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Research at WCU

At Western Carolina University our students are constantly pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities. The way we define research isn't traditional; papers, books, websites, composition, art. These are just a few examples of how our nationally recognized research is redefining what we think is possible. Here you can explore the way our students, faculty and staff are creating the future and shaping the world we live in.

Fire Ant

Fire Ant Problems Increase in Mountains, Including Higher Elevations of the Region

Move over murder hornets. Fire ants, those vicious insects with a painful sting and destructive ways, are becoming more pervasive in the mountains, according to research from the Highlands Biological Station of Western Carolina University.  

The endangered dusky gopher frog.

Saving the Dusky Gopher Frog

Habitat destruction and degradation are mostly to blame for the dwindling numbers of amphibians worldwide, but there are other factors contributing to the overall decline—and some of these remain elusive. Joseph Pechmann's research on conservation and recovery of the endangered dusky gopher frog.  

Researcher Aimee Rockhill

Understanding Coyotes in Western North Carolina

Coyotes have called Western North Carolina home for about 30 years. They’re relatively new to the region compared to bobcats and foxes, who are established residents with hundreds of years of lineage. Western Carolina University’s Aimee Rockhill, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources, is examining the role coyotes play on ecosystem function in western North Carolina.   

Carolina Mountain Club from Hunter Library

Hunter Library Collaborates with UNCA to Merge Digital Collections

Western Carolina University's Hunter Library is teaming up with the University of North Carolina-Asheville to document the Southern Appalachian mountain region.   

John Morgan

John Morgan

WCU Honors College Senior, John Morgan, and a 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Program participant, has shared his passion for protecting the world we live in through research in the new WCU featured stories "Decide to Succeed". John, who has been conducting research with Dr. JP Gannon of the Geosciences and Natural Resources Department, was awarded a full-time, paid summer research opportunity through the Honors College and the Office of the Provost.   

Crystal Ellwood

Graduate student explores dystopia, literature, and racial bias in journalism

Crystal Ellwood constantly toed the line between literature and art up until the moment she decided to pursue her graduate degree in English at Western Carolina University. Her passion for literature and creative arts inspired her to take a more creative approach to her literature masters and paved the way for her first novel.  

Graduate Student Emily Ashe

Graduate student explores bacterial communities in forensic science

Emily Ashe already knew what she wanted to do long before she came to WCU for her bachelor’s degree. Knowing that she wanted to have a future in medicine was a key factor in choosing WCU, where she eventually earned her degree in pre-med biology. Now, she is in the graduate forensic pathology program, after taking a year off for a fellowship with the FBI.  

Grace Woodward

Students in upper echelon for presentations at national research conference

Research projects by Western Carolina University students numbered fourth highest in the nation and first in the state among higher education institutions having entries accepted for presentation at the prestigious National Conference on Undergraduate Research.  

Students working with faculty on research

Student Work to be Showcased in Research and Scholarship Celebration

The spotlight will shine on student research at Western Carolina University at the 2019 Research and Scholarship Celebration. The RASC will feature approximately 200 presentations by undergraduate and graduate students over the two days, and faculty, students and community members are welcome to attend, said Kloo Hansen, WCU’s undergraduate research coordinator in the Office of the Provost.  

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