Our Adventurers

Meet the Adventurers

Dr. Stephanie Welsh — Assistant Professor of Psychology

Hello! I am the creator of this Study Abroad program. Dr. West and I will be accompanying the students on their European adventure!

​As a self-proclaimed nerd, I am a proud Ravenclaw with an adventurer’s spirit. I share my love of traveling with my high school sweetheart, Sean (left). I’ve visited over a dozen countries on three continents, including Africa. And though I could list several European cities as my favorite places in the world, Sevilla, Spain has a special place in my heart. In fact, I consider Sevilla to be a “home away from home” after living there for study abroad. If you ask me about the places I’ve been, I can go on for ages; so, beware! It’s probably no surprise, then, that my favorite activity is reading young adult fantasy and adventure novels (can you tell?). This is another topic I can discuss at length, and I’m always happy to give book suggestions! My daughter’s name, Athena (center), was inspired both by Rick Riordan’s books and our trip to Athens, Greece. It is my greatest pleasure to share my passion for travel and adventure with Carson-Newman students. There is no more enriching and enlightening experience as to explore the perspectives of others through travel. Let the adventure begin!

Dr. Nathan West — Assistant Professor of Counseling

Hi there! I will be working alongside Dr. Welsh as a leader and instructor on the 2023 C-N Interdisciplinary Study Abroad program. 

I enjoy hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, or pretty much anything that involves running around outside. When indoors, I enjoy watching a mind-bending TV show or picking up a memoir and a strong cup of coffee. That said, my favorite thing in the world is exploring new places (and foods!) alongside my wife, Kate (right). When we met in college, we quickly realized we were signed up for the same semester-long study abroad in Europe. Our adventures there—based in Verviers, Belgium and spanning over a dozen countries (and one legendary waffle stand)—sealed our fates as travel enthusiasts. Since then, we’ve been fortunate enough to lug our backpacks across the U.S. and into Canada and Mexico, taking our two dogs (Hugo and Martha) when at all possible.  

When it comes to my favorite spots in the world…I often find myself daydreaming about dropping my feet into a clear mountain lake in Montana, biting into a lobster roll in a New England harbor town, or wandering the lava fields of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But our adventures in Europe hold a special place in my heart. It changed the way I understood history and totally shook my ideas about how big the world is. Thirteen years later, I am still counting new ways studying abroad changed the trajectory of my life. To get more specific: Salzburg, Florence, and Cinque Terre were particularly magical. 

I am a firm believer that experiencing new sights, sounds, foods, and ways of life first-hand is one of the best tools we have for growing our understanding of the world and ourselves. I could not be more thrilled to take part in this journey through Europe with Carson-Newman students!

Alyssa Aycock

Hey, there! My name is Alyssa Aycock, and I’m currently a sophomore double majoring in Graphic Design and Biblical and Theological Studies here at Carson-Newman. I’m from a very small town in West Tennessee, but I’ve had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places. The most beautiful place I’ve ever been to is the Scottish Highlands. I’m super excited to widen my perspective of the world by learning from other cultures and by seeing the places I’ve read about in Art History. To find inspiration you must seek it out, so I look forward to finding many beautiful places and things to fill my sketchbook with!

Samantha Ball

Hi, my name is Sami! I am a sophomore at C-N and am majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biblical and Theological Studies. I am historian of Tri-Alpha’s honor society and I lead a devotional group for young women called God Breathed. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, being outside, reading, making friends, and serving Jesus! I try my best to show every person I meet the love of Christ and I hope that I get the chance to do this on our trip as well. The Lord has brought me so far and now He’s taking me to Europe, and I can’t wait! I am so excited to get to learn and experience pieces of history firsthand and hope to use these experiences to better shape my world view and my heart. Thanks for reading!

Alexis Bender

Hi, my name is Alexis Bender! I am a senior at Carson-Newman. I have never been out of the country, so this is a great opportunity to be able to experience a new environment. I can’t wait to see all the new cultures and scenes. I love to travel, and I look forward to seeing the world! I am part of the swim team here at school which is what I usually do during my free time. Other than swimming, I like to hike, play with my dog, and spend time with family and friends.

Erin Blazer

Hello! My name is Erin Blazer, and I am in the C-N Graduate Counseling Program getting my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling! I graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2021 with bachelor’s degrees in clinical psychology and sociology. My fiancé and I now live in Knoxville, TN with our two rescue pups – Moxi and Lucy. I have always been fascinated with traveling and seeing new sites, but totally fell in love with it when I was able to do a 2-week trip through Europe my senior year of high school. Paris, Barcelona, and Florence were some of my favorite places, and I have been itching to get back to Europe ever since! Architecture, history, and immersing myself in new cultures are things that excite me about traveling, and I cannot wait to see how eye-opening this trip in May will be. I truly believe the world is the best classroom, so I know that traveling with classmates coupled with professors will prove to be one of the most thought-provoking experiences of my life.

