MacDonald, Tovar honored by Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies

Megan MacDonald and Henning Tovar have been honored by Appalachian State University's Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies. The two are recent alumni from the Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics in the Walker College of Business.

Megan MacDonald has been inducted into the Cratis D. Williams Society of Outstanding Graduates.

Related: Master's degree candidates named outstanding achievers by Walker College of Business

Megan MacDonald was selected for induction into Appalachian's Cratis D. Williams Society of Outstanding Graduates of the Graduate School for a high GPA and faculty recommendation. According to a graduate school representative, "the recognition is only awarded to a select handful of members at the top of each graduating class." 

"Megan has demonstrated high achievement by completing the rigorous curriculum in the MS in Applied Data Analytics program with a 4.0 GPA. In addition, she has been the co-captain of the Analytics Team which is part of the Executive Impact Club, the graduate student organization. As co-captain, she assisted fellow students to learn some new analytics tools and for competitions. She is one of the first students to do a thesis as part of her MSADA program. She also presented her research at a regional and an international conference. Both presentations were very well received. Megan has always been very helpful to her peers and to the graduate program. She has also served as a great role model to the middle and high-school girls in the Innovate for Good program. She is a natural leader and is sure to be a great asset to the organization/community she joins next."

MacDonald, who is now serving as a research fellow at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, will receive a medal for her achievement.

Related: Alumni spotlight: Megan MacDonald describes her Appalachian Experience

Henning Tovar is featured in the 2020 Graduate Education Exposition as a Hirschvogel Fellowship Recipient.

The Hirschvogel Foundation provides three graduate fellowships each year at Appalachian. The fellowships are for outstanding students seeking a master's degree in business or STEM fields. Fellows receive $2,000.

Tovar is also earning a Master of Science in Political Science from Appalachian. 

Tovar said: As a graduate student in political science and applied data analytics, I am interested in the intersection of data science and social science. My research focuses on the application of newly developed methodological approaches like machine learning and advanced statistics to the vexing questions of the social science. During the 2020 Spring semester, I had the honor to successfully defend the first master's thesis in the applied data analytics master's program. My thesis investigates the relationship of coal mining on county level mortality rates and provides evidence for the potential health risk coal mining can pose to communities that live in the vicinity of mines. Furthermore, I have made substantial progress on my second master's thesis in political science during the Spring semester. My research investigates the interaction between news media and political actors. I am using machine learning techniques to analyze large amounts of textual data and find evidence to quantify the media attention given to speeches of the President of the United States. The Hirschvogel Fellowship has helped me greatly to succeed in my personal and scholarly development and Appalachian State. Particularly as an international student in the United States money is a factor that affects many of my daily decisions and can quickly become a constant concern. The financial security generously provided by the Hirschvogel Foundation allowed me to focus on my academic work and grow personally and academically.

Megan MacDonald, Henning Tovar
Published: May 11, 2020 11:12am