Appalachian National Guard Specialist thanks faculty for their support with ESGR Patriot Award
BOONE — When Jake Keller, a student in the Master of Music Therapy program at Appalachian State University, told Cathy McKinney in 2014 he was considering joining the North Carolina Army National Guard, McKinney, who is the director of the music therapy program in Appalachian’s Hayes School of Music, promised him the department’s full support.
Keller, who is from Gaffney, S.C., became a specialist in the 878th National Guard Engineering Company and soon found out what McKinney’s promise meant. Classmates, faculty and staff rallied around him and his wife, Hannah, especially as his March deployment to Iraq approaches.
“I’m really glad that people didn’t try to avoid the subject. They were really curious about being in the Army National Guard,” he said. “Just showing that curiosity was helpful because it showed they cared. They offered ideas of how I could use music over there.”
To show his gratitude for their support, Keller nominated three faculty members to each receive a Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a program of the United States Department of Defense. He presented the award certificates to McKinney, Christine Pollard Leist, associate professor of music therapy; and Melody Schwantes, a senior lecturer in music therapy, on Feb. 14. He said the ESGR allows Guard and Reserve employees to nominate up to three people for the awards who have shown outstanding support of their service.
At the music therapy program’s end-of-semester potluck, classmates in the American Music Therapy Association presented him with an Amazon gift card worth $580 so that he could buy a guitar once he reaches his assignment overseas.
“They said, ‘We know how important music is to you, and we know how important playing guitar is to you,’” he said. “It showed how much they cared about my keeping an identity to music and being able to teach guitar lessons while I’m over there. It’s a way to bring forth music therapy even overseas.”
Appalachian’s Lytle to participate in Fulbright international educators program
BOONE — Christopher Lytle, of Appalachian State University, has received a Fulbright Scholar Program award that will provide him the opportunity to participate in an International Education Administrators seminar in Taiwan during two weeks in March. Lytle is the director of education abroad for Appalachian’s Office of International Education and Development.
According to the Fulbright Scholar Program website, International Education Administrators seminars exist to “help U.S. international education professionals and senior higher education officials create empowering connections with the societal, cultural and higher education systems of other countries.
Grantees have the opportunity to learn about the host country’s education system as well as establish networks of U.S. and international colleagues over the course of an intensive two-week grant duration. Grantees return with enhanced ability to serve and encourage international students and prospective study-abroad students.”