Meet the 2021-22 Education Peer Ambassadors

The Education Peer Ambassador Program is a unique leadership opportunity for students of undergraduate teacher education programs at Appalachian State University. In their role, they support fellow students by working at the front desk in the James Center for Student Success and Advising as well as serve as hosts to prospective students and guests of the Reich College of Education.  They assist at all of our recruitment events and provide building tours to prospective students, donors, and faculty candidates.

This fall there are 22 Education Peer Ambassadors. Each ambassador brings their own perspective as a student to the program. The James Center looks for a variety of education majors to provide a well-rounded group of ambassadors. Meet all of the ambassadors and learn why they chose to come to Appalachian, what or who inspired them to become an educator, and why they wanted to be an ambassador for the Reich College of Education. 

There are two open houses this fall: Saturday, October 2 (in person) and Saturday, October 16 (virtual). Learn more about scheduling a tour

Questions? Please contact Octavia Little for more information.

Meet Riley Barnes

Riley Barnes

Riley Barnes is an elementary education major from Clayton, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“Watching my mom teach for over 20 years has allowed me to learn first-hand how truly important it is to ignite the flame of curiosity and the passion for learning within students.”

Why Appalachian?

“I've always known App State has had an excellent teacher education program, but once I set foot on campus, it immediately felt like home.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“My position allows me to work alongside the people in my major and to dive headfirst into what the RCOE has to offer!”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Don't be afraid to get more involved in the RCOE! Everyone here is so kind and beyond willing to help- there's something here for everyone, and the Appalachian Educators Club has truly allowed me to involve myself with the people in my major!”

Meet Victoria (Tori) Borgia

Tori Borgia

Tori Borgia is a theatre education major from Troutman, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I always tell people that I chose theatre education because my high school drama class was where I learned to be human. I was taught to listen, empathize, lead, and so many other skills I will take with me for the rest of my life. My goal is to pass on those same skills to my future students.”

Why Appalachian?

“Appalachian felt like home the minute I stepped onto campus. I immediately felt connected to both the education and theatre program here, and I knew that Boone is where I belong. I love the atmosphere and opportunity Appalachian offers to each of their students.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I chose to become an Education Peer Ambassador to bring a different perspective to the James Center. As a theatre education major, my education plan is structured differently than more common majors such as elementary ed. I want to be able to help students in ed majors similar to mine in find guidance using a plan that is adapted for their major.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“GET INVOLVED! No matter your major, there's a way for you to get involved at Appalachian. These next 4 years will teach you so much about who you are and how you want to run your classroom. Making connections and relationships now with peers (and professors) will be extremely beneficial to you for not only your social life but maybe your career down the road!”

Meet Armissa Bowles

Armissa Bowles

Armissa Bowles is a mathematics secondary education major from Advance, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I always found myself wanting to play school and pretend to be the teacher. I also helped my teachers whenever I could.”

Why Appalachian?

“I love the mountains, especially in the fall when the leaves change. Appalachian is also the first in the state for education majors.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to get to work more in the RCOE and form relationships with the staff. It also gives me the opportunity to meet more education majors and make friends.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Make connections with your professors, advisors, and students within your major.”

Meet Brooke Bryant

Brooke Bryant

Brooke Bryant is an English secondary education major from Bailey, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“My passion for the subject of English and all that it includes as well as the promising ability to be a lasting figure in a student’s life, both in the present and future, assured me that education was the field meant for me.”

Why Appalachian?

“Of all of my various campus tours, the moment I stepped foot onto Appalachian’s campus, I felt at home. Besides that, I met tons of people, both students, and faculty, who showed me that Appalachian’s main goal was for their students to be successful as well as form connections.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to show others just how rewarding being an education major is, as well as assist both current and prospective students in any way I can.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Appalachian is ‘First In Teaching’ for a reason! Know that without a doubt, you will receive the best education possible. A little stress is okay because it shows you care and makes you work hard, but too much stress is detrimental to you. Take a breath and enjoy watching you and those around you grow!”

Meet Ryan Carter

Ryan Carter

Ryan Carter is a mathematics secondary education major from Lewisville, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“Teachers have been a steady support throughout my life, so I decided that I wanted to be that support for a student who may need it.”

Why Appalachian?

“I was always told Appalachian was the place for teachers. But after a trip to visit with my high school, Appalachian just felt like home to me.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to pass along my amazing experience with Appalachian as it relates to education.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“To keep a positive and flexible attitude towards everything you encounter.”

Meet Elena (Lena) Curelop

Lena Curelop

Lena Curelop is a special education major from Hillsborough, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher due to my love of working with kids. The summer going into my sophomore year I got the opportunity to go to South Africa and work at a school for students with downs syndrome which further validates my love for teaching and the group of students I want to work with.”

