Rachael Finigan is receiving her Master’s degree in Biology. She has completed her degree in only four semesters—and during 11 months of that, Rachael was collecting data for her thesis. Her research was part of a collaborative project with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the NC Wildlife Resource Commission to explore the feasibility of restoring native freshwater mussels to the Oconaluftee River within the Qualla Boundary.
Almost as ubiquitous as hiking boots is a hiking stick, an age-old means to steady a climb, keep one’s balance, push aside brush and ease a descent. Now, add one more function: phone charger, thanks to the ingenuity of Western Carolina University engineering student Kyle Monaghan.
Research projects by Western Carolina University students numbered fourth highest in the nation and first in the state among higher education institutions having entries accepted for presentation at the prestigious National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
The spotlight will shine on student research at Western Carolina University at the 2019 Research and Scholarship Celebration. 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.
Sophia Calhoun began studying at Western Carolina University for an bachelor’s degree in environmental health, completing her undergraduate studies in 2017. But, Sophia’s experiences as an independent student opened her eyes to an entirely new career path in the field of higher education and student affairs.
When Hannah Leigh Buie completed her undergraduate degree in political science, she had no idea that her passion for advocacy and interest in institutional bias would lead her to a graduate degree and inspire her to study the relationship between humor, competency and gender.
Student researcher Shelley Steffey teaches yoga, art and mindfulness to children as well as other educators, introducing mind and body work in fun, interactive and interesting ways in which they can be combined with curriculum.
If J. Alan Goggins’ life were a track and field event, it would definitely be the hurdles. And Goggins would be a world-class hurdler. Goggins recently completed his postdoctoral research and has landed a postdoctoral fellowship at Merck Pharmaceuticals, where he will work with the company’s vaccine bioanalytics team. He’s come a long way since flunking out of community college 11 years ago, and he credits his success to WCU.
As an assistant professor of biochemistry, Western Carolina University’s Jamie Wallen sees himself as part chemist, part biologist. Perhaps, that’s why it’s no coincidence many of his research projects are collaborations with those from both fields. Wallen believes the ability to learn research skills in both biology and chemistry gives his students an added edge when it comes to pursuing doctorates or moving onto their careers.