A total of 1,260 undergraduate students and 368 graduate students have applied to receive their degrees in December. Two ceremonies will take place Dec. 15 in the Holmes Convocation Center. Both will feature student speakers:
- 10 a.m. — College of Arts and Sciences, Hayes School of Music and Walker College of Business.
- 2 p.m. — Beaver College of Health Sciences, College of Fine and Applied Arts and Reich College of Education.
Parking and transportation
Parking and shuttle service is available in the Raley Hall Circle, Stadium and Hill Street parking lots. Shuttle buses will transport to and from these lots before and after the ceremony. Additional parking is available in the Rivers Street Parking Deck (#31), but will not include shuttle service. Please follow the yellow event parking signs on campus. A map of parking locations is also available to illustrate the locations of the parking lots (in orange). The Holmes Convocation Center can be seen in the bottom right-hand corner (#34).
Parking for individuals with disabilities will be available in the lot adjacent to the Holmes Convocation Center. Traffic control personnel will be at the intersection of Rivers and Hill streets to direct persons with disability placards displayed to the appropriate parking area.
It is suggested that you are parked at least 45 minutes before Commencement is scheduled to begin to allow you enough time to get from the parking lot to the Convocation Center and find seating. While every effort is made to ensure timely arrival and departure of shuttle buses between the Convocation Center and the parking lots, please be sure you have appropriate cold weather dress, footwear and umbrellas in the event of inclement weather.
- Razan Farhan Alaqil
Razan Farhan Alaqil is receiving a Bachelor of Science in political science, international comparative politics, with a minor in global studies. She is from Al-Ahsa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She came to the United States in 2014 as a high school exchange student in the State Department’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, and then chose Appalachian to complete her bachelor’s degree. During her time at Appalachian, Alaqil was a Student Ambassador, a Cultural Ambassador, a member of the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Board for Diversity Recruitment, a member in the Muslim Student Association and a Government and Justice Studies Fellow. Alaqil has been a Saudi Youth Representative at the United Nations in different forums and functions. She said she hopes her activism of youth representation can reflect the role of Saudi youth in the world. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career either at the United Nations to serve the youth of the world, or by going home to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Shawn D. Clemons
Shawn D. Clemons is from Maiden and currently resides in Lincolnton. She is earning a Doctor of Education in educational leadership. While at Appalachian, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, an honor society based on high academic achievement. Her current research interests revolve around academic equity for students in the K–16+ learning continuum and teachers’ use of formative assessments. After graduation, Clemons plans to pursue professional opportunities that allow her to improve academic equity for all students.
- Paola A. Garcia
Paola A. Garcia was born in Sunrise, Florida, and grew up in Mooresville. She is receiving a Bachelor of Science in communication, public relations and in communication, journalism with a minor in psychology. During her time at Appalachian, she assumed many leadership roles in a variety of organizations. She is a member of the Pi Kappa Chapter of Chi Omega, where she currently serves as the national philanthropy chair. She served as vice president and social media director of Her Campus, an online women’s magazine, along with acting as social media chair for the Appalachian Competitive Club Cheer team last year. She has also been involved with several campus activities, including speaking at Appalachian’s Panorama event during spring 2017 and being a part of the UNC-Bloomberg Business diversity journalism program during summer 2018 and the Department of Communication’s honors program. Garcia’s plans after graduation are to move to Charlotte to receive her insurance license and then work as a client relations expert for a health insurance company.
- Mackenzie S. Holland
Mackenzie S. Holland, from Marion, is graduating with a Master of Business Administration. She earned her undergraduate degree in health care management from Appalachian in 2014 and went on to work at Hospice of McDowell County and later with CarePartners Health Services. It was there that she began pursuing her MBA through Appalachian’s distance education program in Hickory. Upon graduation, Holland will be using her advanced degree in a regional position with Mission Health as a post-acute transitions care manager, and will continue working with patients and families in the McDowell County area.
- Eunice C. McSwain
Eunice C. McSwain was born and raised in Gastonia. She is receiving a Bachelor of Science in recreation management with a concentration in recreation and park management, as well as a minor in media studies. While at Appalachian, McSwain spent her free time teaching swim lessons through the university; working for University Recreation; serving on the University Recreation Council as the aquatics representative; and being an active member of Kappa Delta Sorority. She also made time to travel to Australia and study recreation from an international perspective for six months. In the summer of 2018, McSwain interned for the Parks and Recreation Department of Cramerton, where she implemented seven new aquatics programs and doubled the enrollment of their summer swimming lessons. She also worked as an events intern with Pop Up Boone in the fall of 2018. Following graduation, McSwain plans on returning to Cramerton to work full time as the special events supervisor of the Parks and Recreation Department.
- Maya E. Brown-Hughston
Maya E. Brown-Hughston is from State College, Pennsylvania. She is a double major, receiving her Bachelor of Music in music education and her Bachelor of Science in child development: birth-kindergarten. During her time at Appalachian, she has been a scholarship recipient in both the Hayes School of Music (HSOM) and the Reich College of Education. She has also served as the vice president of the HSOM American String Teachers Association. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school before beginning her career in teaching.
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.