Staff Profiles

Alex Howard

Dr. Alex F. Howard
Director

(he/him/his)
howardaf@appstate.edu

Alex is a native of Sampson County, North Carolina and a proud graduate of Clinton High School.  Following his high school graduation Alex completed a Bachelor's of Science in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine at High Point University, and both a Master's and Doctorate of Public Health at the University of Kentucky.  Alex considers his work in the Department of Wellness and Prevention Services to be his ideal setup, because the work unites his commitment to education and educational settings with his passion for public health.  When Alex is not engaging students through his work on campus, he can be found enjoying time with his family at a nearby park, or attempting to fly fish in the local streams and rivers.

Ben Asma

Ben Asma
Assistant Director and Coordinator for Alcohol and Other Drug Services 

(he/him/his)
asmabt@appstate.edu

Ben was born in Asheville, NC and raised in nearby Haywood County prior to moving to Virginia where he graduated from Alleghany High School.  After high school, Ben attended James Madison University and graduated with a bachelor of science in Psychology and a minor in Biology.  He then returned to North Carolina and enrolled at Appalachian State University where he completed a master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with post-master's certificates in Addiction Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy.  Ben views his work in the Department of Wellness and Prevention Services as his perfect job, working with his favorite population—students, and environment--the university setting, in efforts to promote, create and sustain holistic well-being during a significant developmental period of life.  When Ben is not providing counseling and wellness services, he enjoys spending time and playing with his family and dog, Blue, as well as listening to music, watching football (Go App!) and Formula 1 racing, or trying his hand at woodworking.

Elisabeth Cavallaro

Elisabeth Cavallaro
Assistant Director and Coordinator for Student Mental Wellness

(she/they)
cavallaroe@appstate.edu

Elisabeth was raised in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated with a Bachelor's in Psychology from Florida State University and a Master's of Public Health from University of North Florida. She loves being able to apply a truly public health approach to improving the mental health of the students on campus, especially since improving mental health through public health techniques is such a new practice in the mental health world. Making a difference with students and working with the great team in Wellness and Prevention keep her excited to come into work every day. In her off-time, Elisabeth is usually playing with her dog or cat, enjoying all that Boone has to offer with her friends, contra-dancing, or reading a good book

Janna Lyons

Janna Lyons
Nutrition Specialist

(she/her/hers)
lyonsjw@appstate.edu

Janna is a native of Watauga Co. and an alumni of Appalachian State University, having completed both an undergraduate and graduate degree in Nutrition. Janna enjoys her work with students through the Department of Wellness and Prevention Services.  When Janna is not engaging students through her work on campus, she enjoys spending time with her family, bouldering, and being outside in general.

Kyra Patel

Kyra Patel
Coordinator for Student Social Wellness

(she/her/hers)
patelk@appstate.edu

Kyra was raised in Apex, NC and attended Appalachian State University for her undergraduate degree in Statistics. While at AppState, she was an orientation leader, worked in the Dean of Students Office, and founded the Annual Suicide Remembrance Night. Following graduating in 2016, she attended the University of Kentucky earning a Masters of Public Health in Health, Behavior & Society. During her time there, she was the graduate assistant in the Office of Financial Wellness. Since her sophomore year of undergrad, she has wanted o work n the field of student affairs, and is excited to use her public health degree to work with WECAN and the Red Flag Educators to raise awareness for holistic well being on AppState's campus. When she's not at work, Kyra is busy reading in her eno and enjoying all Boone has to offer.

 

 

Jake grew up in Gaffney, SC and attended Gardner-Webb University where he received a bachelors degree in Music Performance. Jake went on to attend Appalachian State University and received a bachelors degree in Music Therapy. He was deployed to Iraq with the Army National Guard for a year. Upon returning from deployment, he continued at ASU graduating with a masters degree in Music Therapy and a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy along with graduate certificates in Systemic Multicultural Counseling and Addiction Counseling. Jake serves as a coordinator for the Collegiate Recovery Program, provides counseling, and facilitates outreach programming for wellness. Jake is excited to utilize his education in music therapy and systemic training in marriage and family therapy in areas concerning mental health, recovery, stress reduction, and relationship development. Jake also serves as an adjunct professor in the Music Therapy Department at ASU. He has lived in Boone, NC with his wife since 2015 and they are expecting their first child soon. Jake has a big heart for the community and enjoys fishing, chess, softball, and making music with others.

Dina Critcher

Dina Critcher
Administrative Support Specialist

(she/her/hers)
critcherdw@appstate.edu

Dina was raised in a close-knit community in Davidson County, North Carolina, and graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor's degree in Sociology, along with a minor in Psychology. Although not the career path she had intended, she worked 23 happy years in private medical practices. Managing the Office of Wellness and Prevention Services combines her administrative skills with her desire to work in public health. When she is not working, she loves to spend time with her family, travel, and have dinner with friends.

 

Ben Estorge

Ben Estorge
Graduate Assistant

(he/him/his)
estorgebj@appstate.edu

Bens early childhood took him from Charlotte, NC to Danville, KY, and as far abroad as Upsala, Sweden, but he spent his past 10 years in Greenville, NC. After attending D.H. Conley High School, he stayed local at East Carolina University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Now, Ben is joining the Appalachian State Wellness and Prevention Department as a Graduate Assistant while he pursues a Master of Science in Nutrition. Ben views his job in the Wellness Department as an opportunity for curiosity and creativity with a role expanding from advertising and design to nutrition counseling and education with students. Through his role, he hopes to be an advocate and resource for students on campus while discovering new passions of his own. When Ben isnt in the office, he loves to play disc golf and Nintendo games or work on new skills like juggling and voice acting. Ask him about his training for a sprint triathlon, he could use the encouragement.