Six students have been selected to receive Appalachian State University’s Wilson Scholarship, the university’s most prestigious merit-based scholarship, which provides a full-ride education at Appalachian.
They are Lake Lure Classical Academy senior Victoria “Vicky” Anderson of Rutherfordton, daughter of Peggy and James Anderson; Watauga High School graduate Grace Bowling of Boone and Asheville, daughter of Chuck Bowling and Ann Kiefert; Raleigh Charter High School senior Fahiima Mohamed of Raleigh, daughter of Saida Mohamed and Ali Omar; Union County Early College High School senior Javon Nathaniel of Charlotte, son of Trena Marshall and Wendell Nathaniel; Athens Drive High School senior William “Jake” Powell of Cary, son of Janet and Robert Powell; and Greensboro Day School senior Anisha Sharma of Summerfield, daughter of Mamta Sharma and Devinder Kumar.
The Wilson Scholarship was established as Appalachian’s premier scholarship in 2013 by Brad and Carole Wilson of Raleigh, who are both 1975 graduates of the university. Brad Wilson is CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Carole Wilson is a member of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees.
Dr. David Marlett, faculty director of the Wilson Scholars Program, said more than 1,400 incoming freshmen applications were reviewed for the scholarship. “The caliber of students applying for this scholarship program is outstanding,” said Marlett. “They are independent, creative and critical thinkers who are passionate about service and dedicated to understanding the world around them.”
About the scholars
Anderson is a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and has mentored other students through her leadership in the National Honor Society and varsity swim team and as student body president of Lake Lure Classical Academy. She has represented her school in the community in numerous ways, such as writing for her hometown newspaper, volunteering with children and families through food security and literacy programs, and working for her local humane society. Her work experience includes management positions at a local restaurant and farm stand. Her intended major is criminal justice.
Bowling graduated from Watauga High School in three years and spent a “gap year” volunteering with Consejo de Salud Rural Andino, a non-profit health care initiative serving low-income, rural, Bolivian families. To help fund her ability to travel to and live in Bolivia, she established her own small business. An avid blogger and songwriter, Bowling was a student-athlete who was also a member and leader in several service clubs, including the Key Club, National Honor Society and Spanish Club. Her intended major is languages, literatures and cultures.
Mohamed’s background includes work for the President of Somalia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia and the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. In 2015, she attended the United Nations General Assembly and publicly addressed the assembly as a member of the Somali delegation. Her volunteer work includes numerous mentorship activities for children in the Raleigh area, as well as community projects such as book drives, donation drives for resettled refugees and community work days. A Somali native, she is multilingual and dedicated to creating positive change in the lives of people displaced by war. Her intended major is biology.
Nathaniel completed a five-year program at Union County Early College High School, where he graduated with both a high school diploma and associate degree. His background includes leadership positions at his high school and in his community. He is a student advisor to the Union County Superintendent, providing input on changes in the school system, a school and community advocate in the prevention of teen dating violence, and is a student government leader. Passionate about issues of equity and race relations, Nathaniel is both a mentor and mentee in youth programs for minority males. His intended major is international business.
Powell is an Eagle Scout and varsity athlete on the Athens Drive High School swim and soccer teams, as well as a junior varsity assistant coach. His academic coursework has focused on utilizing numerous engineering concepts to solve problems in the field of sustainability. Powell’s activities include membership on his school’s debate team, tutoring students in physics and working on environmental beautification projects for local schools and parks. His intended major is environmental science.
Sharma’s community involvement includes serving on the Greensboro Beautiful and Parks and Recreation’s Clean City Committee, working with the Indian Association of the Triad, and tutoring children at a local refugee center. Passionate about environmental sustainability initiatives, she is founder and president of the Greensboro Country Day School Student Sustainability Council, president of her school’s Environmental Club and chair of the Environmental Awareness Committee for the National Honor Society. She is also involved in the performing arts, and is active in her school’s theatre and choral ensemble programs. Her intended major is biology.
About the scholarship
The Wilson Scholarship, totaling $15,056 a year, covers tuition, fees, book rental, and room and board for four years based on the recipient maintaining a minimum 3.45 grade point average. In addition, scholars receive $2,500 annually to pursue academic and service projects of their own conception. The incoming class will also take a week-long academic trip to Costa Rica in October.
Students are invited to apply for the Wilson Scholarship. Final selection is based on the students’ academic achievements, as well as their service and leadership in their community and school.
Wilson Scholars receive a personalized educational experience in and outside the classroom designed in partnership with their faculty director. Wilson Scholars also learn to incorporate their passions into their life and career goals.
Students participate in specially designed seminars, engage in international experiences and design capstone projects. Each year, Wilson Scholars focus on an area of community and self-discovery as part of their education at Appalachian. The certificate awards students academic recognition for significant participation in service projects over the course of their college education. Internships, research and study abroad are also part of the Wilson Scholars experience.
With the Fall 2016 incoming class, the Wilson Scholars now total 14 students, including four juniors: Sarah Aldridge from Concord, Juliet Irving from Batesburg, South Carolina, Emma Labovitz from Salisbury and Lily Shaw from Chapel Hill; and four sophomores: Samuel P. Hines of Sanford, Sophie K. Kahn of Chapel Hill, Madeline G. Hamiter of Statesville, and Alia K. Dahlan of Swannanoa.