Two Watauga Residential College students create $500 scholarship for future sophomores

For the first time since 1972, when the Watauga Residential College was founded, there will be a scholarship available to all students in the program. Sophomores Aurelia Klinck and Katherine Webb were inspired to create the scholarship and sought out alumni donations at the Watauga Residential College’s 45th anniversary celebration last year.

“As Watauga students, we felt like since Watauga has been here for 45 years and it is a staple part of App for us, it should have had the scholarship a long time ago,” Webb, sophomore nursing major, said. “We’re happy we’ve started it, and we want it to keep growing and become a large part of Watauga and Appalachian.”

Klinck, sophomore anthropology major, said the Watauga Residential College Student Scholarship will give $500 to a freshman Wataugan who is engaged in the community, has good academic standing and wants to contribute to Watauga in the future. Current sophomores and juniors will be involved in the selection process.

“The scholarship will go toward their tuition, but then when they are a sophomore, we are going to expect them to contribute to Watauga in some way and we are also going to expect them to be part of the selection committee for the next recipient,” Klinck said.

Clark Maddux, director of Watauga Residential College, said the scholarship will initially be a small amount of money, but “the goal ultimately is to build the scholarship in such a way that it would make a sizable contribution to a student’s career at Appalachian and in Watauga.”

Maddux said although there have been scholarships available to students in Watauga in the past, this scholarship is not restrictive, so anyone who is in Watauga can apply. He added that they hope to try to find a recipient who is both deserving of the scholarship and has demonstrable need for it. He also said students and faculty are still trying to come up with a procedure for what the selection process will look like and how to select recipients.

However, Maddux said, “There is no sense that (the scholarship) would be restricted to certain majors or types of students, or even certain GPAs.”

Maddux also said to keep the scholarship active, the fund needs to be replenished each year before they can award it to another student.

Along with Klinck and Webb, Maddux has been working with the university to find donors to contribute to the scholarship. He said one aspect of the creation process has been finding a way to tap into donors who recognize the value of Watauga and want to support a student in the program.

Despite some faculty involvement, Maddux said it was Klinck and Webb who initiated this scholarship and had a clear vision for it. 

“I applaud them, and in them being the driving force behind it, they exemplify the qualities of leadership, initiative and care for the future of the program that I want all of the students in Watauga to display,” Maddux said.

Klinck and Webb said their love and appreciation for the program led them to create the scholarship. They said they hope more students at App State will learn more about what Watauga is because it has been so influential for them as students and individuals.

“I think this scholarship is a great opportunity to share what Watauga is with the rest of the Appalachian community and show how much we care about it,” Webb said.

Klinck said many classes she took last year through Watauga changed how she thinks about the world and her interests.

“It grew not only my academic life, but also my personal interests,” Klinck said.

Webb also said Watauga offers students a close-knit community from the moment they step on campus.

“Watauga means so much to us and it’s such a great thing for freshmen as they come to App. They come to college for the first time and they already have that community and they’re able to bond and make those connections with professors and students,” Webb said. “They’re able to learn in a different environment that grows different parts of them and helps them become who they are.”

Story by Erin O’Neil 

Photo by Anna Muckenfuss

Featured photo caption: Katherine Webb and Aurelia Klinck sit together in their room in the Living Learning Center.

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