- University of Illinois
- Bachelor of Science - Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences - 1998
- Appalachian State University
- North Carolina Teaching Certification - Middle Grades Science - 2005
- North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
- North Carolina Teaching Certification - High School Sciences - 2006
What clubs, sports or experiences were you involved in in college?
I spent the majority of my free time with a close group of friends. We would play music, hang out at each others' apartments, watch movies, play video games, and go to concerts. I also worked as a research assistant for the College of Business. I would spend countless hours entering data into spreadsheets. I discovered that I was lightning fast at data entry, and still talk about that skill as much as possible in social settings with people I'm keen to impress. It was a good way to earn some money while I was in school. Toward the end of my college going years I started spending more time in the outdoors, mountain biking, backpacking, and camping.
Why should students in the Appalachian region consider going to college?
Students should consider going to college because of something my mom taught me. She taught me to always keep my options open. Attending college expands a person's educational, social, emotional, and career options beyond anything one can imagine. It can be difficult to understand what this means while a person is in high school, but it put it a different way: Attending college is the way to become who you want to be when you grow up. It's one of the first steps in this process, and is one of the most important steps.
What is one piece of advice you might be able to offer a middle or high school student?
Don't be afraid to use your talents, skills, and abilities. If you feel shy, try to step out of your comfort zone and do something different that will help you to mature and grow. Healthy, positive, fun experiences will shape you into who you want to be.