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Sierra Salandy poses in Browning lobby
Sierra Salandy – Political Science

“I’m a huge advocate for women empowerment, and I want to be a role model for young women, especially young black women, because I love inspiring others, and I’m very passionate about community service, diversity and sisterhood."

Nick Foreman – Graduate, Industrial-Organizational Psychology

“Austin Peay is objectively impressive. I didn’t think it would be this impressive when I first came here. I knew it was going to be a good school, but I didn’t know I was going to have these opportunities.”

Jane Seage – Classics, Physics

“Austin Peay has provided a lot of opportunities for me that I might not have gotten at a bigger school. You get a lot of individual-level learning with your professors. It feels more approachable. I’ve definitely learned more about myself.”

Everyone at Austin Peay has a story to tell.

For some, Austin Peay was the next step after high school, while others first chose to serve their country. Some grew up in the shadow of its campus, while others saw Austin Peay as an opportunity to challenge themselves away from their hometown, state or even country. Many saw one of Austin Peay’s nationally recognized programs as the path to their dream career, while others arrived as freshmen still looking to discover their passion.

But regardless of what brought them here, every student’s story is one of someone impacted by Austin Peay’s mission to find the leader in everyone.

We invite you to meet some of Austin Peay’s past and current students, and discover for yourself what makes each #GovLife unique.

As a community of creators, critical thinkers and performers, our students challenge the status quo. They bring a unique perspective to their medium and create new experiences every day.

Erica Harris poses for photo on Browning lawn
Erica Harris | Theatre and Dance, Student Veteran
“When I went to the Military Student Center, that helped me stay focused and encouraged me to want to do better, because when I was struggling in some of my classes, like biology and math, they had people there who were majoring in that type of thing, and they were more than happy to help, or find help for me.”
Read Erica's story here
Jeremy Vega
Jeremy Vega | Art
“Before college I wasn’t social at all, I didn’t have anyone to show my ideas, but here I can show my work and see their reactions, and that makes me want to create more.”
Read Jeremy's story here
Izzy Melvin poses in front of Art and Design building
Izzy Melvin | Graphic Design
“The second I stepped on the grounds here, I knew this is where I wanted to be. My mom looked at me after the orientation, and she said, ‘This is where you’re going to go, I already see it in your face.”
Read Izzy's story here


Khari Turner
Khari Turner | Studio Art
“The education I'm receiving is important because my painting is informed only by the things I know. If I don't know anything, then I'm not painting.”
Read Khari's story here
Heather Gauthier
Heather Gauthier | Instrumental Music Education
“Austin Peay is the best decision I’ve ever made. It just feels like family. It feels like home.”
Read Heather's story here

Austin Peay students lead innovation across all industries through collaboration, work ethic and a willingness to take risks. During their college careers, our students mold the future of some of the fastest-growing fields.

Robyn Yates poses for photo in Maynard building
Robyn Yates | Computer Science
“Austin Peay gave me a new beginning, an opportunity. I had no direction, no clue what I wanted to do. Now I’m so excited and ready to rule the world with code. I’m stoked.”
Read Robyn's story here
Elijah Carter plays violin in front of MUC
Elijah Carter | Computer Science
“To me, ‘Be a Gov’ means to know that you're going to meet incredible challenges and roadblocks but to still work and push through them.”
Read Elijah's story here
Jane Seage poses in Harned breezeway
Jane Seage | Classics, Physics
“Austin Peay has provided a lot of opportunities for me that I might not have gotten at a bigger school. You get a lot of individual-level learning with your professors. It feels more approachable. I’ve definitely learned more about myself.”
Read Jane's story here
Celeste Malone poses for photo outside MUC
Celeste Malone | Graduate, Communication
“APSU has continuously challenged and pushed me to become the person I am today.”
Read Celeste's story here
Amanda McNair
Amanda McNair | Computer Science
“As I’ve learned more and different (computer) languages, I feel so much more confident. My communication skills are better, and now that I’m a senior, my leadership skills are on point, and I know they’ll get better.”
Read Amanda's story here
Nathan Nickelson
Nathan Nickelson | Computer Science
“Austin Peay offers so many opportunities outside of class to help students along the way to find better job opportunities and to make better career choices.”
Read Nathan's story here

There's no one place an Austin Peay student might land after their graduation. Some go on to become elected officials or take their skills abroad to fight human trafficking. Others become established businessmen and women, while some find their place reporting on the largest news items of the century. The one unifier for all these students is their ability to make a lasting change to the world.

