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asheville Volume 8, No. 1 FALL 2015


Transformational Teaching Award-winning faculty in the spotlight


Student Leadership in Focus Alumni Career Curves An Imaginative Installation

contents 18

Finest Faculty Award-winners from the classroom and community (Photo by David Allen ’13)



Celebrating Community The installation of UNC Asheville’s seventh chancellor


Extracurricular Student leaders changing the game and the world


Learning Curves Alumni serve up career tips



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G O, B U L L D O G S ! C L A S S N OT E S O F F T H E PA G E

ON THE COVER: Patrick Bahls unfolds his creative

teaching style. (Photo by David Allen ’13)


Mary K. Grant



celebrated community. A host of

Joseph R. Urgo

creative, engaging, thoughtful and


William K. Haggard

fun events started with move-in


day when we welcomed our largest

John Pierce

first-year class. We continued


through Installation Week, when

Buffy Bagwell

we showed how we will change the


world. And we took stock of the many

Janet Cone

qualities that make UNC Asheville



unique and truly a world-class university. Foremost among these are the students, faculty, staff

Greg Carter

and volunteers who make this institution a shining example of the


public liberal arts. Thank you for the work that you do every day.


Darin Waters


In this edition of UNC Asheville Magazine, we showcase just a small share of that work. We learn from our award-winning faculty, and we are inspired by their motivation for research, teaching and


service. Our faculty leads us to find solutions. Our alumni have

Amy Jessee

adapted to this mindset as well. In these pages, you will see the


Mary Ann Lawrence, Hanna Trussler ’13 PROJECT MANAGER

Susan Lippold

paths some of our graduates have traveled—some linear, some less direct—and some steps that have marked the way as they pursue passions and professions.


Amber Abunassar ’16, Aaron Dahlstrom ’09, Jon Elliston, Hannah Epperson ’11, Amy Jessee, Casey Hulme ’05, Nick Phillips, Steve Plever, Molly Smithson ’15, Margaret Williams MLAS ’16 CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

David Allen ’13, George Etheredge ’16, Peter Lorenz, Galen McGee ’08, Matt Rose, Nick Phillips

UNC Asheville Magazine is published twice a year by UNC Asheville Communication and Marketing to give alumni and friends an accurate, lively view of the university—its people, programs and initiatives. Contact us at

We look to the next generation of leaders too, focusing on the presidents of four of our student clubs (thanks to the talents of one of our own student photographers). You’ll also see the work of our student-athletes on the court, in the classroom, and out in the community. It is in this province of service that our Bulldog family continues to grow, a family of which I am proud to be a member, now officially, as your seventh chancellor.


From my first day on campus almost a year ago to the Installation

Laura Herndon

Ceremony and weeklong celebration this fall, you have embraced

Address Changes

Jim and me, and you have made Sweeney feel like the top dog, even

Office of University Advancement & Alumni Giving CPO #3800 • UNC Asheville One University Heights • Asheville, NC 28804

this new place has become home, by inviting us for walks, for hikes,

UNC Asheville enrolls more than 3,900 full- and part-time students in more than 30 programs leading to the bachelor’s degree as well as the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The university is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students or employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disabling condition or sexual orientation.

in Rocky’s mighty shadow. You have reached out to us to make sure for coffee and for dinner. We share one of these meals on the next page, along with 175 of our friends who gathered for the first Farm-to-Table Dinner on the Quad. Join me at the community table. Sit down for a discussion or a problem-solving session, and share with us the stories that are

© UNC Asheville, October 2015

important to you so that we may share them with our extended

32,500 copies of this magazine were printed on paper with recycled content at a cost of $15,362.79 or 47 cents each.

family in the greater UNC Asheville community. Go Bulldogs! —Chancellor Mary K. Grant

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Farm to Table “This is our first farm-to-table dinner on the Quad. On the surface, it’s a meal where we are getting together and eating food produced in our campus gardens and by our local farmers. But really, it’s about building community. … We are trying to bring everyone to the table, literally and metaphorically, who has a shared interest in sustainable food systems.” - Sonia Marcus, director of sustainability PHOTO BY DAVID ALLEN ’13

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UNC Asheville staff, along with engineers and architects (below), celebrated the LEED Gold certification on Sept. 28.

