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ICA Graduation Celebration Program Spring 2020

Letters I, C and A in different textiles and Western Carolina University underneath

Cover Page of the Intercultural Affairs Graduation Celebration Program

Congratulations to Graduating Students

Headshot of Chancellor BrownKelli R. Brown, Chancellor


Dear Western Carolina University Graduate,

The Intercultural Affairs Graduation Celebration is a biannual event designed to recognize the diverse backgrounds of our university's student body. Today, even though we are physically apart, we are coming together thanks to the wonders of technology to celebrate the accomplishments of Western Carolina University students who are from underrepresented populations and who have made a positive impact on our campus community.

Whether you are black or white, Asian or Latino, Native American or multi-racial, you are an important member of the Western Carolina University family. Whether you are gay, straight, or transgender, you are valued at our university. It doesn't matter if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist, and it doesn't matter if you are liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between – we all are Catamounts!

I am proud of the work that ICA does to help foster a campus environment where all students – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and ideology – can feel not just welcomed (although being welcomed is very important), but can feel valued and respected. This is an important part of a university education – learning how to celebrate our differences while also recognizing that we have so much more in common than we have things that divide us.

The students we honor through this celebration are vital to this mission. Although this is not the sendoff that we expected at the beginning of this journey, there is no denying that each one of the students we recognize today has left an indelible mark on our university family.

Congratulations on your accomplishments here at Western Carolina University. Please do not remain a stranger after your graduation. Please stay engaged and involved with your university by being a mentor or role model to our future students. I look forward to hearing about your future endeavors in our increasingly diverse and interconnected global community.


 Kelli R. Brown, Chancellor

Head shot of Sam Miller, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

Sam Miller, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

To All ICA Graduation Program Student Honorees – Congratulations!!

On behalf of all my colleagues in the WCU Student Affairs Division, I want to congratulate each of you for earning your degree! 

The ICA Graduation Program is a joyous occasion where we celebrate the graduates and their success.  While I’m disappointed we couldn’t assemble together this year, I’m hopeful that you’ll take some time and reflect on this important moment in your life and feel a sense of accomplishment.  With your degree in hand and your college experiences in your heart, you are well prepared to leave WCU and go make a difference in the world!  My sincere wish for each of you is that the next chapter of your life surpasses all your hopes and dreams. Well Done Graduates! 

H. Sam Miller, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Headshot of Carol Burton, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

This is a caption positioned off a photo

Dear Graduating Students, soon-to-be Alumni:

It is my honor to have an opportunity to offer congratulations on your milestone of completing a degree from Western Carolina University and to wish you the very best in your next chapter. While this leg of your personal and professional journey is ending, a whole new world, wherever that may be, awaits you and we are excited to hear about your imprint on it!

For many of us who have chosen higher education as our raison d’etre (reason for being) or métier (life’s work), there is no greater reward than helping students to realize their dreams and desires; YOU are the reason we do what we do and speaking personally, I learn far more from you, our students, than from any other source of learning. You have inspired me with your passion, humbled me with your grace, and challenged me with your agency. My greatest reward is to see you succeed in your goals and make a difference in our world.

I am sorry that world events have prevented us from celebrating in person right now. I hope each one of you knows that I am with you in heart and spirit and encourage you to make WCU your second home; visit us often, and don’t forget your alma mater (your “adopted mother”).

Congratulations and best wishes, always!

Carol Burton, Ed. D.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

’87 and ’89 WCU Alumna

Headshot of Kellie Monteith, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Kellie Monteith, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


My Congratulations to each and every one of you!  May the friendships and memories of your time at Western Carolina University follow you wherever your journey takes you. 

I hope you find the quote below as meaningful as I do:

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. 

No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. 

The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey –

and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. 

 This is the day your life really begins.”

~Bob Moawad

Best Wishes for much Happiness!


Kellie Angelo Monteith
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Headshot of Bashaun Smith, Interim Dean of Students

Bashaun Smith, Interim Dean of Students

The time that you spent at Western Carolina University (WCU) will be one of the most memorable events in your life. Although the semester ended in a way that none of us could have expected, you still have your memories. Remember meeting the Intercultural Affairs staff for the first time, remember meeting your now best friend for the first time, and remember your path to graduation. You have earned this moment, and COVID-19 cannot take that away from you. Celebrate all your accomplishments at WCU and be excited about your future. We thank you for choosing WCU many years ago and we look forward to you coming back soon.

