Nine Reich College of Education (RCOE) students were recognized by Appalachian State University’s Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies for the Spring 2022 semester.
Cratis D. Williams Society of Outstanding Graduates
Mariann King, a student in the Master of Arts in student affairs administration program, and Syndey Shadrick, a student in the Master of Arts in reading education program, were inducted into the Cratis D. Williams Society of Outstanding Graduates. The society is designed to include each year’s top graduates of the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School at Appalachian State University – approximately the top 2%. Students are chosen based upon their academic performance, their engagement in their discipline, and their potential for leadership.
King, originally from Siler City, North Carolina, completed her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from App State. She was introduced to the field of student affairs administration when she worked as a resident assistant as an undergraduate student.
“I discovered a new aspect of education, and I fell in love,” said King. “I know that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing - teaching and supporting students!”
For King, receiving this award is truly an honor. “I have always pushed myself so hard academically, and sometimes it feels like this work can go unnoticed because it happens in quiet corners of the library and by burning the midnight oil.”
“I also want to acknowledge that learning is a community endeavor and that I could not have achieved this accomplishment without support from my professors, mentors, supervisors, friends, classmates, family, and my faith,” she continued. “Finally, this award demonstrates my love for learning and academics, something that I hope to hold onto as I leave the academic space and enter the professional workplace.”
After graduating, King will be a community director at Elon University. “While I am so sad to be leaving Appalachian, I am excited for the adventures that lie ahead. I know that I have been prepared for what comes next, and I hope to make my double alma mater proud!”
Shadrick, originally from Lake Zurich, Illinois, completed her Bachelor of Science in special education from App State. Since her first year as an undergraduate student, she has worked with Dr. David Koppenhaver, a professor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education, conducting research in literacy.
“I am extremely passionate about teaching reading and writing and working towards equity through a literacy education,” said Shadrick. “This award reaffirmed my passion, further inspiring me to continue this journey.”
“The choice to begin research with my amazingly supportive team was the greatest decision I have made,” she added.
After graduation, Shadrick will return to her home state to teach special education in Chicago Public Schools. She plans to continue furthering her education in a doctoral degree program.
Domer Research Award
Bronwyn Harris, a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Education in educational leadership program, received the Domer Research Award. This award was established to provide assistance for thesis research/scholarly activities expenses or for travel expenses incurred by graduate students who wish to attend a conference to present their research.
Harris, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, completed her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Master of Arts in reading education from App State.
“As a general education classroom teacher, I had difficulty reaching my students with autism, especially when it came to reading and writing,” said Harris. “In search of support, I pursued a master's degree in reading education with a concentration in autism spectrum disorder.
“My doctorate and doctoral program are unique in that they bridge two existing fields: reading education and special education,” she added. “When these two fields work together, teachers and their students are supported, leading to more confident teachers and higher-performing students.”
This award will support her dissertation research on understanding the decision-making of general education classroom teachers who provide literacy instruction to both typically developing students and students with autism.
“Knowing that other academics see this as important work to be supported is reassuring and motivating for someone just beginning their career in higher education,” she noted. “This award will allow me to continue my exploration in a crucial and under-researched area of education and teacher preparation.”
Zigli Research Award
Tonya Moore, a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Education in educational leadership program, received the Zigli Research Award. This award was established to support graduate students engaged in research/scholarly activities such as travel related to study, attendance at professional conferences, and/or purchase of supplies or research materials.
Moore, originally from Kingston, Tennessee, completed her Bachelor of Science in special education and Master of Arts in reading education from App State.
“I was particularly drawn to the doctoral program at Appalachian because of its focus on educational leadership that fosters equity and diversity,” said Moore. “Additionally, the program offered a concentration in literacy, which was the area where I knew my research would focus.”
Receiving this award will allow Moore to purchase the research materials needed to complete her work in examining the teaching and learning experiences of an interdisciplinary group of graduate students who are collaborating in providing literacy instruction to inclusive groups of students in an online practicum.
“Through this study, I hope to highlight the challenges and affordances of distance education in preparing professionals with the necessary knowledge and tools needed to provide inclusive and comprehensive literacy instruction to students with significant disabilities,” she noted.
Moore also teaches reading education in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education. After graduation, she hopes to find a faculty position to continue her research and prepare future teachers.
“My ultimate goal is that my work somehow influences improvements in the literacy outcomes of students with significant disabilities” she added. “I want to push against the dominant, deficit ideologies and practices that I've witnessed in schools and that I believe create opportunity barriers for students with significant disabilities to access and participate in meaningful, rich literacy learning.”
Kelsey Charbeneau, a student in the Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling program, and Claire Morison, a student enrolled in two graduate programs - Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling and Master of Music Therapy - received a Chancellor’s Fellowship. This fellowship is only awarded to seven incoming full-time students with a 3.75 GPA.
Morison, originally from Bristol, Virginia, received her Bachelor of Music in music therapy from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennesse. She chose App State because of the dual master's degree offered in clinical mental health counseling and music therapy. “It is important to me to be able to integrate my knowledge in both of these fields to best serve my future clients, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from professors that support my work in both disciplines.”
“I am very grateful, honored, and humbled to have received this award,” said Morison. “It has enabled me to pursue my graduate education and to develop my clinical skills and knowledge in a way that I hope will allow me to serve my future clients better.”
With one more year left in her program, Morison plans to further her education related to trauma-informed practices in the fields of clinical mental health counseling and music therapy, as well as work with refugees experiencing mental health needs.
Ali Esparza, a student in the Master of Arts in professional school counseling program; Toria Davenport Jenks, a student in the Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling program; and Sage Miller, a student in the Master of Arts in marriage and family therapy program, received a Provost’s Fellowship. This fellowship is only awarded to five incoming full-time students with a 3.6 GPA.
Esparza, originally from Dallas, Texas, completed her Bachelor of Music in music therapy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
“I chose to attend App State because of the great faculty and culture in the professional school counseling program,” said Esparza. “During my interview, I knew that I wanted to learn from these professors and peers and that this was the right environment for me to continue my professional development.”
“In addition to allowing me to afford graduate school, this award has given me the opportunity to work closely with and learn from experienced faculty,” she noted. “I feel that I have grown so much more from my fellowship than courses alone would have allowed me to.”
After graduation, Esparza plans to secure a job as a school counselor either in North Carolina or Texas. “I would prefer to work in a smaller school with multiple grade levels so I can work closely with my students over a long period of time,” she added.
Jenks, originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, completed her Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in statistics. She chose App State because of the quality of education, mentorship opportunities, outstanding faculty, the practice-based training, emphasis on evidence-based work, and a variety of unique electives.
“The clinical mental health counseling program prepares its students extremely well to work in a variety of mental health settings and with diverse populations,” noted Jenks. “Even if a graduate degree was not required, the education that I have received thus far at Appalachian has made it very clear that the extra courses and training will make me a much better counselor than I would be without.”
“Receiving this award is not only an honor, but it also makes my graduate education exponentially more affordable,” noted Jenks.
After graduating, Jenks hopes to work in a community mental health center in the Triad area.
Miller, originally from San Diego, California, completed his Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in public affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“I chose Appalachian because this school offers a life of balance - I spend my time engaging in challenging courses, exploring the Appalachian mountains, and forging lifelong friendships,” noted Miller.
“This award means that I belong here in this program,” he said. “It means that I am making strides in learning from the incredible faculty here.”
After graduating, Miller plans to remain in North Carolina to practice as a marriage and family therapist, eventually opening his own practice.