Diversity Scholars Program – building unity through diversity

The Diversity Scholars Program is one of Appalachian State University’s top scholarship programs. Since 2008, it has recognized merit in scholarship and brought people together from different cultures and backgrounds to work on building unity through diversity.

The scholarship is renewable, and since fall 2016 it has covered full in-state tuition and fees for four years. The Diversity Scholars Program also involves community service and an international experience.

Diversity Scholars may pursue any major. To continue receiving the scholarship, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA, attend monthly Diversity Scholars meetings, complete 15 hours of community service each academic year and engage in an international experience before senior year. These obligations are designed to provide Diversity Scholars with a greater sense of belonging and membership within the scholars group, provide information, expand knowledge and appreciation of diversity, and give access to resources for success as an Appalachian student.

Who are the 2016 Diversity Scholars?

The 2016 freshman class included 10 new recipients of the Diversity Scholarship. They are:

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    Salim Fayeq
    Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

    I chose Appalachian because I desired to live and study in an environment that would exude positivity, and promise academic success. At Appalachian, I feel my potential, in all facets, is evoked to the best and most achievable extent possible. I want to join InTapp, become a member of AIESEC, and once I start to enroll in courses more related to my major, embark on the International Relations Association. After graduation, I hope to become a cultural ambassador.

  • Cristian Mercado
    Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
    Intended Major: International Business

    Appalachian is a big school with a small-school feel and is perfect for me. I am excited about all of the relationships I will build over the next four years with many different types of people. When I finish my time here at Appalachian, I hope to attend law school abroad.

  • Ruth Mazza
    Hometown: Clemmons, N.C.
    Intended Major: Accounting

    Being a Diversity Scholar has given me the opportunity to be aware of volunteer opportunities in the Boone area. Volunteering is something that I am passionate about. I chose Appalachian State University to be my new home because of its business program and because I have felt very welcome by the people that I have met. I am involved with Watauga Residential College, Lyric poetry club, the Black Student Association and the Minority Women’s Leadership Circle.

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    Lauren Hempen
    Hometown: Apex, N.C.
    Intended Major: Global Studies

    I was immediately drawn to the family-like community that Appalachian made me feel a part of. Now that I am a student here, I am very eager to study abroad. I am so grateful that this scholarship will provide me with funds to make my dream of going abroad come true! After I finish my time here, I hope to travel as part of my work and learn about the world’s people and their cultures.

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    Naomi Mash
    Hometown: Waxhaw, N.C.
    Intended Major: Environmental Science

    Appalachian has one of the best sustainable campuses and opportunities in the environmental field. Appalachian is also very accepting to the LGBT community. I am most looking forward to volunteering with my fellow Diversity Scholars. I am also super-excited to be able to hike, ski and do anything else outside, almost all year-round.

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    Charles Fennell
    Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
    Intended Major: Psychology

    I aspire to earn my bachelor’s degree in psychology and then earn both my master’s and doctorate degrees in neuropsychology. Being a Diversity Scholar has offered me the opportunity to attend an inclusive and welcoming university. I’m able to represent a minority demographic, and demonstrate to others like me that Appalachian is a university that appreciates diversity. I’m currently involved in the Neuroscience Club and the Black Student Association.

  • Sofia Gratas
    Hometown: Marietta, Ga.

    When I first found out about Appalachian, what immediately attracted me was the amount of opportunities for community service, involvement and diverse forms of education. Already as a freshman, I am a part of a major club on campus, the Appalachian Popular Programming Society (APPS), and hope to join the Blue Ridge Parkway Corps. As a Diversity Scholar, I value different people, places and things.

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    Lauren Shehane
    Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
    Intended Major: Anthropology and Global Studies, minor in Spanish

    Being a Diversity Scholar has allowed me to connect with others on campus who have a similar goal of promoting diversity and acceptance. It has also given me connections with great staff who I can thankfully turn to for any questions I might have. I am planning to be involved with the LGBT Center, softball and volunteering at the Multicultural Center. I chose Appalachian because of the gorgeous scenery and sense of community. Everyone is extremely welcoming and friendly, and it is the perfect place to learn.

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    Logan DiFranco
    Hometown: Cary, N.C.
    Intended Major: Undecided

    I chose to attend Appalachian because I feel it is the best environment for me to grow as an educated, well-rounded person and find a major that fits my interests and goals. I am looking forward to learning about myself, finding my major, and furthering my knowledge of the world I live in, so I can hopefully make a difference later on. After my college experience, I hope to volunteer in the Peace Corps and travel to other countries to learn about different cultures.

  • Tatyanna Smith
    Hometown: Washington, D.C. area
    Intended Major: Music Therapy

    Everything about Appalachian makes me feel at home. Rather quickly, coming here was about more than just the phenomenal Hayes School of Music. Through the Diversity Scholars community, and other organizations that I’ve been able to get involved with, I’ve learned how to adjust to living in the mountains, how to interact with new people, and how to start making connections – with professors and other students. I’ve been able to start developing important networking skills, while simultaneously learning how to get involved in my new community through volunteering.