Katie Brooks

Hey everybody! My name is Katie Brooks, and I am a sophomore at Carson-Newman. I grew up about twenty minutes from campus and chose C-N for the Christian atmosphere and close to home feel. I am a history major with an education licensure. Going on this trip will give me an opportunity to see the things I love to learn and read about in real life and enhance my ability to teach it later on! I’ve had lots of teachers encourage me to go abroad if I ever had the chance, and I am so very excited to finally be able do it in May!

Brionna Brown

My name is Brionna Brown and this will be my first trip overseas. I have a dog named Ty that I adore and the longest time I have spent away from him is eight months so I am sure he will appreciate this trip only being three weeks! My mom and dad have been pushing me to get out more and explore (the national guard is not what they had in mind) so I am doing exactly that by going to Germany. I love people, culture, experiences, and the chance to create long lasting memories in an unfamiliar setting. Psychology is also a passion of mine and though I may falter in my knowledge of certain aspects of it I enjoy learning about the many different components that make up the individuals that seem to make the world go round. Also a fun fact about me is that I learned that my eyes are two different sizes and now it’s all I can see in the mirror and pictures.

Collin Campbell

Hi, I am a sophomore currently at Carson-Newman with a major in Biblical and Theological studies with a minor in psychology. I play football at Carson-Newman and I am also in the Men’s Chorus. I enjoy history, nature, and especially food while I am traveling. I love to travel because I think that it is such a unique experience to be in a culture other than my own. I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee with my two younger sisters. I am looking forward to this trip to study abroad! 

Gabi Coward

Hey there! My name is Gabi Coward and I’m so excited to be an Adventurer this Summer! I’m currently in my 5th semester in the Graduate program at Carson-Newman working towards my Masters in School Counseling & Clinical Mental Health. I’m originally from Columbia, South Carolina but I absolutely love life here in East Tennessee! I graduated from Erskine College in 2020 where I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in History. I also played DII lacrosse as the goalie during my four years there. When I was in 7th grade, I had the opportunity to visit Paris and London and absolutely loved it, but I have never been anywhere else in Europe and have always wanted to go. I am looking forward to learning all that I can from the perspective of a counseling student. This trip is a huge blessing for me, and I can’t wait to get there! 

Zoey Davis

Hey everyone! My name is Zoey Davis and I am currently a sophomore psychology major here at C-N! I am originally from Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. In my free time I enjoy reading, going to concerts, taking day trips to Asheville (my favorite city of all time), shopping, eating, and spending time with my family.  I absolutely love exploring new areas and study abroad will provide me with my first ever opportunity to leave the country. I wish to learn more about the origins of psychology and truly immerse myself in different cultures throughout my trip! I am so blessed to  able to embark on this journey and super thrilled to meet new people.

Jessica Dutkosky

Hi, my name is Jessica Dutkosky. I am currently a graduate student obtaining my master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I graduated from Maryville College in 2021 with a degree in Psychology and American Sign Language. I love to travel! I went to Ireland with my equestrian team for about two weeks and it was such an amazing experience. I was supposed to study abroad in Switzerland during my undergraduate program and then COVID happened, so we couldn’t go. Due to that, I am so excited about this adventure!! I love going and experiencing what I am learning, and I think this will be an amazing opportunity to do that. I am the most excited about seeing the architecture and the views. Some of my hobbies are horseback riding, hiking, and CrossFit. I have three horses and a dog. They are my favorite things in the world! I am so excited to get to know everyone and experience all the amazing adventures through this program!  

Kara Eldin

Hi everyone! My name is Kara Eldin, I am from Kodak, Tennessee and am currently a senior at Carson-Newman, double majoring in Biology and Psychology! Although I love to travel, I’ve never been outside of the country, so I’m super excited to travel to Europe while learning more about psychology as well as other cultures and countries!

Keleigh Engle

Hi! I’m attending the study abroad trip in May! I’m currently a graduate student in the counseling program at Carson-Newman with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. My hobbies include reading, trying new coffee shops, and hiking (or anything where I can bring my dogs!) I’ve had the opportunity to go to some amazing places in the U.S and outside of the U.S. My favorite place in the United States is NYC because I’m a Broadway lover! As for outside of the United States I have been to Aruba, The Bahamas, and I backpacked most of Italy (my favorite city being Orvieto). I loved being immersed in different cultures, seeing the difference in architecture in different countries, and trying new food! I’m so excited to get to know everyone on this trip and experience so many cool places! 

Madison Harvey

Hello, everyone! My name is Madison Harvey, and I am from Thorn Hill, TN. I am a sophomore Comprehensive Special Education major here at Carson-Newman, hoping to obtain a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology later. Here on campus, I am a part of the Bonner Scholar program and hold several leadership positions within the program. I am incredibly excited to be able to have the opportunity to study abroad, especially since it has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember! Recently I even have thought about taking my career abroad later on to gain a worldwide perspective. I cannot wait to fully immerse myself in different cultures and be able to learn about ideologies and leadership structures that challenge my own beliefs so that I can learn and grow as an individual. Also, I am thrilled to try all of the authentic cuisines that come my way and, of course, to shop and browse around the different towns. Overall, I cannot wait to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with like-minded adventurous people, and I am excited for the journey to start!