Why Appalachian?

“I chose Appalachian State after a year at UNCC due to my love for the outdoors as well as the copious opportunities offered through Reich College of Education.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to be an Education Peer Ambassador in order to further immerse myself in the education community and help others through the process as well. I know things can get confusing and want to be an easily accessible peer to help others and make connections with those in the education community.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“As a transfer student, I know it can be really scary entering a new place where you don't know anyone. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and take advantage of every opportunity provided for you, everyone in the James Center and RCOE is here to help and wants you to succeed!”

Meet Jordan (JoJo) Dennison

Jojo Dennison

JoJo Dennison is an elementary education major from Asheville, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“Becoming a teacher is my calling because I have a strong passion for culture and education. Working with children brings me unimaginable joy. The happiness I feel when I look at children who are connecting with one another or learning an important concept proves to me that I am in a career field that is perfect for me.”

Why Appalachian?

“Appalachian State was my first college choice because it has a rigorous, hands-on school of education with many opportunities for me to grow. I want the best education for myself, and I want the best education for others. Earning an elementary education degree from Appalachian State will give me the skills I need to be an approachable, inspiring, understandable, and thought-provoking teacher.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to become an Education Peer Ambassador because my first semester at Appalachian was tough. I was having a difficult time adjusting and fitting in with the App State community, but the only place where I could take a breath was in the Reich College of Education. I knew that being involved with the college would help me feel comfortable in my own skin.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“To the prospective students, Appalachian is first in education. If you want a course of study tailored to your needs as a learner and future teacher this is absolutely the place to be. I can say beyond a reasonable doubt that the Reich College of Education is my home. Everyone in the college is very nice, and it is never too early to start making connections. So, reach out, study hard, and thrive at App!”

Meet Kate Duran Rivera

Kate Duran-Rivera

Kate Duran Rivera is a middle grades education major from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“Middle school is the stage in which kids start going through various changes. It’s the stage before they go into high school and have to start making important decisions. By teaching middle school I hope to be able to positively guide students through that stage.”

Why Appalachian?

“The scenery and welcoming community!”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to become an Education Peer Ambassador to share my love for Appalachian with prospective students. When I was in high school they played a big role in me coming to school here.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Build relationships with faculty and staff.”

Meet Jenny Eure

Jenny Eure

Jenny Eure is an elementary education major from Pfafftown, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“When I was in seventh grade, I thought my math teacher, Ms. Gupton, was the coolest person in the world, and I wanted to grow up and be just like her. It was her first year of teaching, but her passion for teaching and helping her students made her an excellent teacher already, and I strive to be just like her.”

Why Appalachian?

“I was looking for a small close-knit community, and I found that in the Reich College of Education. I am surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate about teaching, but I am also constantly challenged to be a better person by my professors and peers.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I remember talking to the EPAs when I was visiting Appalachian, and hearing their experiences really helped me imagine being a student here. My experiences with the EPAs heavily influenced my decision to come here because it made me excited about being a student here, and I want to show incoming students why they should choose Appalachian.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“An important part of being a good teacher is getting help from your colleagues. The same is true about being an education major. Your peers will be your best friends, biggest supporters, and best resource.”

Meet Elizabeth (Liz) Jenkins

Liz Jenkins

Liz Jenkins is a child development: birth-kindergarten major from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“My first grade teacher Ms. Dancy really cared about me and made a difference in my life. I owe it to her for a lot of the reasons that I want to be a teacher. Since then, I have never wanted another career besides teaching. I've always had a heart for young children and making a difference in their lives early on.”

Why Appalachian?

“I chose Appalachian because it felt like my home away from home. The education program is amazing and the most enriching. Appalachian stressed the importance of teachers and they recognize the work teachers do.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to become an Education Peer Ambassador because I wanted to meet prospective students and their families and tell them how great Appalachian and the College of Education is. I also wanted to represent the Reich College of Education and help others along the way.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“I would tell them to really dive into the Reich College of Education and get involved with the wonderful programs and opportunities they offer. The faculty and staff within the college love to build relationships with students.”

Meet Isabel (Isy) Kaczmarek

Isy Kaczmsrek

Isabel (Isy) Kaczmarek is a theatre education major from Cary, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I always wanted to be a teacher since I was in middle school, I have always loved learning and I know I would constantly learn and have the opportunity to promote education if I became an educator. It wasn't until I met my high school theatre, Mrs. Ashlynn Hayes, that I realized exactly what I wanted to teach, and from then on out I knew I was going to be a theatre educator.”

Why Appalachian?

