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Office of Student Retention Staff


Leadership and Support

Kristin Daiber Staff Photo


Kristin Daiber

Director of Student Retention

Contact Info: or 828.227.7171
Hometown: Hershey, PA
Joined WCU: July 2021
Undergraduate Institution: Quinnipiac Univeristy- B.S. in Marketing
Graduate Institution: Bowling Green State University- MA in College Student Personnel; Western Governors University- MBA

Favorite Quote: "I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vistas that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come." Nelson Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom

Elinda Forster


Elinda Forster

Administrative Support Specialist

Contact Info: 828.227.3895 or
Hometown: Hong Kong
Joined WCU: 2020
Undergraduate Institution: Western Carolina University
Hobbies: Travel and learn their culture. Read for new knowledge. Enjoy time with family and friends.

Favorite quote:
"You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated." -Maya Angelou 

Retention Advisors

Melissa Day Staff Photo


Melissa Day

Retention Advisor

Contact Info: or 828.227.2956
Hometown: Salisbury, NC
Joined WCU: 2011 as a college freshman; October 2018 as a staff member.
Undergraduate Institution: Western Carolina Univeristy- B.S. in Communication; Minor in Marketing 
Graduate Institution: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary- MA in Religion; MA in Christian Ministries

Favorite Quote: "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin

Picture of Carson Williams, Retention Advisor.


Carson Williams

Retention Advisor

Contact Info: or 828.227.2957
Hometown: Hickory, NC
Joined WCU: 2009 as an undergraduate student, but most recently in June 2021 as a Retention Advisor
Undergraduate Degree: Western Carolina Univeristy- BSEd in Music Education and BM in Instrumental Music 
Graduate Degree: Western Carolina University- MEd in Higher Education Student Affairs 

Hobbies: Letterboxing, Community Band, and taking care of my houseplants

Mentoring and Persistence to Success

Associate Director of Retention, MAPS Coordinator- Vacant


Tim Holloran


Tim Holloran

ASP Coordinator

Contact Info: 828.227.7123 or 
Hometown: Haverhill, Massachusetts 
Joined WCU: 2018
Undergraduate Institution: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Graduate Institution: The Citadel
Hobbies: Reading, working on my house, hiking

Favorite Quote:
"Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks." ~Warren Buffett

Jasmine Kendrick


Jasmine Kendrick

Academic Advisor, Compass Coordinator

Contact Info: 828.227.2217 or
Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Joined WCU: 2019
Undergraduate Institution: University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Graduate Institution: University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Hobbies: Reading, shopping

Why did I become an advisor:
"I was very conflicted with the direction of my life in undergrad. With the support of mentors, I was able to find my purpose in life and find a better sense of direction. This was when I decided getting a degree Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education, because I wanted to obtain the tools to help students who were like me navigate college life. I would like to be a support system for students and help them find their way during their time at WCU."

Favorite quote:
“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” ~ Audre Lorde

Thomas William Newkirk


Thom Newkirk

Graduate Assistant

Contact Info: 828.227.7127 or
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Joined WCU: 2020
Undergraduate Institution: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Graduate Institution: Western Carolina University
Hobbies: Phone Photography, Daydreaming, and Cooking

Why did I become a Graduate Assistant?
The MAPS graduate assistantship aligned with my intention and mission as a higher education practitioner to enhance the first-year experience of diverse first-generation students through advisement, mentorship, leadership development, and guided personal reflection.

Favorite quotes:
"All People - Especially Young People - Need the Same Ten Things: Meaning, Adventure, Community, Power, Respect, Structure, Challenge, Opportunity, Joy, and Love." ~ City Year Inc. 

Gwyn Howard photo


Gwyn Howard

Graduate Assistant

Contact Info: 828-227-7127 or 
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio 
Joined WCU: September 2021 
Undergraduate Institution: Ohio University 
Graduate Institution: Western Carolina University 
Hobbies: Outdoors, playing with my rescue dog, reading, music

Why did I become a Graduate Assistant?  
The Mission of the MAPS office resonates with my educational philosophy and I enjoy mentoring students and celebrating their successes. This position allows me to learn and grow as a professional as I complete my M. Ed. In Higher Education Student Affairs 

Favorite Quote: “Don’t fear death, fear the unlived life”- anonymous

Student Transitions

Assistant Director of Retention, Student Transitions Coordinator- Vacant 


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