Gungor named top student; 29 earn 'App State Best' honors

Walker College of Business Honors Program Director Lori Medders welcomed a group of around 200 Appalachian State University students and their family members to the 43rd annual Walker College of Business Honors Day Convocation on Friday, April 14.

“Our Honors Convocation brings together students with the best academic performance and top students participating in organizations to be honored for their outstanding leadership,” said Medders.

Dr. Martin Meznar, associate dean for global and civic engagement, emceed the event.

“It became clear, years ago, that we could not recognize each of our highly deserving students at our May graduation ceremony,” said Meznar. “During the Honors Convocation, we can honor some of the students who have been most impressive this year.”

During the 2023 event, 29 students were recognized, and one student, Bennett Gungor, was named the top student overall.

Top Overall Student: Bennett Gungor


Bennett Gungor with “Favorite Professor” Laura Brewer.

Bennett Gungor, a computer information systems and supply chain management double major from Apex, North Carolina, was named the 2023 Top Overall Student.

“Bennett is an exceptional and inspirational student, and he has maintained an impressive GPA while also being involved in varied extracurricular roles,” said Dr. Meznar. “It’s made more impressive by his journey to overcome challenges including dyslexia and motor issues.”

Gungor is an Eagle Scout, the secretary for the Supply Chain Management Club and an active member of both the Appalachian Information Technology Professionals and the Charlotte Chapter of the Association for Supply Chain Management. He is also a member of honorary organizations including the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Iota Mu, and Beta Gamma Sigma.

Gungor is the 44th App State student to be named to the list of top students. View the list of winners, since 1984 online,

The top overall student is selected from the ten outstanding undergraduate students by major.

Outstanding undergraduate students by major

Bennett Gungor was the 2023 outstanding student in Computer Information Systems. The outstanding undergraduate student awards by other academic majors are as follows.

Accounting: Logan Pavlansky


Logan Pavlansky with “Favorite Professor” Brian Hasson.

Logan Pavlansky, from Yadkinville, North Carolina, is President of Beta Alpha Psi. His role includes overseeing professional and service events that not only benefited the student body, but also enriched the community, like supporting the Valle Country Fair fundraiser. After completing his Master’s degree at App State, Pavlansky plans to earn his CPA license.

Economics: Antoni Marvin


Antoni Marvin with “Favorite Professor” Ash Morgan.

Antoni Marvin, from Statesville, North Carolina, is majoring in General Economics and minoring in Mathematics. He is a member of Omicron Epsilon Delta, and his hobbies include stock market investment. Marvin plans to do an internship in the field of economics after graduation, and he is considering graduate school with ultimate plans to work as an economic analyst. 

Finance and Banking: Hannah Bagley


Hannah Bagley with “Favorite Professor” Lori Medders.

Hannah Bagley is a double major in Finance & Banking and Risk Management & Insurance with minors in Accounting and Psychology. She is a member of the Walker College of Business Honors Program as well as several Walker College organizations. Bagley’s hobbies include co-managing $300,000 in a paper trading stock portfolio and participating in the Women in Financial Services Initiative. 

Hospitality & Tourism Management: Elizabeth Grace Murphy


Elizabeth Murphy with Lori Medders.

Elizabeth Murphy is from Marvin, North Carolina, and is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, where she has served as Membership Organizer, Recruitment Assistant, Matching Coordinator, and Vice President of Operations. After graduation, Murphy will be moving to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany to work at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.

International Business: Alison Nowatkoski

Alison Nowatkoski considers the defining moment in her college career to be going to Madrid to satisfy her international experience requirement; she chose App State and the Walker College for its International Business major. 

Management: Kiersten Groth


Kiersten Groth with “Favorite Professor” Jacqueline Tilton.

Kiersten Groth is a management major with a digital marketing minor from Garner, North Carolina. She is serving as president of New Life Campus Ministries, and the knowledge and experience she has been gaining through her major courses align with her heart to serve and help others.

Marketing: Rachel Rabideau


Rachel Rabideau with “Favorite Professor” Bonnie Guy.

Rachel Rabideau is from Dexter, Michigan, and at App State has served as Vice President of Collegiate Sales Society and as a participant in the National Shores Sales Competition. She plans to work in sales for a company that allows room for upward growth both professionally and educationally. 

Risk Management and Insurance: Sienna Sigmon


Sienna Sigmon with “Favorite Professor” David Marlett.

Sienna Sigmon is a Risk Management & Insurance major with a minor in Dance from Taylorsville, North Carolina. She is Co-Director of Events for Gamma Iota Sigma and is in the Momentum Dance Club and Appalachian Dance Ensemble. After graduation, she will be joining Granite Insurance as a Business Insurance Account Manager.

