Matthew McDonough could have followed his friends to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after he graduated from Asheville High School in 2015, but he didn’t. He chose to study at Western Carolina University instead, to better find out who he was — by himself.
Following graduation in May and a summer internship in Charlotte, Western Carolina University senior Brennan Burke will have to decide what path to follow next. When it comes time to make that decision, Burke will have more options than most because of the fact that she is earning a triple major. Burke started as a mathematics major with a concentration in actuarial science, but along the way she added finance and accounting to the mix, giving her the trifecta. Not bad for someone who in high school thought she wanted to be a civil engineer.
It took a while for Joanna Woodson to discover her true passion in life. But three universities and year and a half in the workplace later, Woodson has found her purpose, along with a home, at Western Carolina University. After a year at WCU, Woodson has not only settled on a major, she’s discovered a passion for politics that has led WCU to become a leader in voter participation across the University of North Carolina system.
“I could just go to school and that was like my place,” said Bevers, now a junior at Western Carolina University. “For me, school was normal and I was normal at school. I didn’t have to think about what was going on at home. It gave me something to distract myself. It was something I was good at.”
As an assistant professor of biochemistry, Western Carolina University’s Jamie Wallen sees himself as part chemist, part biologist. Perhaps, that’s why it’s no coincidence many of his research projects are collaborations with those from both fields. Wallen believes the ability to learn research skills in both biology and chemistry gives his students an added edge when it comes to pursuing doctorates or moving onto their careers.
When former Highlands resident Curtis Meltzer died Dec. 17, 2017, he left a multimillion dollar estate gift to WCU to support students in the College of Arts and Sciences, increasing his and wife Enid’s overall scholarship endowment to $3.3 million.
Students, pets, pets, students. It seems to be one or the other for Western Carolina University senior Sarah Bennett, who graduated in May with a biology degree and an eye on veterinary school.