by J. Todd Coates
Boone, NC — Appalachian State University freshman Noah Cornelius, a native of Waxhaw, dreams of working as a NASCAR announcer. With academic pursuits in his specialty – Electronic media/broadcast softwarethe hands-on work of AppTV outlets and WASU-FM for students and multiple industry internships, he is racing toward that goal.
When Cornelius – a student at College of Fine and Applied Arts – Department of Communication – Not in the classroom preparing for his next life, he’s working on stories as a reporter, hosting App State sports program “The A Game,” doing color commentary and play-by-play on App State and Lees-McRae College sports events or as a production technician for AppTV. In the newsroom, Cornelius enjoys the guidance and leadership provided by his advisors – AppTV General Manager Kevon Wilson, panelist Jim Newman, and resident practitioner Carlos Montero.
“Noah Cornelius is making full use of the college experience. He really tapped into his passion for broadcasting and is constantly honing his skills through student media,” said Wilson. “He’s not afraid to make connections, ask for direction, and take risks. His infectious energy and openness to keep learning will take him far.”
Newman, who studies in Electronic Media/Broadcasting Program, agreed with Wilson’s sentiments, adding that Cornelius is “really comfortable” when he’s on the air.
“Noah is the kind of student that you know is going to be successful. He takes feedback really well and always tries to improve,” Newman said.
Cornelius’ portfolio is testament to these efforts, with clips detailing his work as a news anchor, reporter, sideline sports reporter, and sports personality. He wants to show everyone, including the “Big 4” networks — FOX, CBS, ABC and NBC — that he can be an asset wherever they need him, he said.
“I’ve found my life’s purpose in talking about the things I love. I know I can tell stories and present NASCAR in a way that gets more people to watch,” he said, but noted that he’s not closing the door on any other sports or news opportunities.
He added, “I find joy in whatever I do as long as it’s in front of a camera or a microphone.”
Freshman and transfer student Noah Cornelius of App State is photographed above the stands at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina in Race 1 of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Photo submitted
fueling the dream
Cornelius is among the approximately 1,500 Transfer students at App State who have commenced their undergraduate education with another institution. After performing and recording music as a young singer-songwriter, Cornelius began his college career as an audio/music technology trade student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Then, like many others, COVID-19 changed his plans. He returned home to Waxhaw and worked at Lowe’s Home Improvement, driving forklifts while taking time out to regroup.
Enter NASCAR. During the pandemic, NASCAR was among the first sports to return to television, reviving Cornelius’ childhood enjoyment of the sport. Cornelius, who has also dabbled in content creation on YouTube and through podcasting, has a summer 2021 internship with NASCAR’s PR/Communications department through NASCAR Indoor Diversity Program.
Cornelius chose to return to college at App State, which he describes as an affordable state university with multiple opportunities to learn about broadcasting and gain experience in the field.
“The App State welcomed me with open arms,” Cornelius said. “I have my transfer acceptance letter framed and hanging on my wall because it seemed like a fresh start to me—a reminder of where I came from and where I am going.”
As a resident of Mountain Laurel Hall, App State’s transfer student residence hall, Cornelius developed friendships with other transfer students—relationships he expected to last beyond his time at Boone, he said.
Cornelius spent the summer of 2022 interning with FOX Sports, working on NASCAR Race Hub broadcasts, NASCAR Race Day, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he covered NASCAR action from June through August.
“Noah has been thrilled to be an apprentice with FOX Sports,” said FOX NASCAR correspondent Josh Sims. “He’s a hard worker, quick learner, and incredibly passionate about this industry. Noah was quick to take the initiative and took advantage of every opportunity available during his tenure with FOX.”
While training with FOX Sports, Cornelius also took on a contract role with The Money Team Racing—a NASCAR racing team owned by former boxer Floyd Mayweather—to create content covering the team’s entry into the 2022 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend. Cornelius interviewed team personnel, including driver KAZ Gralla, and also reported updates from the pits during the race. In June 2022, Cornelius takes part in the Vault Radio Talent Institute It is hosted annually at the App State.
Cornelius’ efforts were recognized last year, when he became one of 23 recipients of a $5,000 scholarship from Dr Pepper Institute Tuition Program 23XI SPEED. 23XI Racing (23-11) was founded in 2020 as a partnership between NBA legend Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.
Cornelius recently exploded into Kyle Petty’s country music career when the former NASCAR driver performed at Muddy Creek Cafe and Music Hall in Sparta. This brought both worlds to Cornelius along with a serendipitous twist—a former singer-songwriter who strives to be a NASCAR announcer meets a former NASCAR driver who now performs as a singer-songwriter.
“I run with the chances I have for as long as I can until my legs give up,” Cornelius said. “I just focus on trying to be the best that I can be, constantly working on being wiser and stronger than the man I was the day before.”
what do you think?
your post reactions in this story.
About the contact section
Appalachian State University’s Department of Communication, one of seven departments within the College of Fine and Applied Arts, focuses on preparing students for success in the diverse areas of the communications industry. The department offers five majors—Advertising, Communication Studies, Electronic Media/Broadcast, and Journalism and Public Relations—and a minor in Communication Studies. Graduates work in a wide variety of positions in the media, corporations, agencies, government, and nonprofit organizations. Learn more through https://communic.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a diverse range of perspectives, experiences, and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college includes more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art and Communication, Military Science, Leadership and Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology, the Built Environment, and Theater and Dance. Learn more through https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead meaningful lives as global citizens who understand and share their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience fosters a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to gain and create knowledge, grow holistically, act with enthusiasm and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.