GOLD STANDARD First LEED® Certification for Campus

UNC Asheville’s Rhoades Hall, which was renovated during the summer of 2012 and is part of Rhoades Robinson Hall, has earned LEED ® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This certification is the first for the campus. The renovations run deep, with geothermal wells added under the Quad to support heating, cooling and hot water, and a 10,000-gallon underground rainwater cistern that collects water for the building’s low-flow toilets. Energy-efficient windows and gypsum interior wall coverings complete the transformation, while the 2015 lighting upgrade using LED fixtures further illuminates the university’s dedication to green building. The result is a 35 percent



reduction in energy use and a 40 percent reduction in water use compared to a typical classroom building of its size. However, alumni will still recognize the familiar building. Approximately 50 percent of the façade was saved during the renovations. Now, it stands for sustainability on campus.


RANKINGS ROUND-UP of national liberal arts colleges list, public and private, up from 159 the previous year. In July, the Fiske Guide to Colleges named UNC Asheville a “Best Buy” among the nation’s top colleges, and for the 12th consecutive year,

UNC Asheville’s Environmental Studies Program was highlighted as showing unusual strength in preparing students for careers. UNC Asheville is also featured in the 2016 edition of The Princeton Review’s The Best 380 Colleges.


UNC Asheville maintained its ranking as the nation’s eighth best public liberal arts college in U.S. News & World Report’s new “2016 Best Colleges,” released in Sept. UNC Asheville also ranks 148 on the first tier

FALL FIRSTS Largest Class Convenes for Move-in Day and Convocation UNC Asheville opened the fall 2015 semester with the largest first-year class of approximately 750 students, up roughly 16 percent from fall 2014. The newest Bulldogs also include some 341 transfer students. “We are excited to start the fall semester at UNC Asheville with our largest enrollment to date, to greet our new students, and to welcome back our returning Bulldogs,” said Chancellor Mary K. Grant. “We’re also welcoming 24 new full-time faculty who will join the ranks of UNC Asheville’s talented and accomplished scholars and teachers.”

The incoming class is more diverse, with an increase in African-American, Hispanic and American Indian students choosing to attend UNC Asheville. Students from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will start their studies as part of an instructional credit agreement signed in the spring.

look to UNC Asheville for a top-quality education, priced competitively for in-state and out-of-state students, and in the perfect place. We’re in an area of the country and of higher education that offers an opportunity for students to explore, to find their path, and to make an impact.”

First-year student applications to UNC Asheville also increased 4.7 percent over the previous year. “Our value is nationally recognized,” said Shannon Earle, senior director of admissions and financial aid. “Students

To apply to UNC Asheville, visit

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Writers Converge on Campus

National Science Foundation Funding Students and Solutions

Wiley Cash (above) at the 2015 Commencement; Rick Bragg (below)

Wiley Cash, UNC Asheville graduate and author of two best-selling novels, will return to his alma mater to teach courses and mentor students as writer-in-residence for the 2016-17 academic year. The 2015 commencement speaker also returned to campus as a Goodman Endowed Visiting Artist in 2013.

of Literature and Language, and the NEH Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, brought Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg to campus in September. Bragg is the best-selling author of seven works of nonfiction, including four memoirs chronicling the history of his family in Alabama.

National Science Foundation recognition also has been awarded to UNC Asheville student Tammy Hawley for her research into “green chemistry” and “new chemistry.” She is one of only two undergraduate students in the nation to be named a 2015 National Science Foundation Scholar. Hawley’s research, The New Chemistry: Solutions for the 21st Century, explores an approach to using and teaching chemistry more holistically, and considers not only the final product of a chemistry process, but also the byproduct, long-term product effects and material and energy waste.

Cash says he will use the writer-in-residence position to help introduce other high-profile authors to students and the community. “One aspect of the position I’m really excited about is the responsibility of organizing a reading series that will bring best-selling and award-winning poets and prose writers to campus,” said Cash. “I’m devoted to introducing students to successful authors who are talented, accessible, collegial and kind.” The Goodman Endowment, along with the Department PHOTOS BY PETER LORENZ



The first full cohort of UNC Asheville chemistry majors in the Chemistry Scholars Program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), graduated from UNC Asheville in the spring of 2015. The program, which began in 2011, provides scholarships and aims to increase academic success for UNC Asheville’s chemistry majors. Creation of the program and scholarship funds comes from two grants through the NSF’s Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, totaling over $1.2 million. The program will continue through the class of 2022.


