A young man's travels to Sudan open his heart and lead him to a life-changing purpose
April 22, 2009
Billy Riddle is a senior English major at Appalachian. He was a starting player on two of Appalachian's championship football teams and played on special teams during the 2008 football season. Billy has travelled twice to Sudan with a relief organization and, as a result, has started his own nonprofit organization, WhyTheWoods, which is building two wells in Sudan and reconstructing a nursery school and primary school. We asked Billy to share his motivation, passion and experiences with the readers of Appalachian Today magazine.
Appalachian State University is well known for its research in renewable energy, sustainable development and environmental science. The new Appalachian Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics is enhancing that work.
Christian Kucab '08 of Raleigh is one of the rare individuals to receive a perfect score on the LSAT, the law school admissions test. A recent summa cum laude graduate of Appalachian's Department of Government and Justice Studies, Kucab aspires to a career in public interest law and eventually politics. His score of 180 is good insurance he will be accepted into a law school of his choosing.
Gastonia's efforts to revitalize its once thriving downtown provided Jennifer Harper '06 the opportunity to spotlight her design skills, complete a master's degree, and take a look at the roots of her community and family history. Harper, a Gastonia native and Appalachian interior design graduate, hoped to one day see the Parkdale Mills area where her grandmother worked in the 1950s restored and thriving again. When she learned the city was planning a new convention center with arts and entertainment venues downtown, she decided to get involved.
Gill Beck '78, a third-generation Mountaineer and third-generation North Carolina attorney, has led a career of distinction as both a civilian and a soldier. Since graduating second in his class at Appalachian, he has served with the U.S. Army Reserve in a variety of positions. He has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the middle district of North Carolina since 1992. His career reached a pinnacle of distinction in December 2008 when former President George W. Bush promoted him to brigadier general with the Army Reserve. Beck, who will receive Appalachian's Distinguished Alumni Award in spring 2009, reflects on the experiences that took him from college student, to soldier, to lawyer and judge.
Linda Combs '68 '78 has been elected to serve a four-year term on the Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors. She retired in 2007 from a career serving the U.S. government at the highest level. Over 14 years, Combs worked for three presidents, earned five Senate confirmations for various appointments, and served in the departments of Education, Veterans Affairs, Transportation and Treasury, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. As controller of the United States in the Office of Management and Budget—her final position and a presidential appointment—she was responsible for audits totaling about $3 trillion a year.
Antony R. Farmer '96 MBA, a 25-year veteran of the Winston-Salem Fire Department, was sworn in as the city's new fire chief in December 2008. Farmer oversees the city's 18 fire stations, 316 firefighters and an annual budget of about $25 million. Previously, Farmer served as a firefighter, engineer, captain, battalion chief and most recently a district fire chief with the department.
Daniel Brookshire wants the world to become more environmentally and economically sustainable. He gained confidence in how to do that through an internship in India, where he lived in an eco-village and assisted with projects in reforestation, micro-lending and global warming education.
The Boone Bicycle Initiative—a community-based organization started by Appalachian students—wants to get as many people commuting by bicycle as possible. Its goal: to improve air quality and lessen traffic surrounding the university and the Town of Boone.
In less than three months, Appalachian State University's cycling team has captured its second national title by winning the 2008 Division II USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships Dec. 14 in Kansas City, Mo. The Mountaineers won the division's national championship in mountain bike in late October, as well as two individual national champion titles in women's cross country and men's downhill.
Appalachian has prepared quality teachers for North Carolina's schools for more than 100 years. With over 1,400 students majoring in teacher education, Appalachian now offers the largest undergraduate teacher preparation program in the state. Meet three young people getting ready for the classroom, plus an award-winning teacher.
Keeping athletes healthy is a passion for David Nieman. A world-renown expert in nutrition and exercise science, Nieman has led numerous research projects—including those funded by Gatorade, the U.S. Olympic team, and the U.S. Department of Defense—that test what influence certain vitamins, carbohydrate sports drinking and exercise regimens have in preventing upper respiratory infections among extreme athletes.
Meaningful relationships are a hallmark of an Appalachian education. Carolyn Clark has achieved career success in part because of caring professors and alumni who value being of service to others. Carolyn Clark took a chance on applying for a New York City early career program, and the experience has dramatically shaped her career.
Meaningful relationships are a hallmark of an Appalachian education. Amy Sarno has achieved career success in part because of caring professors and alumni who value being of service to others. She got her first job because of the strong ties her professor kept with a former student.