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Awards, grant recipients announced at Faculty Scholarship Celebration

Sloan Despeaux

The 30th annual Faculty Scholarship Celebration at Western Carolina University was held Thursday, Feb. 21, in Blue Ridge Hall to recognize creative and academic works by faculty and staff, and featured announcements of award and grant recipients.

An exhibition of selected works will be on display at Hunter Library through Friday, March 8, and includes art, literature, musical performances, posters, installations and more, providing an opportunity for the campus community and the public to learn more about the contributions that faculty members make beyond the classroom. A bibliography of the  submitted works may be seen here.

Hunter Scholar Award

This award is jointly presented by Hunter Library, Graduate School and Research, and the Office of the Provost and provides funding, a graduate assistant, a course release and other support to promote research that utilizes library resources. This year’s honoree is Sloan Despeaux, professor of mathematics.

Kae Livsey

Million Dollar Circle

This award is given to grant writers who have attained $1 million or more in grants during their time at WCU, with Kae Livsey, associate professor in the School of Nursing, honored this year.

Faculty Research and Creative Activities Awards

These awards provide up to $5,000 each for support of research and creative projects. Funding also may be used for activities that contribute to a current research agenda or for seed money for proposals seeking external funding. Recipients are:

  • Rangika Hikkaduwa Koralege, assistant professor of chemistry and physics
  • Elizabeth Heffelfinger, associate professor of English

Rangika Hikkaduwa Koralege (center) is congratulated by Carol Burton (left), acting provost, and Alison Morrison-Shetlar, interim chancellor.

  • Robert Ferguson, assistant professor of history
  • Katie Zejdlik-Passalacqua, assistant professor of anthropology and sociology
  • Kathy Mathews, associate professor of biology
  • Paul Worley, associate professor of English
  • Jon Jicha, professor in the School of Art and Design
  • Dustin Whitehead, assistant professor in the School of Stage and Screen
  • Joshua Russell, assistant professor of screenwriting
  • Matt Liddle, professor in the School of Art and Design
  • Jess Weiler, director of the Educational Leadership Program

From left, Carol Burton, Dustin Whitehead, Joshua Russell and Alison Morrison-Shetlar.

Provost Internal Grant Recipients

These grants provide monetary support to faculty and staff for the pursuit of external funding or to expand the scope of a currently funded project. The recipients are Sean O’Connell, Katie Zejdlik-Passalacqua, Elizabeth Anderson, Josie Crolley-Simic, Brandi Hinnant-Crawford, David McCord, Mark Stoffan, Tasha Alston, Ricardo Nazario Colon, Tacquice Davis, Melissa Snyder, Emma Miller, Aimee Rockhill, Beverly Collins, Karena Cooper-Duffy, David Westling, Jamie Vaske, Scott Eldredge, Candy Noltensmeyer, Melissa Snyder, Scott Huffman and Brian Byrd.

For more information, contact Brian Kloeppel, dean of Graduate School and Research and program organizer, at

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