BOONE, N.C. — A military couple who served in the U.S. Navy together is now pursuing degrees in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences.
Senior Dylan Harris analyzed radar signals on a submarine and is now majoring in nutrition and foods, with a minor in chemistry, to become a registered dietician. Senior Alexandra Stivers is majoring in nursing after serving as a hospital corpsman. Their academic programs are housed in Appalachian’s new Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences.
Harris and Stivers said they were attracted to Appalachian because of its location and ties to family, and their transitions to civilian and college life have been smooth.
“I felt very supported,” Stivers said, crediting Harris, their friendships with other student veterans and the support from Appalachian.
“I was able to meet with the Student Veterans Association during orientation day and I really enjoyed having a financial aid advisor, Jennifer Coffey, who was strictly for veterans and GI benefits. She really helped me get all of my benefits and always did things in a timely manner,” she said.
“I love it here,” said Harris, noting his positive interaction with faculty, friends he’s made and life outside of school.
He, too, commented on a supportive advisor who assisted in getting previously earned credits from University of Northern Florida transferred to Appalachian, as well as frequent and useful communications from Coordinator of Student Veteran Services Eric Gormly.
Undergraduate research and experiential learning
Their majors are providing exciting opportunities:
Harris applied for and was accepted into a prestigious summer internship with the Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP) at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, where he assisted researchers in studying gene modification of soybeans. A compound produced by wild soybeans in response to a parasite has been found to have nutritional value for people, and the research team was exploring how to transfer the gene responsible for producing that compound into cultivated soybean varieties.
“It got me interested in doing research, and now I’m thinking about graduate school,” Harris said. “I definitely want to work as a registered dietician, either in a clinical or research setting.”
Through Appalachian’s nursing program, Stivers has gained well-rounded clinical experience locally and in Morganton, Winston-Salam and Hickory.
“This has given me the opportunity to see nursing care in the community and at larger scale research hospitals. I also had the opportunity to extern over the summer with Wake Forest Baptist Medical and shadow a preceptor during their shift and work alongside them with other nurses in patient care,” she said.
They said they would recommend Appalachian to other veterans "not only for the beautiful scenery and opportunity for adventure," Stivers said, "but also for the great community at App State and the open arms of the veterans association."
A Military Friendly® School
Since 2010, Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has awarded Appalachian the designation of Military Friendly® School. The designation places Appalachian in the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. For 2018, Appalachian made Victory Media’s Top 10 list, ranking No. 9 among large public universities.
About the Department of Nursing
The Department of Nursing in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences provides an evidence-based nursing education in an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment that is designed to prepare the beginning nursing professional with the knowledge and skills to practice in diverse settings in a highly complex health care system. The department offers two accredited Bachelor of Science programs: the nursing pre-licensure program and the online RN to BSN program, designed for current registered nurses seeking the bachelor’s degree. The department also offers a Master of Science in Nursing program that prepares registered nurses for leadership roles as educators. Learn more at https://nursing.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management
The Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences provides graduate and undergraduate programs. The undergraduate health care management program prepares students for entry-level management positions, while the online Master of Health Administration degree is designed for working professionals who desire to advance their careers. The undergraduate nutrition and foods program prepares students for careers in dietetics or food systems management in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, nursing homes and food banks. The highly competitive master’s degree in nutrition provides a pathway for students to become registered dietitians. Learn more at https://nhm.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry — Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers 10 undergraduate degree programs and six graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work. Learn more at https://healthsciences.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.