Graduating RA makes mountains of change at App State


Maggie Busch

Keyona Anthony, a senior psychology major, and RA for Summit Hall, poses by her dorm room on the 10th floor.

Amena Matcheswala, Reporter

Many freshmen and others living on campus know the familiar feeling of residence hall events: making stress balls with strangers, participating in ice breakers just to forget people’s names moments later and the awkward silence of elevator rides. Summit Hall’s 10th floor can’t relate.

Instead, they spend their time at events tasting strange sodas, building puzzles and catching up with each other in a tight-knit group of floormates, all thanks to the work of senior psychology major and resident assistant Keyona Anthony. 

Anthony is spending her last year as an undergraduate at App State giving those on her floor the experience she wished she had, which is what inspired her to become a resident assistant, Anthony said.

She said she feels like “college is so hard for so many different people for many different reasons,” and to her, it’s important students have the resource of a resident assistant to provide “that close connection to reach out to and talk about your problems.” 

Anthony recalled the closeness she felt with her freshman year RA, someone she said was a great resource for her. She said the pair are still friends to this day. 

Similarly, Anthony herself said she made similar connections with the residents on her floor, some of whom she would never have connected with otherwise. 

“It’s so much easier because we’re on the same floor and everyone cares about everyone, everyone wants everyone to succeed, and I think that’s a great thing,” Anthony said.

She and her residents, who are mostly sophomores, spend a lot of their time studying together, as she shares classes with many of them, Anthony said. They spend time chatting and connecting on a more personal level than she felt she could with resident assistants in her past. 

One of the reasons for that connection is Anthony’s approach to hall-wide events. 

“I want to be there for them and have fun events, talk to them and get to know who they are,” Anthony said. “And I’ve gotten to do that, and it’s been awesome.”

One of these events was a Sip ‘n Solve, where Anthony set out jigsaw puzzles and crosswords for residents to solve while tasting strange flavors of soda, such as watermelon flavored Mountain Dew.

“Obviously, we didn’t finish them because there are 500 pieces and I just left them out, like they were just out, so other residents came and finished them and now we have finished puzzles,” Anthony said. “I thought that was really cool.”

The list of events that drew out her residents more than usual doesn’t end there. Anthony said one of her favorite moments as an RA was Cupcake Catchup, where residents could grab a cupcake and speak to other residents on their floor.

“I had 22 people show up. That was very shocking,” Anthony said. “And it made me happy because there was so many different conversations going on with people that normally didn’t talk to each other.”

Anthony has also been present in other ways, making more personal connections with residents, such as the time she spent bonding with junior social studies education major and resident Elliot Sheehan over spring break. The pair stayed on campus and used their time on an otherwise vacant campus to go grocery shopping and to Bojangles together.

“Keyona is both disciplined and fun. She can be serious when she needs to, but also welcoming and enthusiastic,” Sheehan said.  

In addition to her responsibilities as an RA, Anthony balances roles with various other App State organizations, including APPS, Campus Dining Advisory Board, Honors Vanguard and more. 

Anthony said her role and achievements with APPS are her proudest accomplishments among her extracurricular activities. As vice president of administration, Anthony said she implemented an internal newsletter to follow through on an overlooked section of the organization’s constitution, resulting in greater communication and cohesion between the six councils within APPS. 

Senior electronic media and broadcasting major Emma Finerghty met Anthony during the pair’s shared time at APPS. For Finerghty, it’s hard to pin down a favorite memory with Anthony, someone who she finds to be a hard worker who puts her best foot forward at every turn. 

“Keyona is one of the kindest and most honest people I know,” Finerghty said.

Anthony’s accomplishments were recognized with a Black and Gold Leadership Award from Club Council, which recognized her as the 2022-23 Unsung Champion.

After graduation, Anthony hopes to go to physician assistant’s school after a two-year gap, during which she will be placed at a clinic in North Carolina for a medical fellowship.

The thing she said she will miss most about App State is the connections she made with others, as well as the routine presented by class schedules that feels weird to get out of.

“I think despite the challenges or issues you may go through, the dorm experience is like no other and the time goes by so fast and the community you have when you’re a freshman is so important,” Anthony said.