July 15, 2020

Honors Monthly Memo

Opportunities and Information for Honors Students

edited by Lakin Stevens and Brad Rentz

Volume 3, Issue 34

July 15, 2020


Message from Dean Jeff Vahlbusch

Dear Honors College students, parents, faculty, supporters, friends,

We recently finished summer orientation at Appalachian—a time of joy and anticipation even when done remotely—and I want to celebrate and welcome the largest entering Honors College cohort in recent memory: 151 great new students will join us this fall to pursue a first-rate education in an Honors College and Honors community striving to be a national model for excellence in Honors education.

I also want to acknowledge the extraordinary uncertainty that we all—students and parents especially, but also faculty and staff across the university—are feeling and, yes, suffering under. It’s mid-July, and we don’t and can’t yet know exactly how everything will be and work when our fall semester starts in just over one month. I can say that, with each day, thanks to the amazing dedicated work of many, many colleagues on campus and in Boone and Watauga County over the past four months, our expertise and level of preparedness for a successful fall semester are growing impressively. We will make this a great semester, whatever forms and formats it eventually takes.

These are challenging days for all of us, with no easy end to the challenges in sight. But my comfort is this:  Honors students are wonderfully good at turning difficulties and uncertainties into real gains. So let’s rise to these challenges together, and work together, to keep ourselves, our lives and educations, and our communities, safe and growing and moving forward.

Students and parents:  I’m always ready to talk. Please reach out if you'd like to connect by email, phone, or Zoom.


Jeff Vahlbusch, Dean 



Honors students are finding, or in some cases making, positivity in an unclear time. HWM editor Brad Rentz visited this sunflower patch in Stokesdale, NC (left photo).  Rising sophomore and new addition to the HWM Lakin Stevens is growing lemon trees from seeds (right photo).


Upcoming Opportunities:

A Call for Papers

The Lloyd International Honors College calls for papers for their first edition of Y Ddraig Goch: An Interdisciplinary Honors Journal, which aims to provide undergraduates with a platform for interdisciplinary research. This special edition will focus on topics of race and the environment. Submit your paper by September 11, 2020 to be considered! To learn more about the journal and application process, visit our website.

Appalachian Global Symposium: Proposal Submissions

The Office of International Education and Development is hosting its eighth annual Appalachian Global Symposium on Wednesday October 28, 2020. The symposium will provide a platform to highlight the global education activities or research of Appalachian students, faculty, and staff. Submissions are due by September 12, 2020 and you can learn more by clicking here

Career Meetups

The Career Development Center is continuing to offer several Zoom sessions to help students practice career readiness skills. These are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 2:00 pm. Access the Career Meetups log in Handshake to view the Zoom links. More information can be found by visiting our website.

How to Register to Vote or Update Voter Registration

2020 is a presidential election year and student voters are one of the most important groups to engage for voter turnout! Registering to vote can be done online and if you are already registered, make sure your registration is updated to your current address. For specific details click here!


Stay in the Know:

Turchin Center Visits Reimagined

During the current times, the Turchin Center galleries has created a new way to enjoy and experience the art galleries. A digital experience entitled “Connections” is now available that features the exhibition currently on view in the Meyer Gallery. Check out the Turchin Center’s online and in-person options here.

Wellness & Prevention Summer Services

Throughout the summer, Wellness & Prevention Services is continuing to serve students through several events and services including: Racial Trauma Healing Space, Virtual Wellness Coaching, and many more. Read through the options on our website to join in! 

Book Talk – Junaluska: Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community

Susan Keefe, editor of the book Junaluska: Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community, is joining us for a conversation with panel participants moderated by Kim Sims. Official registration ended Monday, July 13th at 5:00 pm. Honors students may register up until Wednesday, July 15th 4:00 pm by emailing honors@appstate.edu. The virtual event will take place on Zoom on July 15th at 4:00 pm. Read more on our website here.

Running and Hiding from the Nazis: A Holocaust Child Survivor Gives Testimony

The Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies is continuing to offer several free online public programs. The first of which is a conversation between Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, child survivor, and Dr. Thomas Pegelow Kaplan, Center Director. The program will begin on Monday, July 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm through Zoom. More details about the event can be found here.

Wellness Trivia Continues!

Gather a team and meet via Zoom to compete in various trivia rounds. Hop in every Monday night at 8:00 pm and learn more here.


In the Honors Spotlight

Isy Kaczmarek Spends her Summer with the Raleigh Little Theatre



Photo above features Isy Kaczmarek directing at Athens Drive High School. Photo submitted.


Isy Kaczmarek, a rising honors sophomore theatre education major, is using her time this summer to volunteer with the Raleigh Little Theatre (RLT) working to enrich and engage children’s lives through acting and playwriting. Originally planning to be a Teaching Assistant with RLT, Kaczmarek has displayed adaptability by continuing as a volunteer. She stated, “I am more than excited that we still get to have the camps, even if the experience won’t be exactly the same.” Kaczmarek has exemplified what it means to be an Honors College student with service work and making the most of opportunities when life does not go as planned.

To read the full article by Honors alumnus Stephen Justice ‘20, click here!


Honors Alumnus Stephen J. Dubner Challenges Graduates to “Do Wild Things” 


The screenshot above features Honors graduate Stephen J. Dubner ‘84 during their speech at Appalachian State University’s Spring 2020 Virtual Commencement, which can be viewed here.


Appalachian and Honors alumnus Stephen J. Dubner addressed graduates during the Spring 2020 Virtual Commencement. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality best known for co-authoring the book series “Freakonomics.” In his speech, Dubner challenged graduates to look at the current COVID-19 situation as a chance to “do something wild that you, and only you, can do.” With the world undergoing a pandemic, students are faced with a future they never predicted. In typical Honors fashion, Dubner emphasized the importance of finding the right challenge and making the most out of the situation.

For more on Stephen J. Dubner, visit our website.

To Stay in the Know and Learn About All Opportunities in Honors, please visit https://honors.appstate.edu/announcements


Appalachian State Honors College on Social Media!

Check us out on Instagram also! Find us by searching “Appalachian Honors College”


Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook at Appalachian Honors: https://www.facebook.com/Appalachian-Honors-482157301971520/ 



Have news to share? Submissions to the Honors Wednesday Memo can be made by emailing honors@appstate.edu. Any content received by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday will be considered for the following week’s issue.