their dreams.
“This past year has taught me that organization and passion are all I need to turn my dreams into reality,” she said. “I used to think that internships were only allotted to upperclassmen, yet this summer I had an internship with Blue Cross Blue Shield. I had also hoped to travel to Costa Rica, yet thought that it would be too expensive. At the end of this summer, I get to do turtle conservation there without paying a penny for it, thanks to the program’s experiential learning fund.”
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About Scholarships at Appalachian
Appalachian State University offers students the opportunity to receive a world-class education at an affordable rate through various need- and merit-based scholarships. The university sets aside more than $4 million annually for scholarships, with scholarship opportunities available to incoming, current and transfer students. Appalachian’s Office of University Scholarships assists students in learning about and applying for these university scholarship opportunities and also shares information about non-Appalachian scholarships. Learn more at https://scholarships.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.