GRANTING ACCESS External Funding Expands Undergraduate Opportunities Recent grants to UNC Asheville have offered opportunities for students— from as early as middle-school age—to explore college, gear up their studies, and pursue degrees and professions in the arts and sciences. UNC Asheville’s “Explore the Tour” pre-college readiness program for middle school students has received a grant for $19,644 from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC), to bring students from Madison, Rutherford, Swain and Yancey to campus for interactive learning activities and a tour, of course. During the 2014-15 academic year, 430 students from school districts covered by the CFWNC grant visited UNC Asheville as part of “Explore the Tour.” Some 800 students are already scheduled to participate during the coming fall semester. Middle-school students from eight Western North Carolina counties learned what it takes to be a successful college student at UNC Asheville’s two-day GEAR UP summer enrichment program. The overnight program helped students from Alleghany, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Wilkes and Yancey counties develop a college-going mindset through a sample of campus life. GEAR UP—Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs—is funded by grants from the U.S Department of Education. Additional support for ninth-grade students at Erwin High School, Asheville High School and Mountain Heritage High School has been made available through the AT&T funded Juntos Program at UNC Asheville. “Together” in Spanish, Juntos works to unite community partners to provide Latino students and their parents with knowledge, skills and resources to



Asheville City Schools


Community Foundation of Western North Carolina Grant for AVID


AT&T Charitable Gift for Juntos Program


North Carolina Space Grants Teacher Training


North Carolina Space Grant Consortium


National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for MRI in Health & Wellness


Windgate Foundation Grant for Black Mountain College Legacy Fellowships and Research Internships


NSF Grant for Chemistry Scholars


NSF Grant for CEREUS


Duke Energy Grant for Mechatronics


NSF Grant for ACES Program


prevent youth from dropping out and to encourage families to work together to gain access to college. “UNC Asheville pursues funding for projects that give more students access to a pre-eminent public liberal arts education and that deepens the learning experience for students who enroll,” said UNC Asheville Provost Joe Urgo of the outreach programs. Those students who enroll also have access to scholarships and other support, from the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) for Higher Education program and the CORE Scholarship for transfer students from A-B Tech. With a recent grant from the National Science Foundation, UNC Asheville has created the Atmospheric and Computer Science Exploratory Scholars (ACES) scholarship program, modeled on the successful Chemistry Scholars program. Funding from Riverside Technologies, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Department of Commerce, Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites and others administered by the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center at UNC Asheville also supports undergraduate research. In addition UNC Asheville will expand its Mechatronics Program this year, thanks in part to a $400,000 grant from Duke Energy, which will fund new equipment for a design and development studio that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. Plus, an expanded partnership with the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and a $180,000 grant from the Windgate Foundation will fund Black Mountain College Legacy Fellowships and Research Internships—bringing visiting artists and scholars to campus and supporting undergraduate research.

U.S. Department of Education Grant for GEAR UP

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HE CA MPUS COMMU NIT Y, Asheville neighbors, local and state legislators, university delegates, and friends and family of Chancellor Mary K. Grant ventured to the Blue Ridge Mountains this fall, all to attend the Chancellor Installation Ceremony on Sept. 19, 2015. But the week was about much more than just one person. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and university supporters served on committees and volunteered for events. Even more showcased their work by speaking on panels, sharing research, singing as part of our community choir, planting a flag for a student organization, making a special ice cream flavor, and showing how we will change the world—together. That theme brought everyone together in the mountains—looking forward and looking up.

“UNC Asheville’s motto translates to ‘I lift my eyes to the mountains,’” said Chancellor Grant in her installation address. “And as I lift my eyes to the mountains, this is what I see. This is my challenge for all of us—a call to our collective action that we will continue to produce an educated, enlightened citizenry. … We are and will continue to be a partner in the innovation and creativity that are essential to a strong city, and to a strong and vibrant region. We will contribute to economic, civic, intellectual, cultural and social development through education, and advance both the development and application of knowledge.”

READ MORE about the week of events





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HE INS TALL ATION CEREMONY for UNC Asheville’s seventh chancellor was the culmination of a week focused on creativity, collaboration across disciplines, community, and a whole lot of fun. Activities included concerts, literary readings, “Change the World” student projects, stargazing, ice cream on the Quad (featuring Espresso No. 7 made in honor of Chancellor Grant by The Hop), and much more. Installation also coincided with Family Weekend, welcoming parents and students to learn more about their new chancellor at the ceremony.

“Over the course of the week, it gives us an opportunity to talk about who we are, to think about where we’ve been, to imagine where we are going—and to do that together,” Chancellor Grant said at the start of Installation Week. “The events are thoughtful, creative and fun. It reflects who we are.”

Across the Arts and Sciences UNC Asheville’s Lookout Observatory, a partnership with the Astronomy Club of Asheville and a regular haunt for amateur astronomers in the area, hosted a special guided viewing of the moon, star clusters and planets. “We have people of all ages come to these events, kids as young as six and folks as old as 70 and 80 and everywhere in between,” said Brian Hart ’11, a UNC Asheville alumnus and administrative assistant for the Physics Department. “So you get people from all over town coming up there wanting to learn something, wanting to look through the telescope. It really brings people together. “I enjoy being a part of something that is so alive and so vibrant,” he continued. “It has really struck a chord with the folks not only at UNC Asheville, but with the community.”