Supply Chain Management: Garrett Hoyt


Garrett Hoyt with “Favorite Professor” John Lehman.

Garrett Hoyt is from Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is former co-president of The Appalachian Wesley Foundation, where he currently serves as student representative on the board, and is also President and former Vice President of App State Cure Club. After graduation, Hoyt will work as a Supply Chain Consultant with Sunrise Technologies of Winston-Salem.

Outstanding students by graduate program

The outstanding undergraduate student awards by graduate program are as follows.

Master of Science in Accounting: Maddisen Robinson


Maddisen Robinson with “Favorite Professor” Ken Brackney.

A native of Boone, North Carolina, Maddisen Robinson completed her undergraduate Accounting degree and is working toward a Masters of Science in Accounting. She was involved with Beta Alpha Psi and served as treasurer, and is involved with the Student Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants. Robinson will work as an assurance associate for RSM US LLP in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office after graduation and plans to obtain her CPA license. 

Master of Science in Business Administration: Nathan Kotas


Nathan Kotas with “Favorite Professor” Santosh Nandi.

From Clemmons, North Carolina, Nathan Kotas has been a part of Appalachian Information Technology Professionals (as a fundraising executive, Treasurer and Vice Presiden), the Finance Association and Gamma Iota Sigma. Last summer, he completed an internship with Ally Financial in market and liquidity risk and this summer will intern at Wells Fargo in strategic risk in their master's Corporate Risk Program.

Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics: Veronica McCurdy


Veronica McCurdy with “Favorite Professor” Tammy Kowalczyk.

Veronica McCurdy is in the Masters of Applied Data Analytics program with a concentration in Sustainability Analytics and is from Sarasota, Florida. She was the Vice President of Finance for Pi Sigma Epsilon, which is a professional marketing and selling fraternity. She has been a white-water raft guide for the past three years in North Carolina and Colorado and is a sustainability research assistant working with Tammy Kowalczyk on a project called Scaling Forest Carbon Programs. After graduation, McCurdy will be moving to Denver, Colorado, to start her job as a sustainability analyst at Deloitte. 

Top students by clubs and organizations

During the Honors Day Convocation, the college also honors students who have shown exemplary leadership and service through its many clubs and student organizations. 

American Marketing Association: Ashley Pearson


Ashley Pearson with “Favorite Professor” Lubna Nafees.

Ashley Pearson is a Digital Marketing and Management double major from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. She recently attended the faculty-led Angers Marketing/Finance program where she got to explore Paris, Angers, and Normandy, France. She worked with a marketing agency and brought together many volunteers to help with ESPN GameDay last semester. Ashley has previously worked as a social media manager, and is currently a digital content creator for a radio station in Raleigh, That Station. She would love to ultimately work in international branding from a conceptual level.

American Marketing Association: Austin Rich


Austin Rich with “Favorite Professor” Lubna Nafees.

Austin Rich, from Hendersonville, North Carolina, is a Digital Marketing major with a minor Graphic Communications Management. He is President of American Marketing Association and a Holland Fellow. 

Appalachian Information Technology Professionals award: Bryan Hunsinger


Bryan Hunsinger with “Favorite Professor” Jeff Kaleta.

Bryan Hunsinger is a Computer Information Systems major with a Cyber Security concentration from Boone, North Carolina, and a member of Appalachian Information Technology Professionals. His plans after graduation are to work at Lowe's Hardware in their Tech Hub in Charlotte. 

Appalachian Information Technology Professionals award: Cheyenne Reckart


Cheyenne Reckart with “Favorite Professor” Jeff Kaleta.

From Oakland, Maryland, Cheyenne Reckart is a Computer Information Systems major and a Business Analytics minor. She is president of AppITP and a member of Alpha Iota Mu. Previously, she served as AppITP Brand Administrator. 

Appalachian Supply Chain Club: Nathan Sliney


Nathan Sliney with “Favorite Professor” Laura Brewer.

Nathan Sliney is a Supply Chain Management and Digital Marketing double major from Davidson, North Carolina. He is President of the Supply Chain Club and will be working with Maersk after graduation as a Sr. Customer Experience Partner. 

Beans2Brew: Gracie Hodgin


Gracie Hodgin with Beans 2 Brewer Advisor Sara Figlow.

Gracie Hodgin, a Hospitality and Tourism Management major earning a minor in Digital Marketing, is from Reidsville, North Carolina. Hodgin is the Supply Chain Director for Beans 2 Brew and Treasurer for the Hospitality and Tourism Student Association. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in events, sales, or destination management. 

