Skip to main content

WCU Stories

Work of graduate, undergraduate students to be showcased in Research and Scholarship Celebration

Crystal Ellwood and Michael Redman, graduate students in WCU's Department of English, discuss their projects that will be presented during the university's annual Research and Scholarship Celebration. Both students will be participating in the Graduate Research Symposium.

The spotlight will shine on student research at Western Carolina University as the 2019 Research and Scholarship Celebration is held Wednesday, April 3, and Thursday, April 4.

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.

A combination of two events – the 27th annual Graduate Research Symposium and the 21st annual Undergraduate Exposition, the RASC is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Graduate School and Research, and the Honors College to showcase the participating students’ work and creative scholarship from across campus.

The Undergraduate Exposition on April 3 is supported by the “Defining America” campus learning theme and will be showcasing six undergraduate student presentations as “Defining America” featured events. The six students represent the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and the Department of Parks and Recreation Management, and the students will present on topics relevant to the region and nation at large. Faculty sponsors for the students are Katie Zejdlik-Passalacqua of Anthropology and Sociology, and Callie Schultz of Parks and Recreation Management. They will be moderating their students’ presentations in the Blue Ridge Hall conference room from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Also that day, the Undergraduate Exposition will host a faculty panel and keynote speaker in the arena of the Ramsey Regional Activity Center at 4 p.m. With their discussion moderated by Lane Perry, director of WCU’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, the panelists will discuss issues related to the topic “Informing America: Defining Issues and Pursuing Solutions Through Research.”

Mary C. Waters

The discussion will be followed by a keynote address by Mary C. Waters, Harvard University’s John L. Loeb Distinguished Professor of Sociology. She will speak on “Immigration to the U.S.: Integration Success and Policy Failures.” Her visit to campus is supported by the “Defining America” theme committee, Hansen said.

Following Waters’ address, the annual RASC poster display will be held at the Ramsey Center from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature posters created by about 110 undergraduate and graduate students, along with five fine arts exhibits.

Undergraduate students participating in the exposition will give oral presentations about their projects at various locations across campus on both April 3 and April 4.

WCU’s Graduate School and Research will be hosting the Graduate Research Symposium on April 4 in collaboration with the Graduate Student Association and the provost’s office. This year’s symposium will be held in various rooms at A.K. Hinds University Center, culminating in a celebration and awards event at 5 p.m. in the UC Grandroom.

The symposium will feature 42 oral presentations by students, with 18 of those selected for presentation through the symposium academic paper competition. Also, eight exemplary undergraduate oral presentations were selected to be presented alongside the graduate presentations, Hansen said.

Laura Wright

New to the symposium this year will be a graduate student panel discussing the path to graduate school and best practices for applying and getting into graduate school, and information about WCU’s graduate programs. Undergraduate students interested in applying to graduate schools and programs are encouraged to attend the discussion, which will be held from 11 to 11:45 a.m. in the UC theater.

On April 4 at noon, the Graduate Research Symposium will feature a keynote address by Laura Wright, a WCU professor of English who was the university's recipient of the 2018 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. A member of the English Department faculty since 2005, Wright will speak on the topic “Your Brain on Metaphor: The Art and Science of the Big Picture.”

Detailed information about RASC events and presentations is available by visiting


Office of Web Services