Clark Lawson

Clark Lawson came to Mars Hill on a weightlifting scholarship. His experience on the First-Year Bailey Mountain Hike prompted him to create a community at MHU around CrossFit, the sport that led him to weightlifting and which he credits with helping shape the direction of his life.


Ava Wright, a junior biology major and president of the Student Government Association, talks about her experience as a student at Mars Hill University and the opportunities of which she’s been able to take advantage.

Josh Hager

Josh Hager is Mars Hill University’s student body president, has performed in music and musical theatre productions, started a club that’s still growing strong (and even expanding!), and is a strong advocate for the power of a Mars Hill University education. Learn more about Joshua’s story in our latest Mountain Movers profile.

Laura Boggess

Biology and Environmental Science Professor Laura Boggess is a Mountain Mover on the Mars Hill campus, as she contributes in countless ways to our community! Hear her talk about the prestigious fellowship she received and how it will help MHU students the world in new ways.

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Shaelyn Roberts

Shaelyn Roberts tells us about the hands-on education she’s able to get as a Mars Hill University biology major.




Roman Rojas

Roman Rojas says he found a second home on the Hill. As the university’s first DACA student, he faced some unique challenges, but persevered and fulfilled his dream of earning a college degree, graduating in May with a business administration major and a certificate in community engagement. Through his experiences as a Bonner Scholar, an Alpha Chi member, and a DKT brother, he found numerous opportunities to move mountains through Mars Hill University.

Sonya Saunooke Chandler

Sonya Saunooke Chandler, 2021 MACJ graduate, describes the accessibility of the MACJ  program, relationship with our Criminal Justice instructors and expresses her appreciation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Congratulations on moving your mountain Sonya!



Stanley Wheless

Stanley Wheless was a student athlete at Mars Hill before graduating in 1996. He returned to Mars Hill as assistant basketball coach until 2008, when he left to begin teaching business and coaching at the high school level. Stanley has been the principal of Reynolds Middle since 2017.

Read more about Stanley

Patrick Crudup

Patrick Crudup ’95 studied recreation administration while at Mars Hill. He joined the Asheville Fire Department in 2002 and is now a Battalion Chief for AFD.

In the event of a call/accident, he is charged with ensuring the safety of his team, providing the necessary equipment and resources, and managing multiple units responding. Now he is leading the way for members of his company to answer an unusual call of duty: assisting Buncombe County officials at mass COVID-19 vaccination sites.

Read more about Patrick

Cassidy Allen

In March 2020, Cassidy Allen was in her final semester as a nursing student and preparing for her final season playing college softball. In April, she began working full-time in healthcare and in July she started working in the COVID isolated unit in her workplace.

Cassidy has written about her experience as a brand new nurse working during the pandemic and about her job in the COVID isolated unit in her workplace.

Read more about Cassidy

Lauryn Higgins

Ever since Lauryn Higgins was five years old, she dreamed of being a news reporter. Intrigued by Nancy Drew novels and inspired by stories she heard on National Public Radio while riding in the car with her father, Lauryn always knew what she wanted to do.

Unfortunately, it took the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus to propel her into her dream job.

Read more about Lauryn

Danielle Fant

Along with her mother and sister, Danielle owns a fashion brand called No Punching Bag. As a fashion marketing major (formerly known as apparel and interior merchandising), Danielle is finding that her Mars Hill University classes aren’t just theoretical or preparatory — they’re helping her right now in her career.




Araya Houghton

Our latest Mountain Mover is Araya Houghton, a December 2019 graduate whose Mars Hill journey led her to discover more about herself and to find a project about which she’s passionate.

Araya’s fundraiser for the Fistula Foundation:

Noah Allison

Noah Allison decided to attend Mars Hill University because he appreciated the small town atmosphere along with the tight community feel that he was so accustomed to growing up. Noah is majoring in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, and has been a member of the cross country and track and field teams since he was a freshman.

Read more about Noah

Stephen Schaefle

Our latest Mountain Mover is Stephen Schaefle. Stephen is a veteran who’s taking evening classes to get his degree in social work. We sat down with him on Veterans Day to find out how MHU’s Adult & Graduate Studies program is helping him move mountains.



Malik Frost

Our latest Mountain Mover is using his Mars Hill experience to get his hands dirty. Malik Frost, a history major and Appalachian studies & business minor, spent the summer working on the Berry Site archaeological dig.




Blake Hart

Blake Hart, class of 2007, talks about how his Mars Hill experience led him to service as a missionary in South America and now leading a ministry to offer low-cost immigration legal counsel to the immigrant community in Rock Hill, SC.




Casey Stanek

Casey Stanek ’19 B.F.A. Visual Communications Design. She is standout student, star athlete, and talented graphic artist.




Zach Benton

Our latest Mountain Mover is a familiar face on the Mars Hill University campus and in the community. We talked to Zach Benton on the day after World Down Syndrome Day about his experiences working at the university.

Learn more about Zach




Maria Castro

Mars Hill University political science major Maria Castro is moving mountains in North Carolina’s capital city. Maria is spending this semester as a legislative intern in the N.C. General Assembly. It’s a perfect fit for her, allowing her to pursue her lifelong love of politics which has led her to be president of the university’s College Democrats and an officer in the Latinx Student Association.



Erin Babb

Our newest Mountain Mover is Mars Hill alumna Erin Babb, class of 2004! Erin majored in Music Education and has been teaching internationally. She taught in Moscow several years and she is currently teaching music in Shanghai.



Guy Sayles

Guy Sayles,  Former Assistant Professor of Religion and director of the Honors Program at Mars Hill, tells what makes this university special to him. Dr. Sayles is a teacher, writer, and consultant. His areas of research are the intersections—confluences and conflicts–between religion(s) and culture(s) and the role of language—its possibilities and limits—in communication. This fall he will undertake the role of advisor to the Honors Program, as well as continuing his work with ethics across the curriculum.



Brittany Leckrone

Brittany Leckrone is a graphic design and photography major whose longtime love of photography was strengthened by her Mars Hill experiences, particularly by a wonderful study abroad experience in Italy. See how she’s moving mountains, one shutter click at a time.



Nancy Stump

Nancy Stump was one of the first students to graduate from Mars Hill’s bachelor of science in nursing program. Life got in the way of her being able to go straight from high school to college. But she never lost sight of her dream of being a nurse, and MHU’s Judge-McRae School of Nursing is helping her fulfill that dream.



Hailey Davis

Hailey Davis is a social work graduate of the class of 2017, currently pursuing her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York City. Her Mars Hill experience, an internship in Washington, DC, and her time in the Big Apple are preparing her for a life’s work of helping children and families who often struggle for basic needs and services.



Caitlin Drummond

Caitlin Drummond is an Integrated Education major who takes a stand for those who are battling and in recovery from drug addiction. She recently won the title of Miss Blue Ridge Foothills and used that outlet to bring awareness to drug addiction and the effects on families.



Carl Mattox

Carl Mattox recently graduated from the Master of Management program He was formerly a football player at Mars Hill University and has used what he learned here to build special connections and build his career opportunities.