Go Cats!


Dear Spring 2020 Graduates:

How I long to congratulate you with a close-up smile and hug, a handshake, a side press (arm around your shoulder). These celebratory greetings are for you: you earned them! And for me: they sustain me. How impressed I am by your accomplishments: success in the classroom, leadership support for organizations, nurtured friendships, encouragement for each other and your mentors. You are so ready to make your dreams real and your contributions count. At graduation, it is time for me to wish you well and happy...and watch you leave the familiar places where we have interacted. This is necessary and right, and the time has come. I look forward to hearing about your adventures. This is a new, changed world in which you embark; you are new, changed people ready to shape it. Do so boldly and brilliantly. I watched "Self Made" on Netflix this month and I thought a quote from Madam C.J. Walker was in order, “I want you to understand that your first duty is to humanity. I want others to look at us and see that we care not just about ourselves but about others.”

All My Best,

Amy McKenzie,  ICA Advosory Board Chair

You have been an inspiration to others during your time and involvement at WCU. Your hard work and dedication to your goals will help you succeed in your future and this is the first step in a lifetime of success. Graduation from a university opens doors to you and allows you the opportunity to be creative in your future and you should wear this accomplishment with pride. Know that you have a team of Western Carolina University community members who stand behind you and wish you the best.

Theresa Cruz Paul, Director

Center for Career and Professional Development


Congratulations ICA grads! We want to commend you for everything that you’ve contributed to our campus and community during your time at WCU. From your involvement in programs like the Tunnel of Oppression, Safe Zone, and the MLK Unity March, to leadership in the SL-SLC Conference, to mentoring your fellow students in Project CARE, you make Western a better place for all of us. It’s amazing to see the impact that students can have on shaping our discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. We wish that we could congratulate you in person, but since we can’t, please know that we appreciate all of you, and that we can’t wait to see the impact you make on the world after graduation!

The Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement



Dear ICA graduates –

The staff of the Mountain Heritage Center sends love, congratulations, and our very best wishes to you!  Over the past year, we have enjoyed spending time in the ICA office helping with exhibits and window displays commemorating the dedication of Levern Hamlin Allen Hall, Native American month, and encouraging culturally sensitive holiday celebrations. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to interact with you, and we are proud of your WCU achievements and excited about your future potential as you move into the next phase of your lives.

Best regards,
Pam Meister, Peter Koch, Loran Berg & Lois Stiles


Jess, Lila, Mike, and Victoria,

Congratulations on this incredible accomplishment! Completing a graduate level degree is no easy task – doing so while balancing personal lives and a role like Graduate Community Coordinator is a feat! We are proud of how far you all have come in the two years you’ve been with us – and you should be very proud of yourselves. Your hard work has been appreciated, your suggestions and great ideas have been helpful and insightful, and the opportunity you have given our team to see you develop has been an honor. We wish you all the best and hope you’ll stay in touch – Western Carolina University & Residential Living will always be here for you and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for each of you.

With Catamount Pride,

Alex, Annaleise, and Laura


By Kym Erickson


You're the driver of your destiny,
Passenger of none,
In control and looking forward
Of things that must be done.

You're the captain of your ship,
Destination unknown,
Plans to help you get there
And freedom to bring you home.
You're the pilot of your airplane;
Fly as high as you can.
Life is what you make it,
So follow your plan.

Hopes and dreams not yet reached,
Motivation on display.
A journey full of ups and downs,
Experience gained each day.

Direction is always forward;
Backwards remains the same.
Discover your authentic self,
And have a willingness to change.

Enhance each quality given.
Develop talents you were blessed.
Transform your heart into one of gold,
And believe in more than yourself.

Mistakes are made; we move on.
We get back on our feet.
I'm here to support you always
Should you ever need me.

