The Spring Class of 2022, the first NC Promise graduating class, leave Cullowhee as one of the most resilient classes in WCU history. They overcame a pandemic that forced a switch to online classes from home, before returning to campus for hybrid instruction, followed by a return to normalcy. Now they are prepared to take that resiliency into the workplace as proud Catamounts.
It was Friday, Jan. 24, when Western Carolina University senior Wyatt Burnette received a call from one of his mentors, former WCU assistant professor Gabe Nucci. Nucci informed him of a valuable freelance opportunity providing postproduction support at Super Bowl 54 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Those “I Voted” stickers Sara Mears’ parents wore after casting their ballots each election during her childhood really stuck with her, and now she hopes to persuade others that voting is the best way to show one’s citizenship.
With each Western Carolina University commencement, the Cherokee Center honors the members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and those with close ties to the Qualla Boundary who earn a degree, with an occasion in the spirit of community and individual achievement.
Have you ever heard of peanuts filtering water? No? Well, Stephen Adom, a 32-year-old graduate student in the Master of Science in Chemistry program, is pushing the boundaries when it comes to filtering water. He is originally from Ghana and is studying chemistry with a focus on environmental chemistry.
Grace Woodard will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art, and a concentration in sculpture, ceramics, and papermaking. During her time at WCU, Grace has received numerous accolades including an Honors College scholarship, Friends of the Arts scholarship, Chancellor’s Academic Scholarship, and the Tara and Jim Miller Art Fund Scholarship. Her thoughtful and nuanced work has also been recognized through a project grant award, and with the “Best in Show” and the Chancellor’s Award at the 51st annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition.
Adam Gregory is receiving his degree in mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences. Entering as a freshman at WCU, Adam did not plan to study mathematics, yet today he graduates one of the department’s most outstanding students. During the last three years, Adam participated in two National Science Foundation-funded summer programs, one at the University of Texas in Tyler during the summer of 2017, and another at Rochester Institute of Technology during the summer of 2018. He credits WCU faculty with much of his success.
A job as a manufacturing engineer is waiting for Jacob Lewallen after graduation, but he’ll have some time before he starts ― at least a couple of weeks. The College of Engineering and Technology graduate from Siler City lined up future employment by attending a WCU job fair earlier in the semester.
Hannah Pollard is graduating from the College of Health and Human Sciences with her doctorate in physical therapy. During her time at WCU, Hannah has served as the quality improvement officer for the student-run Mountain Area Pro Bono Health Services Clinic, providing effective, free physical therapy and social work services to the underserved and underinsured population of Western North Carolina. Hannah’s efforts have helped to improve the quality of life, health, and function of members of the community. She is also responsible for tracking all clinic statistics and using this information to improve clinic or student board procedures.
Samantha Klaver is graduating with a master’s degree in clinical psychology. In terms of research, WCU faculty members say that Samantha has been one of the most productive students with whom they have worked. Samantha’s research focuses on understanding and reducing the impact of interpersonal violence, particularly in children who have been abused and neglected.