Skip to main content

WCU Stories

Spring Class of 2020

Meet Just A Few of the Seniors Graduating this Year...

Jennifer Hamrick - B.S. Criminal Justice and Psychology

Hometown: Shelby, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: I have a job offer to work for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety in June and I’ll be working with juveniles in the court system!

Favorite Memory from WCU: My favorite memory is hanging out with my best friends and making the Chancellor's list!

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: One of my favorite professors is J. Tom Morgan. He constantly challenged my thinking in law and the court system!

Jennifer Hamrick in her purple cap and gown
A photo of Awel Boi in a commencement cap and gown

Awel Bol - B.S. Recreational Therapy

Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: I plan on becoming a licensed recreational therapist after passing my state licensure exam and working in behavioral health or with the older adult population.

Favorite Memory from WCU: Becoming an orientation counselor and welcoming the class of 2023. I felt more in tune with the university and learned a lot while also having a lot of fun.

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: I want to thank my amazing recreational therapy professors (Debbie Logan, Paige Dagenhard-Trainer, and Jennifer Hinton). They were always very supportive and willing to help when I needed them the most. I would not have made it to this point without their guidance throughout my time in the recreational therapy program.


Taylor Dragt - B.S. Psychology

Hometown: Winston Salem, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: Pursuing graduate school for rehabilitation counseling!

Favorite Memory from WCU: Being able to connect with new friends in WNC’s mountains.

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: Dr. Scales from the psychology for all he does Dr. McCord for his amazing work advice Dr. Broomell for all the professional help Dr. Gordon For all the life stories and lessons

A hand holding a cap that say "abilities out weight disabilities"
Spencer Childers marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Spencer Childers - B.S. Ed. Music Education

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: I plan to teach as a band director, and eventually return to school for a Master's in Instrumental Conducting.

Favorite Memory from WCU: My favorite memory was every day with the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band that I could step on the podium, serve my fellow members, perform, and represent Western from Cullowhee to New York.

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: I would like to thank Dr. Underwood and the directors of the Marching Band for not only mentoring me to become a great musician, but also a great person.

Alejandra González-Céspedes - B.S Communication Sciences and Disorders and B.A. Spanish

Hometown: Maiden, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: I will be attending graduate school here at WCU to get my M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. My goal is to become a Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist.

Favorite Memory from WCU: My favorite memory at WCU was attending Cat Camp in 2016. Cat Camp help build the foundation I needed for my leadership journey. I made a lot of friends and continue to still be friends with them and my counselor still serves as my mentor to this day.

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: Thank you, Leslie Cavin!!! You have known me since day one of my college career and have seen me grow. I wouldn't be the leader that I am today without you! I enjoyed being in your first FLI class and still have you as a mentor to this day. I love you!

Alejandra González-Céspedes with Paws at the international festival
Portrait of Jordan Strickland

Jordan Strickland - B.S.B.A Computer Information Systems

Hometown: Cary, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: I am attending Graduate school to obtain a Master of Science in Analytics at the Institute for Advanced Analytics at NC State!

Favorite Memory from WCU: 
Playing each Spring season with my teammates and breaking records for most wins in a season for Women's tennis!

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: 
I would like to thank Dr. Clapper and Dr. Tyler in the College of Business for all their guidance and support in developing my academics as well as my professionalism and presenting me with so many opportunities to grow as a student!

Chynna Connor - Bachelor of Social Work

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: Attend graduate school at Western Carolina to get my Master’s in Social Work

Favorite Memory from WCU: My favorite memory would have to be the football games on Saturday. I was apart of Pride of the Mountains and did Colorguard. I loved performing in front of hundreds of people during halftime.

Chynna Connor
Taylor Warren in her purple cap and gown

Taylor Warren - Master of Business Administration

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: Once COVID-19 passes I have accepted a wonderful opportunity to be a Director of Front Office at the Candler Hotel in Atlanta, GA! Although I am not able to walk across the stage to celebrate my MBA, I will enjoy it at the beach!