For every start there is a finish.
For every beginning there is an end.
Hold onto your accomplishments,
And even tighter to your friends.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the graduates, and to those of you who have helped them reach this milestone. Special THANK YOU to:

 ICA Staff

ICA Council

ICA Advisory Board

WCU Print Shop




 Graduating Students' Pics and Bios

Picture of Abigail Ackerman


Forensic Anthropology major with a minor in Biology



My name is Cayden and I'm an Engineering Technology student. I aspire to be a R&D engineer who gets to design the next big thing somewhere within the biomedical field. I don't think I would have made it to this point without my friends. They've helped me through some of the toughest times I've had. I'm super grateful for them

Picture of Crystal Alonzo


My name is Crystal Alonzo and I am a social work major and I am a first generation student. As a Latina, I strived to be successful in my education, because my parents sacrificed so much for me to be able to have this opportunity. I am graduating with a 3.5 GPA and have been on the Dean's List and Chancellor's List several semesters. My goal after I graduate is to be a forensic interviewer for a children's advocacy center. I would eventually like to go and get my Masters in Social Work so that I can be a therapist. First I would like to thank God because without Him I couldn't have done any of this. Also, I would like to thank my mom and dad for always encouraging me and giving me all the support in the world. Also, my sisters Maria, Gabby, Ruth and my brother Chuy for always believing in me.

Picture of Corey Alston


I will be obtaining my Bachelors of Science in Political Science with the goals of starting my own non-profit organizations, and serving in my local city government to help solve problems within minority communities. I would like to thank the entire ICA office, from everyone before me to currently has shaped me into the person I am, and will continue to mold and change anyone who accepts them with open arms. (Also, Class of 2020 is the realest to ever do it.)


Picture of Dillon Anderson


Inclusive Development Entrepreneurship 2018-2019 Homecoming Court Member 2017-2018 Chapter Officer of the Year Director of C.O.R.E Incoming WCU Full-time employee


Photo of Trey Armstrong


Double Major in Marketing & Sport Management I’ve been an undergraduate marketing assistant for 3&1/2 yrs at WCU’s athletic department. I’ve completed a social media/ digital marketing internship at Fayetteville State University. An opportunity to work for the Miami Heat. I’ve been a governor’s page. A Brother of the Nu Zeta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (Spr.18’) My dream is to believe that whatever I want is attainable. It ain’t like life come often. Only thing worse than death is a regret filled coffin. You have to try before you die or always wonder what if, and thank the lord for this beautiful gift. -J. Cole Thanks Dean & Dr. P for all you do for ICA and an amazing trip last year. Thanks to my momma. You kept me in check and uplifted me. Challenged me and loved me. Thank you for every single thing you’ve done for me. I love you Mrs. Tacquice. NZ I love y’all.Janina & Brian ILY. ICA fam thank you for the memories and mentees, ILY4L. Be safe! -Trey Strongz




Masters degree for Special Education: Severe and Profound. I plan to become a special needs teacher in the Buncombe County area. I would like to thank all of my professors and advisors for helping me get through grad school. I also would like to thank my family and my friends for being the best support system through all of the ups and downs.




My name is Caitlin Bailey I am a 2012 Graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelors in Business Admin. I conquered this dream of completing my Masters of Entrepreneurship alongside my wonderful Husband Jarrett. We thank God, our supportive parents, and family. To our 3 year old daughter Joey, we love you and can not wait to welcome your brother this summer and launch our business.


Photo of Devony-Ann Barker


My degree will be my greatest tool to reach a career where I will be valued as a thinker. I would like to thank my mother for reminding me everyday that hardwork pays off. This is for you above all else mom.

Photo of Cesar Bautista CESAR BAUTISTA


I am a computer science major with a math minor. It has been a wild road to get to this point and I have accomplished many things along the way. My proudest accomplishments at WCU include getting into the Chancellor's List, getting the Intermediate Computer Science Award, and being a student ambassador. My goals for the future are to go into the workforce after graduation and afterward getting my master's in computer science. I would like to thank the computer science department who has helped me throughout my time here at Western Carolina, LASO for making me feel at home so far from home and to my friends that without their encouragement I would have never made it through this journey. Last but not least, my family for supporting me in every step of the way and always believing in me. Thank you!


