Three Reich College of Education Students Recognized at Black and Gold Leadership Awards Ceremony

Three Reich College of Education (RCOE) students were recognized at the Black and Gold Leadership Awards hosted by Appalachian State University’s Club Council and Campus Activities on April 10, 2024:

  • Frank Cybulski,
  • Katie Brooks, and
  • Jonathan Winbush.

The Black and Gold Leadership Awards Ceremony recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of clubs, club members, and advisors.

Outstanding Advisor Award - Department Affiliated Organization

Frank Cybulski, a graduate student in the student affairs administration program, received the Outstanding Advisor Award - Department Affiliated Organization, for his work with the National Residence Hall Honorary and Residence Hall Association.

This award recognizes advisors with a strong educational role within the group and who have helped students learn through their involvement. 

Cybulski, originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, graduated from App State with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education with a concentration in music. He wanted to further his education beyond the classroom setting. 

“I wanted to pursue a degree in student affairs administration because of my love for working in Residence Life,” noted Cybulski. “I found this passion while working with University Housing during my undergraduate years as a resident assistant.”

“It meant so much to me to receive this award,” said Cybulski. “It brought me to tears hearing how my students felt about the work I had done in the last year and how much of an impact I made on them. It goes both ways because these students made such an impact on me this year.”

Currently, Cybulski is searching for jobs on campus. “I want to continue to make an impact on the students here at App State.”

Gregory S. Blimling Award for Outstanding Graduate Student

Katie Brooks, a graduate student in the student affairs administration program, and Jonathan Winbush, a graduate student in the professional school counseling program, are both recipients of the Gregory S. Bliming Award for Outstanding Graduate Students. 

This award is named for Dr. Gregory S. Blimling who served as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at App State for 14 years and is a nationally recognized leader and scholar on student affairs. A focus area for Blimling was to support graduate education and experiential learning through graduate assistantships. 

Katie Brooks worked as a graduate assistant in Campus Activities. Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Brooks received her undergraduate degree in business management from App State.

“I was not originally planning on getting a graduate degree and did not know that the student affairs administration program existed,” said Brooks. “As I was approaching graduation, I kept telling everyone that when an opportunity that was right for me presented itself, I would know it.”

“That was most definitely the case when I had the chance to speak with Dr. Diane Waryold and learn all that a cohort model and this unique program had to offer,” she continued. “Student affairs administration has not only helped me to land a job exactly where I want to be but gave me a network of people that will always have my back.”

For Brooks, receiving the Outstanding Graduate Student Award is less about her time as a graduate assistant and more about the amazing students that she has the opportunity to work with. 

“They are the reason that I do what I do,” she noted. “Continuing education is not an easy thing, but getting to work with Club Council and the Appalachian Popular Programming Society connected me with students who are both driven and passionate - and they reminded me why I wanted to work at a university in the first place.”

After graduation, Brooks will begin work as the Coordinator of Campus Activities for Student Programming at App State.

Jonathan Winbush worked as a graduate assistant for University Recreation. Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he graduated from App State with his undergraduate degree in recreation management with a concentration in parks and recreation management.

“Receiving this award is a humbling experience that will stand as a reminder that any challenge can be overcome with proper support and leadership,” said Winbush. “Under the guidance and mentorship of the program's director, PJ Hartleb, and an extremely dedicated staff of about 40 students, I feel I had ample support to find my way in this role and offer my unique perspective to a position in its inaugural year. I owe this award to everyone on our staff!”

This August, Winbush will graduate with a degree in Professional School Counseling. 

“I decided to pursue this degree due to my heavy involvement in youth mentorship and development throughout my life,” noted Winbush. “School counseling offers me the opportunity to continue this work as well as utilize the core beliefs of my undergraduate program: care, support, and encouragement for all we touch, regardless of means or ability.”

Winbush has accepted a position as a K-5 school counselor at Pine Springs Preparatory Academy in Holly Springs, North Carolina. “I'm excited to work with the school, its students, and the community. I look forward to visiting the school and program! UREC Country...Let's Ride!”