Sue Swanger remembers them well: a group of bright and eager young women who all happened to be in her graduate auditing class together in 2003, all working toward their master’s degrees in accounting. That they now all serve together on Western Carolina University’s College of Business accounting advisory board is no surprise to their former professor.
Anyone who has ever traveled along Interstate 40 through the Pigeon River Gorge near the North Carolina-Tennessee border knows how dangerous that stretch of highway can be. With its narrow lanes, twisting and winding curves through the mountains, rockslides, and speeding drivers, that portion of highway has been notorious for accidents. Well, just imagine what it must be like for wildlife living in those beautiful mountains that make up Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Pisgah and Cherokee national forests.
Michaela Schmidlin, MPM ’18 can put your fear of hosting holiday company in perspective. As Entertainment and Event Programming Manager for Asheville-based The Biltmore Company, Schmidlin serves as the project manager for a number of estate events, the largest undertaking being Christmas at Biltmore and Candlelight Christmas Evenings.
When Elizabeth Watson decided she wanted a master’s degree in education to better serve her gifted students, she didn’t have to look far for inspiration. “My sister attended Western Carolina University and graduated with a degree in special education. To this day, she is the best special education teacher I've ever seen,” said Watson, who graduated in May with a master’s degree in special education with a focus on gifted education. “I chose to attend WCU for the simple fact that I thought, ‘Well, they must be doing something right at this university.’”
A few years ago, Joseph Love, now a construction coordinator for Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, looked at Western Carolina University and its master's degree program in construction management as the curriculum he wanted and the career-building block he needed.
Lydia See is an artist in her own right, but she’s using her new platform as a recognized and emerging “change-maker” in North Carolina to showcase the works of others whose voices are rarely if ever, heard.
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.
There is nothing like a pandemic to change the rules of work, making us to pivot on the fly, then hope for the best, while simultaneously providing opportunities to learn when we least expect it. David Wynn, a second-year graduate student in Western Carolina University’s counseling program, was forced to change the way he counsels clients after COVID-19 shuttered nonessential businesses across the country. Wynn was dubious, at first, of a new delivery system that was the antithesis of his beliefs regarding counseling.
Emily McCurry can make anyone feel right at home ― maybe because she most certainly is. Home for her is Waynesville, where she was born and raised. She is a community leader, with a long list of local service and civic organizations, and a successful businesswoman, with an office on Main Street.