Catawba College hires director for Retention and Academic Support Services

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2013

SALISBURY — Catawba College welcomed a director of Retention and Academic Support Services in September. Andie Overbeck Lynch (’06) filled the position and will focus on ensuring that students progress in their college experience without academic or social difficulties.
Lynch has worked at Lowe’s Companies in Mooresville since graduating, most recently as a corporate communications specialist. She believes her experience will help her in her role at Catawba.
“My department was internal communications, where I worked on employee engagement — now I’m going from employee to student engagement. At Lowe’s, we would manage the intranet for employees — we also had a social media site. Here, I’m doing internal communications on a smaller scale — I’m helping the students who may not have the tools or the knowledge to be successful.”
Lynch is “trying to break down the silos wherein different offices were working independently” to make the work of retaining students more collaborative. She started a group, the Student Engagement and Retention Team, with representatives from student affairs, financial aid, athletics, academics, the chaplain’s office and public safety. The group will meet periodically.
She has also laid the groundwork to monitor progress of at-risk students through a new software database. She’s worked with IT to create a template in which data for these students can be collected and shared.
“Next semester, we hope this database — where professors can input information, along with my feedback, athletic feedback — will all be online and all in one place. It will run the gamut for retention — an automated system that will help us be proactive instead of reactive.”
In the meantime, she’s working on being known and accessible to students. She’s kept her office door open, tried to meet and engage every student who happens by, and she’s set up a new Twitter account, @GraduateCatawba, where she posts messages and words of encouragement.
“My challenge is figuring out where the problems are. My job is still developing — we’re still trying to figure out best practices — I think it will change as I get more grounded. If we have an engaged student, we’ll probably have a retained student. My goal is to get them engaged on campus, with campus, for campus.”
Lynch is completing her term as president of Catawba’s Alumni Board. She wants every student to have an experience similar hers. “I’m hoping that we can reenergize the students and have them be proud of going to Catawba. I want them to be proud of not only being an athlete, but eventually of being an alum. I want them to leave here with a different attitude, feeling the same way I did, so they can continue to give back to the school over time.”

Alison Horner Klopp (’95) and husband Breon of Mooresville are giving back to Alison’s alma mater with a new scholarship they have established. Preference for the Horner & Maddra Athletic Training Scholarship will be given to students majoring in athletic training.
This scholarship is named in honor of Alison’s parents — Horner is her father’s surname and Maddra is her mother’s maiden name. Her parents provided the opportunity for her to go to college, as well as support that proved invaluable to her in college and especially graduating.
Alison, originally from Richmond, Va., transferred to Catawba and earned her degree in sports medicine. While a student, she was active in Wigwam Productions, the student activities programming organization, and was elected Homecoming Queen for 1994. She was voted Most Outstanding Lil’ Chief for the ’92-’93 and ’93-’94 academic years, and for the ’94-’95 academic year, she received the David Hoyle Award for Outstanding Service in the Area of Student Activities. She has served as one of the Catawba’s Alumni Ambassadors, as well as the president of Catawba’s Alumni Board and as a director of the Catawba Chiefs Club.
Alison has worked at Catawba as an admissions counselor, at Food Lion Inc., as a drug testing coordinator and as a sales representative for Label Printing Systems Inc. She is a senior sales representative with Josten’s Yearbooks.
Breon attended the University of Wisconsin and is a native of Port Washington, Wis. He is the founder of 5 Off 5 On Race Team Performance and formerly senior director of Motorsports Development and Marketing at Performance Instruction & Training (PIT). He works as a process improvement speaker and workshop facilitator.
“We both served as student athletic trainers at our colleges. We know what a great foundation of experiences and work ethic is gained from being a student athletic trainer which is why the preference for the scholarship,” Breon said of Alison’s and his connection to Catawba.
“Although I am not a Catawba alumni I have always been treated as part of the Catawba family by the staff, administrators, and alumni.”
Alison credits Catawba with providing her the environment to be an individual, and the structure to receive a great education for future success. Many of her employment opportunities have been through Catawba alumni connections.
Alison and Breon are parents of sons Garrett, 4, and Alex, 2.
The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) will host a Regional Professional Learning Day on the campus of Catawba College on Saturday, Feb. 23. This training day for pre-service and current teachers, as well as National Board candidates, is one of five sessions being held across the state.
Although registration is free for NCAE and SNCAE members, and is only $25 for non-NCAE/SNCAE members, preregistration is required. Register online at by Feb. 16, one week prior to the event.
Check-in for the day will be held between 9 and 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 23, with welcome and opening remarks scheduled between 9:30 and 9:50 a.m. Activities for participants will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.
The Regional Professional Learning Day is funded by a grant provided by the National Education Association Student Program.