Photo of Rebecca Bolick


My name is Rebecca Bolick. I am a mother to three wonderful boys who are my world. I am majoring in Birth to Kindergarten and once I complete this degree I would like to further my education and get a masters in Psychology. I have worked in education as a Pre-k teacher for 12 years before joining the EC team in the public school system. I absolutely love working with kids and having the ability to watch them learn and accomplish new skills. I want to thank my parents Royce and Robert Bolick for always having my back and pushing me to continue my education to better myself in my profession. I would also like to thank my boyfriend Thomas who has been so supportive and encouraging of me going back to school. I want to thank my boys Waylon, Chandler and Bryson who are always willing to give a helping hand and understanding when I would have the long nights of school work. I love you all and would not have been able to do this if it was not for your love and support.


Photo of Victoria Bost


I am a native of Charlotte, NC and completed my undergrad at Winston-Salem State University in 2018. I will be graduating with my Masters of Education from the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program. While at WCU I served as a GCC for residential living for two years, co-advised BSU, and had the wonderful opportunity to advise NPHC for the 2019-2020 academic year. I aspire to continue working in both residential living and greek life, while advocating for students of color. The reason I am in Student Affairs is because I aspire to serve as a positive resource and a beacon of light for students who may not see themselves reflected in faces of other faculty and staff . I want to thank the GSED office for allowing me to work with the BEST group of students I have ever met and establish my family at WCU. I want to thank NPHC for allowing me to learn alongside them, as well as helping me affirm my passion. Because of them my goal is to one day become a Dean of Students.

Photo of Katie Curic with Paws



I would like to thank both my parents and my sister for supporting me and my goals of being a forensic scientist. Thank you for always making sure I had the best resources to reach my goals, and for loving me through all the ups and downs of my life so far. I would also like to thank all my close friends and family for supporting me throughout my collegiate career.

Photo of Rebekah Cole


I am a Psychology major, and want to thank the psychology department teachers. A huge shout out to Dr. Gordon!


Photo of Whitney Collins


To my professors Erin Tapley and Richard Tichich, I am eternally grateful. “One need only read the signs”

Photo of Kastor Cunah

Kastor Cunah

Double Major, Stage and Screen and another in Art. I'm happy to have been apart of Pride of the Mountains marching band, Kappa Kappa Psi Fraternity, and the Honors college. I cant wait to share my creativity and imagination to those around me in the world. Thank you to everyone who has ever supported me.

Photo of Jayvilin Davis

Jayvilin Davis

I am a psych major, of course I have more to go but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I’d like to help out with the opioid epidemic eventually by becoming a substance abuse therapist. My family has played a substantial role, but my friends my chosen family have played the biggest. I’m forever thankful for their support.  

Photo of Taya Davis

Taya Davis

Major: criminal justice Minor: psychology I’m graduating college and is a huge accomplishment. Dreams are to work in homicide eventually. And I would like to thank my lovely family but mostly my mother for building me up and helping me get to this point. I couldn’t have done it without her! Much love <3


Photo of Michael Durcan

Michael Durcan

I'm a Forensic Anthropology major and a Cherokee Studies minor.

My biggest accomplishments are graduating college, marching world class performance ensembles like Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps and Equinox Percussion, and making my family proud. I love my mom, grandma, and papa. They're the reason I made it this far in life, and the success couldn't have come with it without their constant support and love!


Photo of Ashley Faulkner

Ashley Faulkner

My name is Ashley Faulkner, I major in Political Science, minor in International Studies, and have a concentration in Peace, Violence, and Security. Some of my accomplishments are studying abroad in Finland, getting work work with the UN for Women and Tesla while I was abroad, maintain staying on the Chancellors list, and making tons of international friends. My goal/dream after graduating is to get a job overseas working with an INGO dealing with my concentration and hoping to make a difference somewhere in the world. I hope I can make this goal/dream a reality. As for the people I want to thank, I want to thank all my professors for helping me along the way, my family, and my friends. Without any of them, I don’t know if I would have made it through college.

Photo of Ladasha Funderburk

Ladasha Funderburk

My major is Criminology with a minor in creative writing. I was certified with stop the bleed of November of 2019 and volunteer for the Western Carolina University Tunnel of Oppression. My goal is to become a crime scene investigator or assist in Victim advocacy. I would like to thank my friends, family, and teacher that helped me grow as a person and to give me the strength to move forward, no matter how hard it got.