Over in the Art Department, student Sarah Adams shared a raku ceramic firing demonstration. “This firing in particular requires hands, and without the participation of all of our people in our studio, we wouldn’t be able to do it,” Adams explained. Raku involves firing glazed pots in a kiln and then quickly moving them, while they’re still glowing hot, into a steel can full of sawdust and paper. The resulting flames are impressive, as are the beautiful colors and patterns of the glazes on the finished pots. “People get the chance to watch us all working in harmony and really see that even though you can make stuff in this studio independently, it takes a team to make a fire and to get it complete,” Adams said. “The education experience is really enhanced by all of our knowledge, collectively.” The Literature and Language Department offered a reading from faculty, students and alumni, dubbed “The Next Chapter,” and joined with Health and Wellness Promotion and Biology to share news from undergraduate research projects. Faculty from the Music Department brought their talents to the stage for a Friday night Concert on the Quad.

Around the Nation True to the liberal arts spirit, speakers from a variety of fields, institutions, and cultures came together to welcome Chancellor Grant, including Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, North Carolina State Senator Terry Van Duyn, and Terri Henry ‘87, tribal council chair of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Thomas W. Ross, president of the University of North Carolina system, led the ceremony. “In Mary Grant, you have gained a leader who personifies what UNC Asheville is all about,” said Ross. “She is absolutely

passionate about the enduring value of the liberal arts and improving lives and communities through higher education. And after just nine months in the role, she has already demonstrated the creativity, commitment, and boundless energy that will be required to be an outstanding Chancellor and advocate for this institution and the people it serves.” Les Purce, president of The Evergreen State College, UNC Asheville honorary degree recipient in 2009, and a longtime colleague and friend of Chancellor Grant’s, delivered the installation address. After working with Chancellor Grant for over a decade to advance the mission of the public liberal arts education through the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, Purce offered his insights into her priorities: “Here is what I know about Mary. These thoughts: Stay close to the students and keep them first. Build deep relationships. Trust and support the people you work with every day. Have fun. Listen, and consider a broad range of advice. Be patient and take the long view.” That view starts from the mountains that surround UNC Asheville, and it’s a familiar post for Chancellor Grant. Prior to accepting the position, Grant served as chancellor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts for 12 years. She moved nearly 900 miles from one end of the Appalachian Mountains to the other, joining UNC Asheville in January 2015, with nine months of hard work leading to the official installation.

installation address. “I take the helm of this outstanding university at an exciting time but also at a time of uncertainty. We face a future of unknowns as well as opportunities. We do understand a bit better now the challenges that we brought with us from the 20th century: the challenge of climate change, of global inequality and global conflict, the ongoing challenges of race, class and gender, the challenges of hunger, poverty, ignorance and disease. But we do not face these challenges unarmed. … In fact, our most powerful tool in taking on these challenges is right here—the combination of optimistic, courageous, bright hardworking students and a university of liberal arts with a faculty and staff ready, willing and able to take on the task of preparing the next generation. … In just a couple of years, we will admit a class of students, nearly all of whom will have been born in this rapidly changing, fast-moving 21st century. The future is now and I say that we are ready. I know we are producing the graduates that our future demands. “UNC Asheville’s motto translates to ‘I lift my eyes to the mountains.’ We will lift our eyes, our minds, our hearts, our passions, our hopes, our dreams, our intellect and apply all to a common good. And we will do these things together and with intention.” 4

Staff Writers Amber Abunassar ’16, Hannah Epperson ’11, and Casey Hulme ’05 contributed to this story. See more from the Installation Week and hear Chancellor Grant’s

In the Campus Community

speech at

Exhibits during Installation Week chronicled the campus history, and weeklong events focused on the next generation with an afterschool supply donation drive collecting enough pencils and paper to meet the needs of five local partners for the year. Composting during the campus picnic following the ceremony reduced the waste from the event to a single bag. Those efforts go a long way in the community too, and that resonated as the theme for the week.


“This installation is less about me—it is about UNC Asheville, this relatively young institution,” Chancellor Grant said in her

Photos from Installation Week (L-to-R): UNC Asheville’s Lookout Observatory; Lecturer Matt West ’99, student Sarah Adams ’16, and Associate Professor Megan Wolfe share a raku ceramic firing demonstration; Picnic on the quad; Chancellor Grant, UNC President Thomas W. Ross, and Grant’s husband Jim Canavan on stage for the chancellor’s medallion presentation FA L L 2 0 1 5



UNC Asheville Magazine captured a moment with four student leaders on campus to learn more about their work—and their plans to change the world.



