Autumn Melby is featured in the Fall 2017 College of Arts & Sciences Newsletter
Names of scholarships currently receiving:
Dr. L. Jill Loucks Memorial Scholarship
Rachel and John Henry Scholarship
Stephen Weller Memorial Scholarship
How has this assistance helped you in pursuing your degree?
The blessing of financial security can not be highlighted enough, and the assistance provided through these various scholarships has allowed me to truly focus on my studies and future career goals to the highest degree possible.
Do you have a mentor(s) that have been influential in your education or supportive of you maintaining your studies?
Both my advisor, Dr. Tom Whyte, and my professor, Dr. Alice Wright, have been absolutely essential to my success at Appalachian. From my first initial meetings with these two individuals, they have gone above and beyond to help me achieve my goals and succeed within the study of Anthropology. Their encouragement and words of wisdom have been invaluable in directing me towards my goals.
What motivates you to succeed?
I am from an incredibly small town, where there is only one caution light, jobs are scarce, and the quality of public education at times could be dodgy. My motivation to succeed is rooted in my hometown. Early on in my education, I had multiple role models who consistently told me that if worked hard enough I could be more than just some country girl from 'Nowhere, North Carolina'. I've tried to hold onto this lesson even into higher education. I want to be that person to someone else, who is an example that your circumstances in life do not determine your future.
I hope to prove that great things can indeed come from small beginnings.
Who is your biggest advocate?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt my biggest advocate is my mother. As a woman who has faced numerous hardships and struggles in her life, she has never failed to inspire me to reach for my highest potential. She is my shoulder to cry on, cheerleader, financial advisor and my best friend.
Why did you choose Appalachian?
I had been to Boone on many occasions growing up, so it easily came to feel like a second home. However, I mainly chose Appalachian due to the faculty to student ratio and the prestige of the Anthropology department on the East Coast. The small class room settings allow students to have a direct relationship with their professors, and fosters potential opportunities for research and collaboration with these individuals.
At Appalachian, your voice and your interests truly matter.
What do you feel has been most valuable in your education from Appalachian versus another institution?
At Appalachian, students have the opportunity to learn from experts within their chosen fields while also being viewed as more than a simple number within a classroom. The small classroom size present the chance to actually connect with and know your instructors.
What is something that you discovered about yourself, about life, about education - by coming to college at Appalachian?
Through my experiences at Appalachian, I learned that I am more capable than I give myself credit for. College pushes you in unexpected and often difficult ways. But these challenges are what truly form and determine our character.
Resilience in the face of doubt can be a powerful thing.
What is next for you?
Following graduation this upcoming Spring, my current goal is to attend graduate school in pursuit of my Ph.D within Anthropology. Where I will end up, however, has yet to be determined!
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
It's truly difficult to plan or envision myself in 10 years time. If I had an ideal situation, I would truly love to teach as a professor myself. Given the opportunity, I would feel blessed to contribute to the education of students, just as my professors have done for me.
What advice would you give other students seeking scholarship assistance?
If you are seeking scholarship assistance, the most critical thing to do is to simply try. Do not hesitate to apply for scholarships you meet the qualifications for, even if you believe your actual chance of receiving them is slim. Do not be afraid of rejection, it is a natural stepping stone in life and in scholarships as well. If you are not chosen as a recipient, look critically at where you may need to improve your application, and try again the next opportunity you have. If they are willing, ask your advisor for any tips they may have for the process. Try your hardest, and don't give up at the first sign of rejection.
If you could thank the donor or donors that have made your scholarship possible, what would you like to say?
Words can't truly express my gratitude to the donors of the scholarships I have been honored to receive. Your contribution has given me the chance to fully immerse myself within my studies and push forward. The funds provided through these scholarships have allowed me to have financial security during the school year, while also travel for job and research opportunities. Thank you immensely for your generosity!
Any other advice for incoming or future students?
Do not be afraid to ask questions and speak up. This will cause your professors to take notice of you, and that is quite possibly one of the most critical aspects to success within college.
Question everything, and do not be afraid to admit when you need help.