“In 2015, through the encouragement and the empowerment of the Roan program, I was given the opportunity to travel to study Evolution and Biodiversity as a part of my core requirements in the Galapagos Islands in South America. While I loved to travel, it was still nerve-racking to leave the country for the first time! Before leaving, I did an immense amount of research and came across a quote by Andrew Zimmern that reminded me of what my father used to tell me, ‘Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding the amazing world we live in.’
To this day, while living in Japan, this quote and my father’s encouragement resonates within me. I’m always trying to look beyond the surface, to question everything I see, to immerse myself in the cultural practices, and to understand the history behind it all. I am motivated to discover as much as I can wherever I go because, as Andrew Zimmern said, ‘Those are the keys to understanding the amazing world we live in.’”
About Carlee Haas Hart
Carlee serves as a domestic abuse victim advocate for the military in Okinawa, Japan. She relocated there after graduation with her husband, who is in the U.S. Air Force. In her blog, wehartadventure.wordpress.com, Carlee records the new people, places, food and culture she discovers daily.
Keely Goodwin '06
Keely’s passion is helping teach people the importance of empowerment. She joined Eastman after graduating from ETSU and has held several marketing and commercial roles. Now, she is Director of Corporate Strategy and serves on the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee. She mentors many people who are early in their careers, helping them create networks, build skill sets and develop confidence to drive personal empowerment.
As a leader of the Catalysts Employee Resource Group at Eastman, she focuses on promoting members of diverse backgrounds, fostering networks of working parents, and relaying critical needs to company’s management.
But most of all, in her mentorship, she seeks to enable people to speak up and share their new ideas and opinions: “I want people to be bold, to take risks, and to have the confidence that they are capable. We can’t create the change we need if we have a lot of head nodding around the table.”
Alicyn York '15
“Through the encouragement and financial assistance from the Roan, I attended the Washington Center’s Inauguration Seminar, where I even had the opportunity—thanks to a Roan alumna—to be in the Inauguration parade as a Tennessee representative.
This experience completely opened my eyes to a new world and made me believe in the power of networking. Realizing a passion for government and politics, I changed my major to Political Science and interned with the Tri-Cities Office of U.S. Senator Bob Corker, which led to another internship with the senator in his D.C office. In D.C., I had the honor of interning with one of the most respected Congressional committees—the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Senator Corker, ranking member at the time, would soon be the chairperson. To say I was intimidated is an understatement; however, excitement for my new journey drowned out all of my fears and worries. I could not have asked for a better internship working for one of our nation’s top leaders, and this led to my first job on Capitol Hill in Senator Corker’s office.
The Roan Scholars Leadership Program not only guided me to that first visit to Washington, D.C., but it taught me skills and life lessons that have allowed me to continue succeeding and growing in our nation’s capital. For that, I will be forever grateful.”
About Alicyn York
Alicyn is a graduate of X High School. Now in D.C., Alicyn is the assistant to the chief of staff/deputy scheduler for Senator Lamar Alexander where she uses her talents for organization, travel planning and events.
Sean and Grace Collins '12
Sean grew up in Johnson City and graduated from University High; Grace grew up in Kingsport, and attended Dobyns-Bennett High School. Meeting as Roan Scholars, they decided to study abroad their sophomore year in Sweden (Grace) and New Zealand (Sean), with support from the Roan.
Grace says, “We both grew in those 6 months, falling more in love with the world and the opportunities it presented. The following summer I spent two weeks in Kenya, again with the support of the Roan, on a medical mission trip. By the end of our four years at ETSU, we knew a few things. One, we wanted to continue our education; two, we wanted to explore more of the world; and, three, we would go down in history as the first-ever Roan couple.” They were Peace Corps volunteers in Swaziland after earning Master of Public Health at ETSU (Grace) and a Master’s at Appalachian State (Sean).
Now living in Asheville, NC, Sean and Grace both work, serve in their church and are foster parents. In those commitments, they believe in leading by example and promoting team members’ efforts to create a stronger team and a more lasting impact. “The best examples of leaders in my life have been the humblest of people. To me being a good leader requires a delicate balance of strength and humility.” - Grace
About Sean and Grace Collins
Sean grew up in Johnson City, TN and Grace grew up in Kingsport, TN, attending University High School and Dobyns-Bennett High School respectively.
Heather Cook '04
“I love firsts. Often times, leadership is found in those journeys to the unknown, seeking new answers. For me, I find energy and excitement in charting new territory. It creates a spark in me that says, ‘I must go.’ As a high school senior I remember when I applied for the Roan, I was especially intrigued that, if chosen, I would be a part of something new and I could help shape the future. My journey with the Roan has equipped me to have the courage and fortitude to go first. In my career, I pursue opportunities where there is no path, where I have the ability to start something new and galvanize people to come together.”
About Dr. Heather Cook
Dr. Heather Cook attended Elizabethton High School and first heard about the Roan from a French teacher with whom Heather had a close relationship. While at ETSU, she attended the International Business Summer Program at Harvard University and went on to get her MBA and doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis at ETSU. Dr. Cook has held multiple marketing and development roles, including executive director of the foundation at Northeast State Community College and executive director at Healthy Kingsport. Currently, she is the director of marketing and public relations for the City of Kingsport and founder of People Developer.
Mollie Rutledge '14
“The Roan was a game changer. Growing up with less privilege than many of my peers felt like running in a race where everyone else had a head start. The Roan gave me the support I needed to be a real competitor. I grew up in poverty and relied to social welfare to make ends meet. My high school guidance counselor encouraged me to apply for the Roan. I had wonderful teachers who proofread my essays and facilitated mock interviews.
As a Roan Scholar, I was surrounded by positive role models: Members of the Steering Committee, staff, alumni, and friends in the Roan who encouraged and challenged me to better myself. After I earned my bachelor’s degree, the Roan gave me the confidence and the financial freedom to pursue a master's degree in Special Education.
Now, as a high school special education teacher and coach, I have the opportunity to "pay it forward“– to encourage high school students to overcome their circumstances and achieve their goals. I am who I am today because of the support of this life-changing program.”
About Mollie Rutledge
Mollie attended Tuscola High School in Waynesville, NC. Now a Special Education teacher at Abington High School in Bristol, VA, Mollie is also married, a mom, and runs marathons in her spare time.