Beta Alpha Psi: Cindy Lin


Cindy Lin with “Favorite Professor” Brian Hasson.

Cindy Lin is an Accounting major from Spruce Pine, North Carolina. She is Treasurer of Beta Alpha Psi and a member of IMA Student Chapter. After graduation, she will attend graduate school and pass the CPA exam before starting her full time job with Grant Thornton. 

Executive Impact: Jyoti Yadav


Jyoti Yadav with Lori Medders.

Jyoti Yadav, from Delhi, India, is in the Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics program. She works with Executive Impact Club and Beans to Brew. She hopes to work for a company that values data-driven decision-making and allows her to utilize her skills in data visualization, statistical analysis, and programming. 

Finance Student Association: Hannah Bagley

Hannah Bagley, who was the top student in the Finance and Banking major, was also honored by the Finance Student Association. 

Future Business Leaders of America - Collegiate: Justin Schroeder


Justin Schroeder with Lori Medders.

From Matthews, North Carolina, Justin Schroeder is a double major in Human Resource Management and Risk Management & Insurance, with an Employee Benefits minor. He is president of Future Business Leaders of America-Collegiate, development coordinator for Beans2Brew, and a member of Gamma Iota Sigma, Society of Human Resource Management, and Order of the Arrow. 

Gamma Iota Sigma/Pruett Award for Outstanding Risk Management and Insurance Graduate: Tanner Grail


Ganner Grail with “Favorite Professor” David Marlett.

Tanner Grail is from Cornelius, North Carolina, and is earning a BSBA with a major in Risk Management & Insurance and minors in Employee Benefits and Film Studies. He is the current President of Gamma Iota Sigma - Rho Chapter and past VP of Membership. After graduation, he will be joining the Underwriting Trainee Program at Markel in their headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. 

Institute of Management Accountants Student Chapter: Andrew Sexton


Andrew Sexton with Lori Medders.

Andrew Sexton is a Master of Science in Accounting student from Raleigh, North Carolina, and a member of the Institute of Management Accountants Student Chapter. After graduation, he will be working for a large CPA firm and hopes to one day be a partner or CFO. 

International Business Student Association: Vicky Chen 


 Vicky Chen with “Favorite Professor” Laura Brewer.

Vicky Chen is a double major in Supply Chain Management and International Business from Raleigh, North Carolina. She is President of the International Student Association, Outreach Chair of International Appalachian, and President of the Chinese culture club. She plans to do an internship abroad over the summer and then teach English in China while traveling. 

National Association for Business Economics: Russell Springer

Russell Springer is a General Economics major from Hillsborough, North Carolina, and a member of the National Association for Business Economics. After graduation, he hopes to find his way onto an operation MS team, helping people to work more efficiently. 

Pi Sigma Epsilon: Evan McKendree


Evan McKendree with “Favorite Professor” Robin Romanus.

From Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, Evan McKendree is an Accounting major and is Vice President of Administration for Pi Sigma Epsilon. He plans to obtain his Master in Accounting degree and work for a public accounting firm after graduation.

Society for Human Resource Management: Julia Blazinic


Julia Blazinic with “Favorite Professor” Kristl Davison.

Julia Blazinic, from Waxhaw, North Carolina, is majoring in Sociology and minoring in Computer Information Systems. She is President of the Society of Human Resource Management and is on the Student Conduct Board. She plans to start her career in the industrial organizational psychology field and hopes to one day continue her studies in a master’s program..

Transfer Student Association: Jenna Kucmierz


Jenna Kucmierz with “Favorite Professor” Robin Romanus.

Jenna Kucmierz is an Accounting major from Cary, North Carolina. She is Interim President of Walker College of Business Transfer Student Association and a member of Beta Alpha Psi. After graduation, she hopes to earn a master’s degree in accounting and plans to obtain her CPA.

Walker Fellows: Hunter Zheng

Hunter Zheng, from Spruce Pine, North Carolina, is a Computer Information Systems major with a concentration in Cyber Security. He is a Walker Fellow and a member of Beans 2 Brew. After graduation, he will work with Grant Thornton as an IT Audit associate. 

“Employers tell us that Walker College graduates are known for being hard workers and can be counted on to do what’s expected, they hit the ground running and are unafraid of tackling challenges,” said Dr. Meznar. “Many excel in what they do and amaze those around them with the passion and creativity they bring to the organizations in which they serve and classes they attend, and a few consistently excel and contribute in ways that truly stand out and you know these students will make the world a better place. These have been recognized today.”

About the Walker College of Business

The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at


Gungor named top student; 29 earn 'App State Best' honors
Published: Apr 23, 2023 9:14pm