Sierra Salandy poses in Browning lobby
Sierra Salandy | Political Science
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve definitely learned a lot about politics. It’s challenged me in all the right ways.”
Read Sierra's story here
Michael Hunter
Michael Hunter | Graphic Design
“There’s a lot of personal growth that I’ve experienced here. It’s really changed my outlook and perspective on not only my career path but life in general.”
Read Michael's story here
Meghann Stamps poses for photo outside of MMC building
Meghann Stamps | Broadcast Media
I always knew from a young age – from a very, very young age – that I enjoyed talking, especially on camera. I just knew this is what I wanted to be.”
Read Meghann's story here

Emmanuel Méjeun poses for photo in MMC
Emmanuel Méjeun | ('17) Music Performance
“Everything about my story is tied to music: it’s my passion, it’s my love, it’s going to be my job — It’s everything to me.”
Read Emmanuel's story here
Alexis Hill poses for photo on Softball field
Alexis Hill | Biology
“Austin Peay has treated me way better than I ever thought it could have, and if I had to do it all over again, I’d still choose to go to this University.”
Read Alexis's story here
Jenna Pry
Jenna Pry | Marketing
“I wanted to go to a bigger school, but I’m glad I go here because it’s smaller, I’m with my friends, and the classes have 20 people, so I’m able to connect with my professor.”
Read Jenna's story here

Sometimes, making a difference happens from counseling the mentally ill or giving comforting care to a patient in need. Other times it's about teaching new students how to be successful, using your own story as an example. All of these students work daily in their own communities to make a difference in impactful ways.

Hunter Burkhart poses for photo in McCord
Hunter Burkhart | Nursing
“The program at Austin Peay has been great for building my confidence and showing me that Austin Peay nurses really do make some great nurses.”
Read Hunter's story here
Adolph Dagan poses for photo in his Rossview High School classroom
Adolph Dagan | ('14) Education
“I want to encourage others to excel, that come from other countries and believe that learning and the curriculum at Austin Peay is difficult. They can do it and it can be done.”
Read Adolph's story here
Austin Derden poses for photo in Miltary Student Center
Austin Derden | Graduate, Mental Health Counseling
“I get to do a great service to not only military-affiliated students and veterans, but anybody can come use the (Military Student Center) and use our textbook program. I greatly enjoy expanding on that program. We really provide a heck of service.”
Read Austin's story here
Sarah Sullivan
Sarah Sullivan | Nursing
“If you aren’t challenged, you aren’t learning.”
Read Sarah's story here
Lynn von Hagen
Lynn von Hagen | Biology
“APSU is special to me because I felt like the daunting task of being a returning student was assuaged by the kindness of both the teachers and my fellow students.”
Read Lynn's story here
Shawn Harding
Shawn Harding | Political Science
“As a student, it was an amazing adventure here at Austin Peay, being able to do what I do. I liked the way Austin Peay approaches students and classroom sizes. For me, it was the better option.”
Read Shawn's story here

Leaving home is hard. Taking the leap of faith that there will be opportunity for you in an unfamiliar place comes with a great deal of uncertainty. At Austin Peay, any student can find opportunity. Any student can find success.

Derrick Tims poses for photo in Library
Derrick Tims | Psychology
“To me, being a “Gov” means that you constantly challenge yourself to be better than you were the day before.”
Read Derrick's story here
Natalie Castillo
Natalie Castillo | Psychological Science
“I like to think everyone is a superhero, but we just have to unlock our own unique superpowers — and a degree in psychological science is going to help me unlock and use my superpower.”
Read Natalie's story here
Vanessa Paniagua-Rodriguez poses for photo in Clement building
Vanessa Rodriguez-Paniagua | Sociology
“When I went to community college, I didn’t lead. I literally went to school and left. Being here, I feel like I’ve had a lot of encouragement from my professors to do that extra thing. For me that’s being the leader I knew I could always be but needed that extra push to achieve. I’ve appreciated that a lot.”
Read Vanessa's story here
Wesley Gray poses for photo in Kimbrough
Wesley Gray | Business Management
“I really like online classes for my schedule. On top of being a student-athlete, being in ROTC and a few other organizations, it’s made my life much easier.”
Read Wesley's story here
Brinna Lavelle poses in MMA training area
Brinna Lavelle | Biology, Pre-Vet
“I realized this is what life is about, I have to put in the work and push myself fully to get the grade that I want.”
Read Brinna's story here
Jacob Knight
Jacob Knight | Business Management
“I knew I wanted to be here and be a Gov. I wasn’t joining a university I was joining a family.”
Read Jacob's story here
Gwendoline Berger
Gwendoline Berger | English Language and Literature
“The English classes here are so much more interesting. Every class is so interesting and the way they teach is so different. They are more about the interaction with the student.”
Read Gwendoline's story here