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WCU Stories

Aimee Gornto Alumna of the Month

Aimee Gornoto


Question.) Aimee, what subject area did you study at WCU?

I majored in Anthropology with a concentration in Forensics in 2010.

Q.). Why did you choose to attend WCU?

I chose WCU because I fell in love with the location, size, and WCU was on the verge of major change. At the time, WCU was the “most wired campus” in North Carolina, Norton was just built, and many other changes were planned. I could tell WCU was on its way.

Q.)  Who were your favorite professors at WCU and why?

Dr. Johnston in the anthropology department was my favorite professor. She was a great teacher and very passionate about her profession. I always looked forward to her classes every semester. She was also my academic advisor. I changed my major to anthropology my junior year and she did everything she could to make sure my course requirements were met so I could graduate. I know that process wasn’t easy and I couldn’t have done it without her. I enjoyed all of my anthropology professors. They all were very intelligent and made classes interesting.

Q.)  What are some of your fondest memories of your days at WCU?

My freshman year I took Forensic Chemistry and met two of my best friends from college. We always hung out after class in Norton or in Helder. Also, I was in Alpha Kappa Psi and Lutheran Campus Ministries. Being in these two organizations allowed me to meet people on campus I would have never known and have amazing experiences. In my fourth year, I met my husband!

Q.) Aimee, tell us a little bit about your career path since graduating Western.

After graduating in 2010, I moved to Columbia, SC with my fiancé (where he was from) and I got my first job at the South Carolina Department of Revenue for two and a half years. I left there to stay home with our son, Ridley. After some time at home, I got back to work with First Citizens in a temporary job before I got hired by the University of South Carolina. I have worked in the financial aid office at USC for almost 4 years. I provide general financial aid counseling for students and parents and work with Direct Loans and PLUS loans. I knew after graduating from WCU I wanted to work in higher education. In 2017, I earned a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from a local women’s college in hopes of advancing my career.

Q.)  Aimee, you are currently a very active member and leader of the Midlands Palmetto Western Alumni Club in South Carolina. Why do you feel it is important for alumni to stay connected and involved with their alma mater?

I feel that it is important to stay connected and involved for many reasons. Chances are when you were in college, a scholarship, a program, an event, etc., was available because of an alumni donation of time or money. To continue many of these programs for students, our help is needed. College is a time for every student to grow in every way, not just to gain knowledge. These donations of time and money that we can provide, and that were provided for us, shape a student’s life and future.

Q.)  For those alumni that aren’t familiar with WCU’s Western Alumni Clubs, tell us about some of the events and activities that take place with the Midlands Palmetto Western Alumni Club.

The purpose of our alumni club is to get together to share up to date information about WCU and reminisce. We meet at different restaurants around Columbia, SC, cheer on the Catamounts when they play locally, and enjoy each other’s company. It is a great way to feel connected to WCU.

Q.)  When you are not working, or representing WCU at various events and functions, what do you like to do for fun in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my husband, son, and soon to be daughter. We like to travel to the mountains, the Raleigh area to visit my family, and go on cruises. I’ve kept my New Year’s Resolution to read more this year. I enjoy going to the movies, out to dinners, and spending time with my friends.

Q.)  Now tell us something unique and interesting about yourself that few people know.

I listen almost exclusively to Alt Rock and British pop and am willing to travel to see concerts that rarely come nearby. Also, I have about 100 Funko Pop figurines.

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