BOONE, N.C. — Jevaughney “Jay” Francis, a sophomore industrial design major at Appalachian State University, has been named as one of four 2019 National Transfer Student Ambassadors by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS).
Francis, who came to Appalachian from Wake Technical Community College in fall 2017, was selected through a national competition recognizing outstanding transfer students. Nominees were asked to submit a letter of recommendation, resume and both a written and video response describing their transfer journey, advocacy efforts on behalf of transfers, and how their personal interests match the ambassador opportunity.
His story and commitment to education separated his application from the rest, according to Dr. Janet Marling, executive director for NISTS.
Originally from Jamaica, Francis moved to Raleigh with his family in 2007.
“From a young age, education has always been the focus of my life,” he said in his video submission. “I believe as humans we never stop growing and learning. I believe we can always learn from others. Other transfer students may not have the exact same life experience as me, but they can take motivation from my life values and experience.”
According to a NISTS news release, Francis had a specific major in mind but was disappointed to learn late in the enrollment cycle he did not have the prerequisite skills. He ultimately began his journey at Wake Technical Community College, where he grew academically and personally and eventually learned that the key to success is asking for and accepting help.
Francis encourages new students to get out of their comfort zones and create meaningful connections to others, according to NISTS. “Yes, transfer students are in a new, unfamiliar environment,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean they can’t put their best foot forward.”
At Appalachian, Francis is studying industrial design with a concentration in product design. He has been part of a residential learning community for transfers and serves as a Transfer Student Mentor, known for his charisma and passion for helping others.
Transfer Student Mentors assist incoming transfer students by providing information and helping them become connected with the Appalachian Community and campus. They also visit community colleges, lead campus tours, reach out to admitted students, and support Transfer Student Orientation and transfer student events. In the process, the mentors develop skills in leadership, mentorship, communication and public speaking, and strengthen their sense of identity as a member of the Appalachian Community. Among his mentor responsibilities, Francis oversees the program’s Instagram account, which includes “transfer tips” — advice for incoming and current students.
Francis was nominated for the award by Jane Rex, Appalachian’s director of transfer services.
“Jay’s unique background and educational pathway enable him to understand and value a wide variety of student experiences. As a result, Jay is able to develop meaningful connections with the students with whom he interacts,” Rex said.
“Making connections early on in the transfer process is key to a smooth transition to Appalachian and Jay took advantage of every opportunity to become involved when he transferred to Appalachian. His knowledge of the transfer process and his unassuming and friendly approach makes all students feel welcome at Appalachian.”
Francis will be honored Feb. 13, 2019, during the opening session of the 17th Annual Conference of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the Intercontinental Buckhead hotel in Atlanta.
Through education, research and advocacy, the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) brings together higher education practitioners, researchers, faculty, policymakers and administrators to explore the pressing issues and obstacles related to transfer student success. The organization equips professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to actively advocate for transfer students, challenge the status quo and reach beyond specific roles to develop holistic, inclusive and seamless student experiences. Learn more at https://www.nists.org
About the Office of Transfer Services
Appalachian State University’s Office of Transfer Services provides the knowledge and resources necessary to empower students through their Appalachian journey by advocating and collaborating to build the bridges necessary for student transition, integration and success. The office provides services for credit evaluation and credit acquisition, transfer advising, mentoring, transitional support, engagement and retention. Recognizing the diversity of transfer students and the wide spectrum of questions and needs, the office supports students’ transition and acclimation to Appalachian through various programming, technology and dedicated customer service support. Learn more at https://transfer.appstate.edu.
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 more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.