Favorite Memory from WCU: The friendships I made in undergrad are my greatest memory... although we live in different cities now, I’m still thankful I met them through WCU. My greatest memory from graduate school was how much it tested my endurance for 3 years since I have done it part-time. I started graduate school in Highlands, NC - just an hour and a half away from the Asheville campus. In my second year of the graduate program, I was commuting from Charlotte, NC - which is over 2 hours away. This final year, I have been commuting from Atlanta, GA. I am committed to WCU and thankful for everything I’ve been taught through my undergraduate studies in Hospitality and Tourism, to my graduate studies in Business Administration. Now I’m 24 and have accepted a Director role at a gorgeous hotel in Atlanta! What a ride!!!

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: Angela Sebby - she is the best hospitality professor in undergrad! She came my final year in the program, but she was by far the most influential professor I had all 4 years! Ed Wright - I had him for leadership in my first semester of grad school, he was great!! Sanjay Rajagopal - I had him for Finance in both undergrad and grad school. A tough subject but he made it easy!

Jenna Tucker - B.A. History

Hometown: Midland, North Carolina


Plans After Graduation: I will be starting Law School in the Fall of 2020!

Favorite Memory from WCU:
 My favorite memory from my time at WCU would be not only the lasting friendships I’ve had but also the invaluable time spent with my Professors who have mentored and guided me to achieve my goals of entering law school.

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: Dr. Swigger, Dr. Philyaw, and Dr. Ferguson from the History Department were so helpful to me during my time as their student. Their doors were always open for encouragement and advice and I’ll always be grateful for that!

Jenna Tucker in her purple cap and gown
Lydia Shelley

Lydia Shelley - B.A. English Literature

Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: I’m starting as law school as a University of North Carolina School of Law Chancellor’s Scholar

Favorite Memory from WCU: Working at the Writing and Learning commons!!!

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: Mattie Davenport (WaLC associate director). She hired me, stopped me from transferring, and generally changed my life!

E'Quince Smith - B.S. Criminal Justice

Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: I will be matriculating at The George Washington University, pursuing a Masters in Higher Education Administration. My hope is to become a higher education attorney.


Favorite Memory from WCU: I think the eclipse and homecoming court. It felt like the campus community was one huge family on the day of the eclipse. 2019 Homecoming court, while the rain was present, it still was very enjoyable.

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: I want to thank the Departments of Residential Living, Intercultural Affairs, and Greek Student Engagement and Development. Specifically, I want to thank Tacquice Davis, Dr. P, LC, Alex Fields, Annaleise Camacho, Josh Rascati, Colin Croat, and Dr. Vaske. I sincerely appreciate everything you have done for me!

Equince Smith
Michaela Ashe

Michaela Ashe - B.S. Parks and Recreation Management

Hometown: Sylva, North Carolina 

Plans After Graduation: I am hoping to get into NC State for their Sports Management Masters program, eventually hoping to get into the sports industry!

Favorite Memory from WCU: I came in as a transfer, and from the first day I arrived, I immediately knew WCU was meant to be. After I changed my major into the Parks and Recreation program, I felt at home! The professors are amazing and are so helpful, they are always wanting to help in any way they can, and they really build a community within the Green Room!

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: I would like to thank the entire PRM faculty: Andrew Bobilya, Jeremy and Callie Schultz, Debby a Singleton, and Glenn Middleton. Each teacher pushed me to think more outside the box, to challenge myself, and really find my passion. I wouldn’t be where I am without their support and guidance!

Austin Blevins - B.S Sport Management and Marketing

Hometown: Jefferson, North Carolina

Plans After Graduation: Internship with the Asheville Tourists Minor League Baseball team.

Favorite Memory from WCU: Solar Eclipse in 2017

Anyone You'd Like to Thank: Dr. Charlie Parrish for being a mentor, adviser, and friend during my time at WCU.

Austin Blevins
Office of Web Services