Getting to Know More People in Student Affairs

In continuing with our "Getting to Know More People in the SA Series", this month we are highlighting Mrs. Beth Holcomb, Director of Campus Activities and Mrs. Ellen Grulke, Assistant Dean and Director of Case Management. Enjoy reading about who makes up the Division of Student Affairs at Appalachian State University!

Say hello to Beth Holcomb!

Hey, folks! My name is Beth Holcomb, my pronouns are she/her, and I have the privilege of serving as the Director of Campus Activities. I received a Bachelor's in Recreation Management with a concentration in Outdoor Experiential Education. After undergrad, I was a backpacking guide for at-risk and adjudicated youth and a fly fishing guide for several years. I was the Recreation Director at the Beech Mountain Club when I realized that I wanted to work with college students. I returned to App and earned an MA in College Student Development with a concentration in College Outdoor Program Administration. I worked in Admissions for a couple of years before making the jump to Campus Activities (YAY!)

My husband, Tim, and I met our freshman year in Recreation Management classes. He now works in emergency medicine and still guides fly fishing. We have two dogs, a cat, and a bunch of chickens. When I'm not working, I love being outside and enjoy hiking, fishing, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. 

Hi there Ellen Grulke (and Emmery)!

Ellen Grulke grew up in Colchester, CT and found roots in North Carolina after her parents moved to Mooresville during her first year in undergrad at the University of Connecticut. In 2007, Ellen joined the Appalachian State community to complete her Masters degree in College Student Development. During her time as a graduate student, Ellen worked in Multicultural Student Development overseeing the Women’s Center.

After graduating from Appalachian in 2009, Ellen started her first professional job at South University in Savannah, GA serving as the Director of Residence Life and University Housing. She also spent time in Virginia Beach, VA serving as South University’s Dean of Students. Ellen met her husband, Chris Grulke while in Virginia Beach and the two later relocated back to Boone, NC. Since 2012, Ellen has served in various roles in the Office of the Dean of Students and served as the Interim Title IX Coordinator for a period of time. Ellen currently serves as an Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Case Management and is also completing her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in higher education.

Ellen enjoys and cherishes time with her family and friends. She has a 3-year old daughter Emmery and is expecting another daughter in March of 2022. One thing Ellen is excited for is the extra time she will have after completing her dissertation. She hopes to explore new hobbies and increase her time with family, friends and the community. Ellen deeply values her personal and professional relationships and is always looking for ways to connect and support others. 

Sep 8
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Sustained Dialogue

Hello team,

Do you want to build spaces to have challenging conversations about issues that matter? Would you like to be a creator of meetings where talking about big issues is celebrated? If so, this Sustained Dialogue open workshop series is for you!

Previously known as the Inclusive Leadership Retreat, this 10 session virtual series, facilitated by Rhonda Fitzgerald of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, will meet virtually each Monday from 3:30 – 5:00 pm EST from September 13 to November 29 (with the exception of an "off week" on October 11th for Fall Break). If you complete all 10 sessions, you'll be certified as a Sustained Dialogue moderator and have the option to moderate dialogue circles in the future if you wish. It will also give you lots of great tips and tricks for tough dialogue. I hope you'll strongly consider participating yourself, as this is some great (free!) professional development, and please send it out far and wide to your students.

Click here to sign up on Engage. Each session is mandatory to complete the skill series. Space is limited to 30 participants, so please sign up only if you can make the session each time.

Please share the attached flier, which includes a QR code that will take you directly to Engage to sign up!

Sep 8
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New Hires in Student Affairs

Each year we take the time to introduce new hires within the Division.  If you see any of these newbies on campus or virtually, be sure to welcome them to campus!

Campus Activities

Shaleeah Smith (she/her/hers), Associate Director of Campus Activities, Fraternity & Sorority Life: Shaleeah came to Appalachian from Bucknell University, where she served as the Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. Previously, she was a Greek Life Coordinator at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, and an Admissions Counselor at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. Shaleeah holds a MA in Educational Leadership in Higher Education from the University of Nevada, Reno, and is pursuing a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration through the University of Southern Mississippi.

Jesse Vinson (he/they), Coordinator of Campus Activities, Student Programming: Jesse returned to Appalachian having served as the Coordinator for Student Organization Development at the University of Kansas. Prior to his time at KU, he was a Summer Graduate Coordinator at UNC-Chapel Hill and served as a Graduate Assistant here at App in both Campus Activities and Leadership Development. Jesse holds a Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management from Appalachian State University.