Photo of Benito Garcia Garcia

Benito Garcia Garcia

I am the American Dream. My parents came from a country where education is a privilege and not a right. They have worked hard to give me and my siblings a better future, a future that can be attained through the power of education. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. It’s an honor to represent them and it’s an honor to push forward. I am proud of being Latinx and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I hope one day I can give back to the people and the communities that raised me, fought for me, and stood by me. I want to thank my mom and dad (Catalina and Juan), my brother and sister (Antonio and Marisol), my best friends (Cole and Dexter), all the people that have rooted for me, all the wonderful teachers and professors that have all taught me different skills, and to the people who didn’t think it was possible - dreams are attainable through hard work and dedication. And like Shakira once said “walking gets too boring when you learn how to fly...”


Photo of Yolanda Gonzalez

Yolanda Gonzalez 

I’m majoring in Recreational Therapy. I hope to one day work in behavioral health, with developmental disabilities, or in a cancer center. All over the place. I hope to one day come back and be a professor. I’d like to thank my family, especially my parents for always pushing me and demonstrating to me how to serve others.


Photo of Lauren Hoffman

Lauren Hoffman

I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support throughout this program. As an HR professional with five years experience, I know this program will catapult my career even further.


Photo of Nicole Hunter

Nicole Hunter

I am graduating summa cum laude with a double major in hospitality and tourism and businesses management with a minor in finance. I had the opportunity of studying abroad in Aruba in Spring 2018. I was the president of the Event Management Club and member of Delta Zeta sorority. After graduation I aspire to be a corporate event coordinator.

Photo of Sasha Jumper

Sasha Jumper

Graduating with a MSW degree. I hope to use my degree to give back to my community and my people in order to create stronger future generations.


Photo of Jaslyn Littlejohn

Jaslyn Littlejohn

I am from Gaffney, SC and I majored in CIS at WCU. Hopefully in the future I will own a couple businesses and make a name for myself! I would like to travel the world and go to places I've only seen on TV.


Photo of Rose Long

Rose Long

English Major with a Concentration in Film Studies; Art Minor

Photo of Anna Maier

Anna Maier

Hey, my name is Anna and I'm a student from Germany. I am an Anthropology major with a concentration in forensic and minor in Biology. After being part of this program I am glad to say that I have made lots of good memories and accomplished more than I ever dreamed of in this place. I have made many good friends and connections I will never forget including classmates, coworkers, teachers, and friends from all across the world. I was involved in extracurricular activities like sports but also volunteered for the Anthropology department. In October I will start a Master of Science degree in England and hope I will succeed there as well. My goal is to be able to come back to the US one day and work here as a forensic Anthropologist. Thank you to all my family and friends who have made this experience possible and this unique and memorable but also to the faculty who has taught me so much and has given me more than amazing possibilities for the future.

Photo of Eliana Martin

Eliana Martin

Master of Social Work, my major accomplishment was to complete my Master program while raising a 5 year old and giving birth to my now 8 months old son, I hope to shorten the gap of culturally responsive resources for the Latino Community in WNC. I will thank my husband for the support , dedication to our family and sacrifices while I completed my Masters and my sons for allowing me to grow professionally and sacrifice meaningful moments with their mom


Photo of Morgan Mccoy

Morgan Mccoy

My major is social work. My dreams and goals are to help communities in need, whether it is helping children get in school and stay in school; or helping underprivileged families find the resources they need to survive. I try to be an advocate for those who may be overlooked in society. I am the first in my family to go to, and complete, college. I would like to thank my wonderful family, friends and professors for encouraging me to never give up and to do my best. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.


Photo of Erica McCurdy

Erica McCurdy

I will be graduating with a Bachelors Degree in English-Professional Writing, with a double minor in Dance & Film Studies. While at WCU, I have had a tremendous time being a leader on campus. Serving on Executive Boards with Student Government Association, Black Student Union, Queens of WCU, Inspirational Gospel Choir and the Pi Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has allowed me to gain forever friends and learn with AMAZING individuals. My work with the Western Carolinian, The Mountaineer and Storytellers Dance Co. has allowed me to develop a deeper passion for creating. Being a part of so many campus communities has brought immense fulfillment to my collegiate journey and homes to come back to. I would like to thank my tribe; family, friends, sisters, advisors and mentors. Though my chapter at Western is coming to a end, my story is far from over. My dreams and aspirations are always evolving, so stay tuned to see what’s next!

