BOONE—In May, Leah Connell ’16 accepted her diploma, a bachelor’s degree in communications sciences and disorders from the Beaver College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University. She said her experience at the university exceeded expectations. In fact, she said, she had such a good experience, she will pursue her master’s in speech-language pathology here.
Appalachian has been on her radar since high school. “Appalachian was the only place I applied because I knew that’s where I wanted to go. In high school, I researched online the North Carolina schools that offered speech pathology,” Connell explained. And when she visited here, she found everyone especially friendly and she committed to college life 300 miles from her home in New Bern.
Connell was a Balfour Beatty Scholarship recipient and participated in the university’s Honors College, which offers an enhanced intellectual experience for the most academically motivated students on campus through a curriculum that includes interdisciplinary and discussion-based seminars. In addition to a challenging academic load, she worked part time at local retailers and with the Duke University Talent Identification Program (DukeTIP), a non-profit organization dedicated to serving academically gifted and talented youth.
Connell said she loved the Boone area and all the outdoor opportunities but she urged prospective students to look beyond their immediate borders. “Take advantage of the study-abroad opportunities available at Appalachian,” she said. “I was able to travel to Austria and the Dominican Republic. I was able to learn so much firsthand through those programs.”
When Connell explored graduate programs in speech-language pathology, she found many programs to be cost prohibitive. Fortunately, she applied and received assistance for the master’s program at Appalachian. “The financial assistance helped a lot in my decision. The less debt I can graduate with, the quicker I can have a normal life,” she said.
Connell also said the department has recently hired new faculty she is “looking forward to working with in the coming years and whose qualifications and specializations will add an increased breadth of knowledge to the program.”
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational 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 embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.