Community-Engaged Leadership

Dr. Joshua Kurz (he/him); Assistant Director of Leadership Education & Development: Josh oversees the Trailhead Experience, Plemmons Leadership Scholars, and Leadership in Action residential learning community. Prior to joining App State in 2021, Josh taught Global Studies and Sociology at the National University of Singapore. Before pursuing a PhD, Josh worked in student affairs in a variety of roles, including two years as the Graduate Program Assistant at the Miami University Women's Center in Oxford, Ohio. Josh is passionate about working with and developing students' leadership capabilities, building community, and acting as an ally to marginalized students. In his free time he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and photography.  Josh received a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies from The Ohio State University and a M.S. in College Student Personnel from Miami University

Carly May (she/her); Assistant Director of Community Engagement: Carly believes that mutually beneficial relationships with community partners allows for students to create positive local change, while expanding their knowledge of global social issues and leadership skills. Carly earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Development from University of Connecticut, and a Masters in Higher Education Student Affairs from Baylor University. Carly is looking forward to working with CEL programs and local nonprofits to serve the Boone community.

Office of the Dean of Students

Monica Barlow is the new Program Director for Parent and Family Services. Monica's responsibilities will include but are not limited to leading Parent and Family Orientation, Family Weekend, and organizing our exciting Parent and Family monthly newsletter. Before starting in the ODOS, Monica worked for University Advancement. While transitioning into the position, Monica will be completing her Master's degree from Appalachian State in Higher Education. She has worked with fundraising at a non-profit in Charlotte and was actively involved with Wingate University's Dean of Students Office.

Plemmons Student Union

Ashley Holland (she/her/hers), Assistant Director for the Plemmons Student Union: Ashley Holland is so excited to be back at App! She received her master's in College Student Development in 2016 from App and has since been at the University of Virginia where she worked in a variety of functional areas. She started back at App on July 1 and has enjoyed getting to know the student employees as well as the team of incredible professionals in the Union. When Ashley is not at work, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her partner, Russell. She's a big animal lover, enjoys traveling, and spending time at wineries and breweries.

Will Jones (he/they/their), Event Services Manager for the Plemmons Student Union: Will is a former librarian for the City of Greensboro. They received their undergraduate degree at UNC School of the Arts in Film Production, and graduate degree in Library and Information Studies at UNC Greensboro. They are currently writing a fiction novel and is an avid collector with many interests, including films, books, music, and retro gaming.

Student Health Services

Nancy Patz, Physician Assistant: Nancy joins us from UNCW Student Health. Nancy is proud to have a son enrolled in AppState as a sophomore.

Tanya Shook, Nurse Practitioner: Tanya accepted a full-time position after serving in a temporary role for over a year. Tanya comes to us from North Carolina State University and was in their Student Health department prior to joining us.

University Housing

Tabitha Alliss joined the department in May as the UH Front Desk Supervisor and recently transitioned into the Assignments Coordinator position in August.


Eve Love (January)

Marissa Hamrick (May)

Erika Mccrimmon (May)

William Robinson (May)

James Love (August)

Sandy Stines (August)

Melissa Woodring (August)

Samara Humphrey (August)

Housekeeping Assistant Supervisors

David Eggers (May)-transitioned from Housekeeper position

Faustin Foster (August)-transitioned from Housekeeper position

Housekeeping Supervisor for West Campus - Annette Childers (January): transitioned from the Assistant Supervisor position


Rick Carignan (August) - external hire

Jason Beach (July) - transitioned over from University Recreation

Troy McNeil (June) - transitioned from Support Services

Thomas South (February) - external hire

Maintenance Supervisor for Plumbing and Electrical

Todd Dixon (January) - transitioned from maintenance mechanic position

Support Services

Matt Benfield (September) - transitioned over from Environmental Services

Matt Love (August) - transitioned from regular into supervisor position

Dom Cruz (July), West Service Desk Supervisor - external hire

Katy Willis (July), East Service Desk Supervisor - external hire

Bri Corsi (June), Administrative Support Specialist for Residence Life: transitioned into this position from the West Service Desk Supervisor position.

Sep 8
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News & Upcoming Events

  • September 7th-14th: Health, Wellness & Safety Week

  • Thursday, September 9th, 8:30am: Second Virtual SOP Sharing Sessions (see previous emails)

  • September 17th-19: Family Weekend

  • Tuesday, September 21, 9am-7pm, Homecoming Blood Drive,  at the Holmes Convocation Center.  Be on the lookout for more information.

  • 41st annual AppKIDS event! Virtual Shopping will take place Monday November 1st through Tuesday November 16th. More information is on the way. 
Sep 8
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