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WCU Stories

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.  

Hannah Pollard

Graduate Profile: Hannah Pollard

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

Graduate Profile: Samantha Klaver

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.  

WCU Campus

Graduate Profile: Rachael Finigan

Rachael Finigan is receiving her Master’s degree in Biology. She has completed her degree in only four semesters—and during 11 months of that, Rachael was collecting data for her thesis. Her research was part of a collaborative project with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the NC Wildlife Resource Commission to explore the feasibility of restoring native freshwater mussels to the Oconaluftee River within the Qualla Boundary.   

Hannah Buie

Psychology graduate student conducts research on issues of gender bias

When Hannah Leigh Buie completed her undergraduate degree in political science, she had no idea that her passion for advocacy and interest in institutional bias would lead her to a graduate degree and inspire her to study the relationship between humor, competency and gender.  

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Spring semester enrollment crests 11,000 for first time; graduate, transfer numbers up

The fall-to-spring retention rate – that is, the rate at which first-time full-time freshmen return to the university for the spring semester – continued to hold steady at better than 91 percent.  

A shot of WCU Biltmore Park campus

WCU sees growth in graduate programs

Western Carolina University’s Graduate School saw an 18.2 percent increase in enrollment of new graduate students this spring, largely driven by programs preparing students for career growth in high-demand fields. Overall Graduate School enrollment climbed 3.7 percent.  

Shelley Steffey

Masters of Arts in Teaching Program leads to study of the intersection of creativity and meditation

Student researcher Shelley Steffey teaches yoga, art and mindfulness to children as well as other educators, introducing mind and body work in fun, interactive and interesting ways in which they can be combined with curriculum.   

Kevin Rumley

Alumni and Veteran Finds Peace After 'Journey of a Million Steps'

Graduating veteran finds peace after 'journey of a million steps' | Graduated, enlisted, blown up, hospitalized, released, addicted, homeless, hopeless, rescued, enrolled, graduated, employed, enrolled, graduated, honored, redeemed. Read between those lines a minute, and listen...  

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