“Appalachian provided a unique opportunity for me to major in specifically theatre education, as well as be a part of ACES (Appalachian Community of Education Scholars).”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“The first reason I wanted to be an EPA was because when I first came to Appalachian, the Education Peer Ambassadors provided a welcoming and exciting atmosphere that I want to continue to uphold for future App students. The second reason I wanted to be an EPA was because I wanted the arts to have more representation in the Reich College of Education.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Make sure you go to clubs, meetings, auditions, and professional developments. If it interests you, take this opportunity to learn and grow alongside your peers. But, remember to prioritize your health as well, don't overwhelm yourself with too many responsibilities.”

Meet Keziah Lacey

Keziah Lacey

Keziah Lacey is an elementary education major from Nasha, New Hampshire.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I wanted to become a teacher because of my third grade teacher. She is the most kind-hearted and friendly person and I want to be that person to my future students.”

Why Appalachian?

“I fell in love with this school because of the location and education program.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I want to be as helpful as I can be to prospective and future students of Appalachian.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Get involved as much as you can! I got involved with the App Educators and it gave me so many opportunities within the Reich College of Education.”

Meet Sydney McKeaver

Sydney McKeaver

Sydney McKeaver is an elementary education major from Siloam, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I have always wanted to be a teacher, but as I got older it became clear to me that I wanted to become a teacher to make a difference in my students’ lives. My mom is an elementary school teacher and she inspired me to become a teacher myself. I am passionate about making a difference in the world and becoming a teacher will allow me to do so.”

Why Appalachian?

“The first time I visited Boone and Appalachian State, it truly felt like home and I knew I wanted to be here. ASU is first for teaching and I knew that this program would be great!”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I was a Student Ambassador at Surry Community College before I transferred to Appalachian State and I loved being in that position. I am passionate about helping others and being an Education Peer Ambassador allows me to do so. Throughout this position, I can get more involved and help other students!”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are so many wonderful people here at ASU and the Reich College of Education that truly care about students and their success. Most importantly, don’t let anyone discourage you if teaching is truly what you want to do.”

Meet Tymber Morrison

Tymber Morrison

Tymber Morrison is an elementary education major from Winston Salem, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“My mom has always been my inspiration for becoming a teacher. She is an amazing educator and I continue to look up to her every day. I grew up watching her make a difference in her students' lives, and this passion was definitely passed down to me.”

Why Appalachian?

“Appalachian is first for teaching! I couldn't think of a better school to attend. Along with that, the community here at App is always welcoming. I knew App was my home after my first tour.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I want to help future educators continue to realize what an amazing profession they are getting into. Every student needs to feel secure in their choice and supported by their peers in the Reich College of Ed, and being an EPA is a great way to show my support and passion.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't follow your passions of being an educator. Follow your heart and be true to yourself! Get involved, get involved, get involved. Your time here at App becomes so much more fun when you have a support system along the way.”

Meet Sarah Naughton

Sarah Naughton

Sarah Naughton is a mathematics secondary education major from Harrisburg, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“My pre-calculus professor Dr. Erica Slate-Young.”

Why Appalachian?

“I chose Appalachian because it always felt like home to me. I loved the campus and knew I would fit right in.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I always understood math really well, and would tutor my friends in High School, teaching math was something I always wanted to do ever since I was little.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Always go to office hours, even if you do not have questions. Stopping by office hours helps form relationships with your professors which will allow you to feel more comfortable in their classes.”

Meet Kat Patterson

Kat Patterson

Kat Patterson is an elementary education major from Cary, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a small kid, I played school with my dolls often. As I got older I realized I have a passion for helping others succeed. Nothing is more satisfying than helping another person. Being a teacher is one of the few jobs where every day you will be working with kids to help them be the best version of themselves.”

Why Appalachian?

“I have felt at home in the mountains my entire life, both of my parents attended here and we came here often growing up. I love how fresh the mountain air feels and its beautiful surroundings make it hard to have bad weeks, there is always something good to find.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to be an Education Peet Ambassador because I am passionate about App State. I am only a sophomore and I have already been provided with a mountain of resources and opportunities you can't find anywhere else.  I want to tell incoming freshmen about what we have to offer to help them find their homes!”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“My advice is to get involved in any way you can, find a club or sport, or something to do outside of your classes because that is really how you find your people.”

Meet Lauren Selbach

Lauren Selbach

Lauren Selbach is a special education major from Winston Salem, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“Growing up I was in class with a boy who has autism. I got to know his aid and him very well over the years and from a very young age became very interested in students with disabilities. Being able to form that relationship and understanding early on allowed me to want to help others and ultimately become a teacher.”

Why Appalachian?

