For the first time, a U.S. Latinx Studies minor will be offered to WCU students this fall, headed by Melissa Birkhofer, a lecturer in the Department of English, who has been named director of the program. With the Hispanic population at WCU exploding over the last decade, Birkhofer is excited to see the minor added to serve that group of students.
Since coming to Western Carolina University to complete her master’s degree in social work, graduate student Rosemary Yelton has seen firsthand the effects the opioid crisis is having on Western North Carolina. Wanting to help fight what has become a national epidemic, Yelton was excited to learn last summer that she had been named to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s Council on Collegiate Opioid Misuse.
It was a long day with an early start, but well worth the effort for 18 Western Carolina University students to see first-hand what their future careers could be, all thanks to some high-ranking WCU alumni in Cobb County, Georgia, and WCU’s Shadowing Day program.
Earlier this year, Hannah Styles was searching through the Center for Career and Professional Development's Job Cat website looking for summer internship possibilities. She came across a link for the National Journalism Center, which places students with various media outlets in Washington, D.C. Despite knowing she would be facing a competitive field, Styles decided to apply.
John Morgan spends a lot of his time searching in the woods for tiny trickles of water. Why? Because John believes that the better we understand the world that we live in, the more we can do to protect it.
At age 19, Victoria (Tori) Renfroe has about 30 years left to live, according to the hourglass she’s been handed by her doctors. That’s right, to age 49. Yes, she’s hopeful for a little more time, and with regular doctors’ visits, she might get it, she said. But in the meantime, she’s got college to finish, law school to attend, human rights to protect, a puppy to raise, a relationship to revel in and, well, you get the idea.
Grace Woodard will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art, and a concentration in sculpture, ceramics, and papermaking. During her time at WCU, Grace has received numerous accolades including an Honors College scholarship, Friends of the Arts scholarship, Chancellor’s Academic Scholarship, and the Tara and Jim Miller Art Fund Scholarship. Her thoughtful and nuanced work has also been recognized through a project grant award, and with the “Best in Show” and the Chancellor’s Award at the 51st annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition.
Adam Gregory is receiving his degree in mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences. Entering as a freshman at WCU, Adam did not plan to study mathematics, yet today he graduates one of the department’s most outstanding students. During the last three years, Adam participated in two National Science Foundation-funded summer programs, one at the University of Texas in Tyler during the summer of 2017, and another at Rochester Institute of Technology during the summer of 2018. He credits WCU faculty with much of his success.
Hannah Pollard is graduating from the College of Health and Human Sciences with her doctorate in physical therapy. During her time at WCU, Hannah has served as the quality improvement officer for the student-run Mountain Area Pro Bono Health Services Clinic, providing effective, free physical therapy and social work services to the underserved and underinsured population of Western North Carolina. Hannah’s efforts have helped to improve the quality of life, health, and function of members of the community. She is also responsible for tracking all clinic statistics and using this information to improve clinic or student board procedures.