Photo of Tembre Moates

Tembre Moates

Major: Psychology Minor: Coaching Accomplishments: Being apart of WCU Women's Basketball Team, Being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Inc., Member of Project Care Dreams/goals: Being a collegiate basketball coach Thanks: I would like to give thanks to my mother for always pushing me to be the best person I could be growing up.

Photo of Emalee Money

Emalee Money

My majors are Sociology and English Literature, and in the fall of 2020, I will begin my Ph.D. in Sociology as Virginia Tech. While at WCU, I have fought for the destigmatization of menstruation through the creation of the RSO PERIOD@WCU. I am a leader in beginning the menstrual products pilot program, and I started the REDDOT program to create safe places for menstruators to go to for any help, conversation, and products. I presented a study of Daisy Buchanan and bi-polar disorder at NCUR 2019, along with many presentations at conferences on campus. Other projects of mine include the Humans of WCU project, an independent study titled Lily-White: Valley of the Lilies and WCU’s Intertwined History with the EBCI, and research for the pilot program. Most of this couldn't have happened without the support of the Sociology dept, in particular, Dr. Mwaniki. In my career, I plan on continuing my research on the marginalization of minority groups by university systems.


Photo of Akina Moore

Akina Moore

Masters in Nursing Education, Tier 1 Engagement score 3 years in a row, Daisy award in nursing, Hopefully become a leader in the nursing education field, would love to open a charity for inner city at risk youth, I want to thank my husband, Jay and my best friend, Edna for always supporting my goals and my daughter for being my motivation. Thank you to all my family and friends for always encouraging me to do my best and to never give up!


Photo of Ashley Morgan

Ashley Morgan

HR manager with a desire to help people and grown professional relationships in the workplace. I have to thank my husband for the support throughout my journey to finish my masters.


Photo of Prince Muhammad

Prince Muhammad

I am originally from L.A. and moved to North Carolina the summer of 2015. Here at WCU, I major in Business Administration and Law, which I have almost completed. I am proud to share that I am 20 and will be finished with my bachelor’s degree quite soon!! When it comes to my academic career, I always (try) to settle for As and nothing less. I am a semi-retired model and actor. I have acted and modeled since the age of 5 and may continue modeling in the future, but not so much acting. I am also artistic, and I love to draw people. I have decent experience with mediums such as plain (or colored) pencils and paints. I specialize and prefer pencils because I feel that they are easiest to manipulate. I love to meet new people, travel new places, eat new foods, reading, and working out at the gym.

Photo of TJ Nicolson

TJ Nicolson

Natural Resource Management, Eagle Scout. Dreams of making others smile and enjoy the little things around them. Thank you Mom and Dad for everything you two have done to get me where I am today. I would not be who I am today if it was not for your guidance and love.


Photo of Kailiegh Naylor

Kailiegh Naylor

I am a legacy student majoring in psychology and sociology. I plan to attend graduate school at Western and get my Masters in Counseling. I want to help as many people as I can with a primary focus on the African American community. I have been heavily involved in my Western community by being in organizations including Inspirational Gospel Choir (Director), Sociology club (President), Black Student Union (Secretary), ICA Council and helping with other events. I have worked in the admissions office, as an Orientation counselor and a Psychology Ambassador. I is also apart of honors societies Psi Chi (Psychology), Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology) and Order of Omega (Greek honors). I am also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and served as the Chaplin. I would like to thank God, my parents and friends for always supporting me and helping me become the best I can be. I am excited for the future with Philippians 4:13 in mind. GO CATS!


