Highlanders in the News: Week of May 6, 2024

Every other week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

Looking forward

Saying goodbye to friends is rarely easy.

Kaitlyn Woodby

During the first few days of May, Radford University issued approximately 1,400 degrees and bid farewell to the spring Class of 2024.

But the departure of one band of graduates makes room for the new students to come, and at least three Highlanders-to-be have recently made splashes in the media before they’ve even hit campus.

The first of those, Kaitlyn Woodby, was featured in a May 2 story by the Southwest Virginia Sun regarding Virginia Highlands Community College’s upcoming graduation ceremony.

Woodby, who on Friday, May 10, received her Associate of Arts and Sciences degree and spoke at her commencement, was one of three VHCC grads selected to be profiled for their “outstanding scholarship and a strong academic work ethic” and “potential for future achievement, among other virtues, according to Vice President of Instruction and Student Services Derek Whisman.

In the fall, Woodby, of Bristol, Virginia, will major in psychology and criminal justice at Radford. The Sun profile covers her hobbies, her service as a Student Government Association officer and some of her most formative academic experiences.

“I encourage you to always have a goal or a dream and to work to turn it into reality,” Woodby offered her classmates. “You should always be working to be the best you that you can be.”

Also drawing recognition is Callie Musselwhite, a 2024 graduate of Craig County High School. 

Kara Alday

An April 29 article in the New Castle Record said Musselwhite was one of three student artists whose work was selected to be showcased at the Craig County Courthouse in New Castle, Virginia. The impromptu gallery was proposed back in January by Juvenile and Domestic Court Judge Paul A. Tucker, and a reception for the work was held April 19.

“This honor is a testament to the students’ creativity and art education provided by our schools,” organizers said in the story.

Musselwhite plans to study studio art at Radford, and the work she has on display at the courthouse, titled “Mittens,” is an embroidered photograph of her cat.

Another incoming Highlander is Kara Alday, a recent graduate of Western Alamance High School in Elon, North Carolina.

Alday plans to continue her softball career at the collegiate level while majoring in biology with a focus on becoming a veterinarian.

“We are so proud of you and excited for your very bright future,” read a tweet aimed at Alday on May 2 by Western Alamance’s softball account.

“I am so grateful to have this opportunity to play at the next level,” Alday tweeted in February, soon after announcing her intention to come to Radford. “Go Highlanders!” 


Callie Musselwhite's embroidered photograph "Mittens" (center) was selected to be put on display at the Craig County Courthouse in New Castle, Virginia. (New Castle Record)

Rollin' on the river

Back in 2021, Rick Van Noy loaded up his Wenonah canoe and he and his canine companion, Sully, set off together along the waters of the Delaware River.

HITN_5.6.24.Rick Van Noy
Rick Van Noy

A Garden State native and author, Van Noy followed a 200-mile stretch of the Delaware, well over half of its span, from Hancock, New York, to Trenton, New Jersey.

Along the way, as he paddled, he found time to reflect on the environment, on his ties to his home state, on the stroke he’d recently recovered from and a lot of other matters.

By journey’s end, Van Noy – who teaches American literature and environmental humanities at Radford – had ample material to write another book, “Borne by the River,” due out next week. 

Last month, he, his trip and his work were covered in The Philadelphia Inquirer, first in an April 19 profile, and a few days later in an April 24 collection of stories timed to coincide with Earth Day. He also took a spot in the April 29 edition of Highlander Highlights.

“This was always sort of home,” he told the Inquirer of the Delaware. “I always thought I would come back.”

Be that as it may, next week, Van Noy will be in much closer proximity to yet another storied body of water – the New River. The day after his book comes out, he’ll give a reading of his work at the Radford Public Library on May 16 from 7 - 8 p.m.

The library’s notes mention that Sully, too, is scheduled to make an appearance.

Van Noy’s previous publications include “Sudden Spring,” “A Natural Sense of Wonder” and “Surveying the Interior.”

High resolution

Ben Carlin '12

We’ve told you before about the amazing YouTube success enjoyed by Ben Carlin ’12 and his brother, Jonathan Carlin.

Since 2012, they’ve added more than 2.2 million subscribers to their channel, SuperCarlinBrothers, and have earned YouTube’s much-sought, rarely achieved YouTube Gold Play Button for their popularity. Along the way, they’ve raised more than $100,000 for such charitable organizations as Feeding Southwest Virginia, and through their partnership with the nonprofit Feya Foundation, they’ve also donated more than 20,000 meals.

Those accomplishments and many more are now part of the state record, thanks to Virginia House Joint Resolution No. 367.

The bill, “Commending Super Carlin Brothers,” was sponsored by Virginia State Del. Sam Rasoul and Del. Alfonso Lopez during the most recent Virginia General Assembly session, and it passed in March.

You can read the full text of the commendation online at Virginia’s Legislative Information System by following this link.

May 10, 2024
Neil Harvey