Meredith Irick

Hello, I am Meredith Irick, and I am a sophomore pursuing a major in psychology. I have traveled to Europe once before, visiting Spain, France, and Germany. Since then, I have been excited to find my way back to the countries I loved so dearly which is why I am so excited about this opportunity. I work part time at Union Child Enrichment Center, am a princess for Knoxville Princess Parties, and volunteer as a first-grade teacher at my church on Sundays. Besides traveling I enjoy reading, baking, crafts, and spending time with family, friends, or animals.

Riya Jain

Hey there! My name is Riya Jain, and I am currently studying for a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Travel has always been a part of my life. Moving to the United States to pursue higher education was an enormous change compared to my hometown in Mumbai, India. I was eating things I had never heard of, and I learned the differences in standard of living and importance of mental health in the states. Moving to the USA was not my only international travel so far. I have been to Singapore and Thailand too along with my family. These visits have taught me many different things. Being able to see and experience different cultures and meeting individuals across Europe would allow me to apply what I’m learning in the classroom to real-world experiences and tales. I am confident that this program will make me a better counselor for people in need by the exposure I will gain and lessons I will learn.

Rebecca Martin

Hey hey! My name is Becca Martin, and I am a junior Elementary Education major here at Carson-Newman. Traveling became a passion of mine when I was only 10 years old after visiting the western United States. A few of my favorite places were Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Glen Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and East Glacier, Montana. Seeing God’s handiwork in His creation is absolutely amazing. Europe has been on my bucket list, and this was an opportunity I could not pass up! I am beyond excited to immerse myself in each country’s history, culture, and natural beauty. I cannot wait to see how this trip impacts my life for years to come! Besides traveling, I enjoy reading, crafting, going on drives, and spending time with my friends and family. I am already counting down the days until I walk the streets of Europe!

Haden McGuire

Hello everyone! My name is Haden McGuire. I’m from Robbinsville, North Carolina. I am not a student at Carson-Newman, but I have ties with the college. I am thankful for the opportunity to join everyone on this study abroad trip. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching and playing sports, and eating lots of food. I was told about this trip by current adventurer Kristen Strange. I see it as a chance to get out and experience more of the world. I am excited to learn about the different cultures with hopes I will have a better understanding of others outside of the US. I look forward to this trip and hope it isn’t my last.

Codi Munson

Hi! My name is Codi Munson and I am currently a graduate student, getting my Masters in the clinical mental health counseling program at Carson-Newman. I have always loved to travel and see new places and share new experiences with others. It has been a dream of mine to go overseas to Europe and this was a perfect opportunity that I could not pass up! I am most looking forward to seeing the first ever psychology lab in Leipzig Germany. I also excited to try new European food dishes as I am a big foodie! 

Aaron Norwood

Hi, I am currently a senior at Carson-Newman with a Major in Psychology. I have always wanted to travel abroad and am glad I got this chance to I am looking forward to learning a lot about a culture different from my own. It is my hope that we are all able to have some wonderful lasting memories on this trip. I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee I have two older brothers and three dogs.

Gillian Paxson

Gillian Paxson is a current graduate student of the Carson-Newman Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She hopes to focus on marriage and family counseling with her degree and anticipates this study abroad trip to provide a unique experience that will shape how she looks at cultural influences when affecting individuals and family systems.

Hannah Price

Hi! My name is Hannah Price. I am currently getting my master’s in clinical mental health counseling here at C-N. My hobbies include running, golfing, playing tennis, and spending time with friends and family. I played tennis at C-N during my undergraduate studies and throughout that time I created many close friendships with my international teammates. I currently work in The Center for Global Education at C-N. I love connecting with people from different cultures and can’t wait to continue learning about other cultures through this study abroad program! 

Cordell Rivera

Hi I’m Cordell Rivera. I’m a majoring in Wilderness and Wildlife Management. I currently live in Sevierville TN and was born in Dallas TX. I love going snowboarding when I get a chance, mountain biking, hiking, wakeboarding, and jet skiing. My current goal is the be a park ranger for the Great Smoky National park! I’m also an Eagle Scout from Troop 119 in sevierville. I have 138 merit badges. That’s all the merit badges and have all the eagle palms that are available to earned after Eagle Scout.

Kristen Strange

Hey everyone! My name is Kristen Strange. I’m currently a graduate student at Carson-Newman enrolled in the dual degree program for clinical mental health counseling and professional school counseling! Although I’ve traveled with my family quite often before, I’ve never been overseas. This has always been something I’ve imagined myself doing, and I’m so blessed that it’s become a reality! I greatly look forward to experiencing the world and seeing the way things are outside of East Tennessee.