Photo of Toiriste O'Neal

Toiriste O'Neal

MSHR WCU Spring 2020 Goal of consulting personally and with businesses during my twilight career. Dedicated to my mom: Shirley McCloud O’neal. RIH October 2013


Photo of Chioma Opara

Chioma Opara

Biology with a Pre-Med concentration, Minor in Business Admin. Project Care Mentor, Founder & President of the Organization Of African Students, Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Participated in the Diversity Dialogue of “Women in Leadership”. Goals: Get admitted into PA school at MEHARRY or Campbell University and continue to work and volunteer at the hospital I work in. Continue to make connections. I would love to Thank Intercultural Affairs for all their love and support! This was my first family at Western and it will continue to be! Big shout out to Tacquice, Holli, Dr. Patterson and Karin! Love you guys so much! And I appreciate you.

Photo of Tara Outen

Tara Outen

I am a half Filipino, first generation nursing major in the honors college. I am on the dean's and Chancellor's list. My goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist in the future. I would like to thank my fiancé for sticking by my side and constantly supporting me throughout this journey.


Photo of Cassidy Pindur

Cassidy Pindur

I’m an Interior Design major now applying to grad schools for Higher Education Student Affairs. I am a first-gen student who will now be getting a degree! I hope that in the future I am able to support students who live on campuses. I would like to thank Brian Boyer for always being a supportive campus dad to me and always pushing me to do my best! I would also like to thank all the Residential living Pro. Staff for their support and guidance through my past two years as a Residential Assistant and I know they will be there to support me as I follow my dream to support and work with students like they have. Thank you fellow Catamounts for always Leading the way and supporting each other as best as possible! Go CATS!!!!!


Photo of Kavin Pryor

Kavin Pryor

Hello, My name is Kavin Pryor and I am a Criminal Justice major with a minor in Psychology. After I graduate my plan is to work in event planning for a year or so, then I will go to graduate school for Higher Education Student Affairs where I will then be a graduate assistant for the universities campus activities board, from there I would like to work my way up to eventually overseeing the university. I would like to give special thanks to Stephanie Sue Rowell, Johanna Mercado, and Brandon Lokey, and most and foremost GOD!


Photo of Kalie Reep

Kalie Reep

I’m a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. Im a first generation college student and my goal is to help lower income families so that I could hopefully ease the financial burden that a lot of them face. And I’d like to thank my mom because I really wouldn’t have been able to do this without her.

Photo of Shelby Riley

Shelby Riley

I have been a psychology major with a communications minor. My dream is to be able to work with African American communities and bring more awareness to the importance of mental health care. My time at western was made better by surrounding myself with influential, caring, and loving people. I’m grateful for my sisters from the Kappa Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. , Alyssa Westberry, and Malik Williams. I’m thankful for all of the staff who have helped me reach my full potential as well. I’m ready for the future, goodbye Western!


Photo of Treven Robinson

Treven Robinson

Major: Business Management Accomplishments: Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, Member of Western Carolina Men’s Basketball Goals/Dreams: To be extremely wealthy and provide for my family Thank: I would like to thank my parents for helping me get this far in life, professors for pushing me to do the very best and friends for being there for support and sharing memories for four years.


Photo of Kendra Rogers

Kendra Rogers

Hello I'm Kendra, a 41 year old mom to a 10 year old little girl. I am a 21 year member of the Military (both Active Army and Active National Guard). I am graduating the Early Childhood Education program this year! I want to become a Kindergarten teacher! I would like to thank my daughter for enduring evenings and weekends with her mama doing homework and I want to thank Western Carolina for providing a program that fits my demanding job and lifestyle!


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Dylan Rood

Chemistry major I have been the president of Delta Sigma Phi, presented at conferences around the nation, held positions in key areas around campus including Chancellor's Ambassadors, Student Government. It has been my mission for the last 4 years to come to this day and become an alumni of a great university such as WCU. My goal has been achieved. I am now onto new horizons with a job and a great support system waiting for me post-graduation.

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Jose Saavedra

My name is Jose F. Saavedra and I am a young professional in the aviation industry. I enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Leadership to broaden my skills and enhance my career prospects. Everything I am is owed to Doña Silvia, my mother. She thought me at an early age that education is the key to a brighter future. She was right, as always. Her work ethic and lifelong commitment to learning have guided me every step of the way. I walk away from WCU with a lot more than an education. This experience has allowed me to grow as a person in more ways than I can explain within this paragraph. The biggest lesson I have learned is that life is too short to doubt yourself. Reach for the stars and if you fail just get up and try again.


