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WCU Stories

Forensic Science Students

The Nobel Mission - Forensic Anthropology Students Search for Lost WWII Airman

A mission to locate remains of a missing American airman from World War II in Germany was a homecoming, of a sort, for a Western Carolina University student. Anna Maier, a senior majoring in forensic anthropology, is a native of Germany and was part of a research team made up of WCU forensic anthropology faculty and students who, through a U.S. Department of Defense grant, spent three weeks this summer participating in a forensic archaeological search and excavation.  

The endangered dusky gopher frog.

Saving the Dusky Gopher Frog

Habitat destruction and degradation are mostly to blame for the dwindling numbers of amphibians worldwide, but there are other factors contributing to the overall decline—and some of these remain elusive. Joseph Pechmann's research on conservation and recovery of the endangered dusky gopher frog.  

Researcher Aimee Rockhill

Understanding Coyotes in Western North Carolina

Coyotes have called Western North Carolina home for about 30 years. They’re relatively new to the region compared to bobcats and foxes, who are established residents with hundreds of years of lineage. Western Carolina University’s Aimee Rockhill, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources, is examining the role coyotes play on ecosystem function in western North Carolina.   

Teenagers

Transforming the Future: Community Roles in Adolescent Substance Use

“It’s just a phase.” “They are just being teenagers.” “I drank when I was their age and I was fine.” These are things I know that I heard as a kid and that I have heard said to kids today. The flip side of these beliefs is the misconception that adolescents cannot develop substance-use disorders.  

Kevin Rumley

Combatting Addiction: A Second Chance for Veterans

Alumnus Kevin Rumley '18 serves with Asheville's Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) which is an example of a treatment court that specifically serves the veteran community.  

Community

Releasing the Shame: A Story About Opioids’ Impact on Individuals and Communities

We have all heard the phrase “the boy (or girl) next door.” This means a person is perceived as accessible, familiar, and dependable—a seemingly ordinary, wholesome, unassuming or average person. Prescription opioids are the drug next door. It is safe to assume that in every medicine cabinet in our neighborhoods there is the drug next door.  

Carolina Mountain Club from Hunter Library

Hunter Library Collaborates with UNCA to Merge Digital Collections

Western Carolina University's Hunter Library is teaming up with the University of North Carolina-Asheville to document the Southern Appalachian mountain region.   

Neurobiology

A Call for Empathy: Understanding the Neurobiology of Stigma of Addiction

The American people have historically used substances for reasons ranging from celebration to coping to survival. The current societal focus on the opioid epidemic has brought significant attention to addictive disorders in the United States. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 63,000 individuals died from drug overdose in 2016. One year later, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported 70,237 deaths in the United States caused by drug poisoning. This is an increase of 7,237 deaths in one year.   

Opportunities for Adults in the Criminal Justice System

Opioid use continues to take its toll on communities across the United States. A dramatic rise in the rates of use over the past decade led the Department of Health and Human Services to officially declare an epidemic in 2016. The most disturbing aspect of this unprecedented epidemic is the number of fatal overdoses. More specifically, 70,237 drug-overdose deaths were recorded in the United States in 2017, nearly 10,000 more than in the prior year and the highest number to date.  

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