Alia Dahlan

2015 Scholars
High School: 
NC School of Science and Math
City, State: 
Swannanoa, NC
Finance & Banking, Risk Management & Insurance


My name is Alia, and I am  majoring in Finance & Banking and Risk Management & Insurance with a minor in Mathematics. I am originally from Asheville, NC and my parents are from Indonesia. I went to Charles D. Owen High School for 9th and 10th grade, and I transferred to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) when I was accepted for 11th and 12th grade. While at Owen, I was vice president of math club and an active member in the color guard and winter guard. I also participated in clubs such as Key Club, Harry Potter Club, and Dance Club. At NCSSM, I had more opportunities for leadership. I was a teaching assistant for the mathematics department, I was on orientation committee, and I was a publicity officer for Red Cross Club, Junior Civitan, and Dance Marathon. I started and maintained the NCSSM Winter Guard as captain and choreographer for both years. I was also active in Dance Ensemble, Key Club, the Anti-Lawnism Association (we planted a garden), Swing Dance, Rotary Interact, the Multicultural Fashion Show, DECA, NIA (female minority group), Spectrum (gay-straight alliance), Girl Up, and NCSSM Feminists. I was a varsity cheerleader for basketball both years and for competition during senior year at NCSSM. I am very passionate about dance, so I performed (and wrote some choreography) in two Dance Ensemble concerts each year, in addition to Asia Fest, Africa Fest, Latin America Fest, and Airband.

The summer before senior year of high school, I was a marketing intern at a non-profit organization in Asheville called Just Economics. The organization is an advocate for the living wage movement and certifies local businesses for paying their workers living wage. This experience made me more aware of the economic realities in the U.S. and helped me to realize I want to use business for the betterment of society. During senior year, I was accepted to the mentorship program at NCSSM where I did research in marketing under the guidance of Vicki Lee Parker, who was the marketing director at The Support Center, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution. This research culminated in a research presentation at the NCSSM Research Symposium and a research poster. For 3 summers in high school,  I attended Vanderbilt Summer Academy and took various classes in American Consumerism, Identity in the 21st Century, and Special Topics in Math. I also attended an Environmental Summit at Catawba College, the Martha Guy Summer Institute for future business leaders at Appalachian, and Project Uplift at UNC Chapel Hill the summer before senior year of high school. The summer before coming to Appalachian, I had two jobs at Warren Wilson College: one at the motor pool and one at the college press. I also worked at a local diner and ice cream shop called the Eye Scream Parlour.

During the summer between my first and seconds years of college, I had the opportunity to be a cost accounting intern at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina for ten weeks. During this time I learned a lot of computer skills and helped with day-to-day operations of the cost accounting department. I also met with members of the senior leadership team and bonded with other interns.

I really enjoy learning about other cultures and places. I have travelled to visit my family in Indonesia five times. I also went to Spain for miniterm at NCSSM during my senior year. The Wilson Scholars' trip to Paris was an amazing experience for me. I love people and seeing how they can be different in different parts of the country and the world.

The second semester of my sophomore year, I studied abroad in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia at Southern Cross University. It was an amazing experience filled with beach trips, a week in New Zealand, and a lot of fun on campus as well.

During my first year here at Appalachian, I was a senator in Student Government Association and a mentee in LEAD. I am in the color guard for the Marching Mountaineers, and I hope to continue all four years. I am a brother of Pi Sigma Epsilon, the co-ed national sales and marketing fraternity. I am a Walker Fellow for the College of Business on the service committee. I am a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, College of Business Honors, Gamma Iota Sigma, Women of Walker, and the Muslim Student Association. I am also a mentor in Walker Peer Mentor. I have my Professional Leadership Certification at the Executive Level. I serve as the president of Appalachian Honors Association, which is the student side of the Honors College. I am also chair of social events for the Wilson Scholars.

While at Appalachian, I have also been fortunate enough to receive the Martha Guy Summer Institute Scholarship, the CPCU-Loman insurance internship scholarship, and the Spencer Educational Foundation scholarship.

These past two years in the Wilson Scholars Program have been so fulfilling and enriching because of all of the opportunities I have had access to. The friendships I have made here and the experience I have gained will last a lifetime. I have grown to love Appalachian more than I ever thought I would. Although there are always changes and progress to be made, this is my home.