“I chose Appalachian because from the moment I stepped on campus I felt at home. Everyone was so welcoming and the college of education was so passionate about what they did I knew it was where I belonged.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to become an Education Peer Ambassador because the Reich College of Education has given me so many incredible opportunities I wanted to be able to share them with incoming and prospective students.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“My advice would be to put yourself out there and form relationships with your professors. I have yet to meet a professor that doesn't want the best for you and if you ask for help and reach out they will be more than willing to help you be successful.”

Meet Sara Shepherd

Sara Shepherd

Sara Shepherd is an English secondary education major from Waxhaw, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“My ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Ramsey, is who inspired me to become a teacher. She became far more than just a former teacher to me; she is both a mentor and a friend. Her wisdom and guidance - not just in regard to school but in life - changed me forever and it is my greatest wish that I will one day be able to impact my students in the same way she impacted me.”

Why Appalachian?

“I chose to transfer to Appalachian firstly because of the education program. The headmaster from my high school told me that the teaching candidates they saw from Appalachian always stood out among others for their creativity and knowledge. Coming from The University of Alabama, I desired a school that moved at a different pace. Everything is a bit more laid back in the mountains, and balance felt totally obtainable here.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to become an Education Peer Ambassador to help guide students toward choosing a career that ignites their passions. My journey to becoming a teacher was far from traditional, so I recognize and understand the fears and concerns that can come with it. At the end of the day, it comes down to making sure the desires of each student are met and they are making decisions that fulfill their own dreams. I am here to support them, help them navigate the process and provide advice if they ever need a listening ear.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“1) Take your education classes as early as possible. This will help you meet friends who are pursuing the same career as you. 

2) It's never too early to start building your resumé for graduate schools or first jobs - get involved!

3) If you can, take a minor. Since it's not always required, I recommend taking a minor in something besides that interests you. College is one of the easiest opportunities to expand your knowledge about your interests. 

4) Remember that your decision to be an educator is about two people: you and your future students.”

Meet Kate Smith

Kate Smith

Kate Smith is a special education major from Matthews, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“The reason I want to become a teacher is so that I can create a safe and comfortable space for those who may not have that at home. I want to give students confidence in themselves through learning so that they can be the best of what they can be. Students deserve to be treated equally to everyone else no matter what background or disability and I want to be able to provide that to my students.”

Why Appalachian?

“I chose Appalachian because of all of the amazing teachers that I have had through my early education, these teachers were the ones that I could truly connect with. Appalachian started as a teaching college and has so many high standards for its teachers which is something so inspiring for a future educator. Also, I love football, and what better football family than App State!”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to become an Education Peer Ambassador so that I can tell all future educators that Appalachian is the place to be. If you want to be an amazing teacher who impacts student's lives, our professors will be teaching you how while they impact your own life.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“A tip I have for first-year students and/or transfer students who are majoring in education is to make sure you are using all of the resources that are provided to you including the James Center, professional development, special speakers, etc. There are so many opportunities in the College of Education that can make you the amazing teacher you dream of being.”

Meet Savannah Wallace

Savannah Wallace

Savannah Wallace is a history, social studies secondary education major from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I have always felt a calling to go into education (especially since I come from a family filled with teachers!)”

Why Appalachian?

“Being from the Outer Banks, I wanted to live in a new environment and the mountains definitely were calling!”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I have always wanted to get involved in the University and I love to help others who may need help or guidance.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“There are so many people within the education program, from fellow peers to professors, that are willing to support you and are always willing to help you if you are ever confused. Also the workout you get up the stairs in RCOE at 9:00 am will be like none other!”

Meet Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a mathematics secondary education major from Winston Salem, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“Teaching is an important career that I have always respected! I want to be able to support people, the way that my teachers have supported me.”

Why Appalachian?

“It felt the most like home, my siblings went here, and every interaction I had at App was so warm!”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I wanted to tell potential students why App was right for me, and help those students make their big decision.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Enjoy college while you are here, and try to get decent sleep so you can be mentally present during your classes.”

Meet Hannah Wright

Hannah Wright

Hannah Wright is an elementary education major from Durham, North Carolina.

What or who made you want to become a teacher?

“I have always had so many teachers who cared about my well-being, both inside the class and outside, and have made such an impact on my life and my peers and I want to be able to do the same for others!”

Why Appalachian?

“When I first toured the campus, I felt such a strong sense of community and devotion to education and I knew that Appalachian was where I needed to be.”

Why did you want to become an Education Peer Ambassador?

“I have received so much help from the Reich College of Education and from the James Center, and I want to be able to return the favor. I loved the community that I found in the College of Education and I wanted to become a part of it.”

What tips or advice do you have for incoming freshmen and/or transfer students about majoring in education?

“Get involved and get to know the people and resources inside the College of Education! There are so many events, programs, clubs, and resources with helpful information for your future career in education!”


Education Peer Ambassadors
Published: Sep 28, 2021 4:28pm

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