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E'Quince Smith

I am a senior Criminal Justice major from Raleigh, NC. During my time at western, I have served as a Resident Assistant, the Director of Internal Operations for SGA, and the President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. I will be pursuing my masters in Higher Education upon graduation, with the hopes of being a higher ed attorney. I would like to thank all those that have supported me during my time at WCU, especially all of the ICA Staff, Res Life staff, Colin Croat, Savannah Matherly, and Tacquice Davis. I wish everyone the best!!


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Kianna Smith

I currently major in Film and Television Production. I aspire to be a Director of Photography in film, ultimately winning an Oscar. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing experience at Western Carolina before I moved to Atlanta. Unfortunately, our senior year was cut short, but I do not take for granted a single second of being on campus and meeting some wonderful people. The people that I have met had a major impact on my experience here at WCU. They supported, encouraged, and made me feel loved. I truly made a second family here and I thank God for that every day. I would first like to thank my Mom and Dad for supporting my dreams with complete love and support. Secondly, I would like to thank my friends for making my experience and always making my time here wonderful and keeping me sane when times got overwhelming. And lastly, I would like to thank the faculty who taught me how to be a filmmaker and challenged me because they saw my potential. Thank you all for my experience.


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Taylor Stump

I am a Graphic Design major and the first in my family to graduate from college. I started off my college life unsure but optimistic. I have managed to do several life changing things while attending WCU. I worked briefly as a radio show host, I was the proud illustrator for The Gadfly (a satire magazine on campus), I even work as the Western Carolinian magazine cartoonist. However, I am more proud of the person I have become and the challenges I've overcame while here. My dream once I leave is to go work for companies like Barbie so I can help bring change to little girls. I couldn't have done this without my mom, my brother, my roommate Alex, and all of my good friends!

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Tatianna Vereen

My major is Social Work and I’ve received the dean’s list and the chancellor’s list this past fall semester. I dream of helping members in the community who are facing homelessness and want to receive their license, GED/High School diploma, and with independent living in a safe environment. My goal is to work in an positive environment where everyone wants to see other succeed. I would love to thank my professors who’ve pushed, educated, and reached out to ensure I accomplish my goals inside and outside the classroom.


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Allyson Wainright

I'm a Communications major with a concentration in journalism. For all four years, I've made the Chancellor's/Dean's List. I've had the chance to work with AT&T as one of the writers for the NC African American Heritage Calendar. A s a first generation college student, I would like to thank my family and friends for their endless support. I don't know where I'm going after graduation, but I promise it won't be boring. Wherever my endeavors take me, I hope that I'm happy. I have a lot of dreams that I would like to achieve, one of them includes creating a documentary.


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Essence Walton

Special thanks to my family, my professors and the learning community!


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Zay Watkins

Master’s Environmental Chemistry Treasurer of FEM in STEM and Mathematics Club Accepted into Order of Omega Want to work as environmental geochemist I want to thank God, my family, friends and faculty members.

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Alyssa Westberry

I am a graduating senior from Winston-Salem, NC. I will be graduating in May with a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy. Throughout my time at Western Carolina University, I’ve been involved in the Black Student Union and ICA Council. I’ve also been an EnTOURage Tour Guide and an Orientation Counselor. I am also a proud member of The Pi Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Throughout the years of 2017-2019, i served as a Project C.A.R.E. Mentor, and for the 2019-2020 school year, I served on the Executive Board for the organization. After graduation, I plan to further my education by pursuing my Master of Science in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program at Miami University, located in Oxford, OH.


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Tanner Wood

Business Administration major, Graduating with a 3.75 GPA, Getting a great job at a very exclusive golf course in Sylva, found a job after I graduate, Finding the sport that I love and want to have as my career, Golf, I aspire to be a PGA Professional at one of the best golf courses in the country. Some of the people I would like to thank first and foremost is God he has given me the strength to complete these past four years, next I would like to thank my parents and family for supporting me and finding a way to give me everything I have ever needed to succeed, I would like to thank my girlfriend Emery for always supporting me and keeping me calm when I am stressing out and I would also like to thank her for making me a better person.


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Major in social work with a psychology minor. Being a project care mentor and being apart of the western Carolina university track team. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to my growth as a person over the last 5 years.

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