The work I have chosen to do has been dedicated to making myself and other underrepresented students feel that they have a safe space within our campus community. I have also worked to create allies to these marginalized groups so that all students grow in their understanding of the world around them. Our campus culture should be as diverse as we say it is.


senior majoring in pre-med/health political science and sociology, minor in Africana Studies president of Student Government Association; president and founder of Shades of Color; captain of the Cheer and Dance Team; a member of the Black Student Association and University Ambassadors

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I’m able to help the student body find a voice as well as learn more about the legislative process on a small scale. She’s the First says that the smallest of actions can make a change. This idea influences my personal aspirations for change. If I can create change in the world for one person, then I can affect many people.


sophomore majoring in political science co-president of She’s the First at UNC Asheville and a sophomore senator with the Student Government Association

It embodies what we try to be as a Native American student group. We are part of a culture that pre-existed before the establishment of the United States. But we also live in modern times and are successful in a contemporary environment.


junior majoring in political science president of the Native American Student Association and a member of the University Ambassadors, Order of Pisgah and Baptist Student Fellowship



Through the Ultimate Frisbee team I've learned a lot about leading a group of peers and keeping a positive group mentality that promotes hard work. We wish to create a program that gets better every year and makes alumni proud to have been a part of the team.


junior majoring in environmental management and policy a captain for the Men's Ultimate Frisbee team, and a project coordinator for the Student Environmental Center

George Etheredge is an art major graduating in December with a concentration in photography. He was recently accepted into The Eddie Adams Workshop XXVIII, an intensive three-day photojournalism workshop of top photography professionals and 100 students whose selection is based solely on the merit of their portfolios. “For me, photography acts as a vehicle for allowing me to engage with the world in a meaningful way, and I am interested in creating visual narratives that highlight both challenges and successes faced by contemporary American society.” FA L L 2 0 1 5



A BRIDGE TO CUBA Faculty build academic ties in the neighboring nation After more than a half-century of conflict, the United States and Cuba are reconnecting, and UNC Asheville faculty are riding the waves of change to establish what could be a groundbreaking set of academic exchanges. The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), a North American consortium of 29 schools with its headquarters at UNC Asheville, will make its first major international foray this winter, when it takes 20 professors to Cuba in December to foster working relationships there. Four faculty members will be from UNC Asheville. “For a pilot program, the faculty leaders didn’t really know what to expect,” says Claire Bailey, COPLAC’s program associate. “But they had lots of applications, and something of a hard time narrowing it down to just 20 participants.” Aside from the COPLAC connection, two associate professors of Spanish at UNC Asheville with longtime interest in Cuban studies, Elena Adell and Greta Trautmann, have done much of the groundwork for the initiative. Also leading the project is Georgia College associate professor of political science Steven Elliott-Gower, an old friend of Trautmann’s. ElliottGower is the director of the honors program at GCSU, and

By Jon Elliston

has long been involved in developing study abroad programs, including to Cuba. “When it comes to Cuba, we’re so near and yet so far,” Trautmann says. The interactions that arise from the exchange program “hopefully will allow us to think about Cuba in more complex ways than either hating it or loving it, which has so long been the narrative, without understanding the complexities.”

Six busy days in Cuba The professors on the trip hail from colleges across the country, and the planned academic outreach will cross over both institutions and disciplines, Trautmann explains. “There are at least two hopeful outcomes: One is that these individuals can create their own networks with different scholars and leaders of different communities in Cuba, and two, that from this we can then get a study abroad program for students.” “We have high hopes,” Adell says. “But it’s a lot to put together.” Indeed, even as the U.S. and Cuba make big strides in mending ties, there are plenty of logistical and





financial hurdles to establishing sustainable academic relations between the two countries. At the same time, conditions are newly ripe for engagement. “This would have been possible before,” Adell says, “but now people are even more excited about the possibilities and paying more attention to them.”

“It’s an island nation, so it’s great for modeling,” says Lothar Dohse, chair of the Department of Mathematics. He’s most curious, he says, about the state of computer technology in Cuba and the teaching of mathematical modeling there. It’s also an opportunity to examine some of the metrics he’s always wanted to crunch, like demographic and migration statistics, “And to be there as this relationship is thawing is an intensely interesting time.”

“There are at least two hopeful outcomes: One is that these individuals can create their own networks with different scholars and leaders of different communities in Cuba, and two, that from this we can then get a study abroad program for students.” — Greta Trautmann, associate professor of Spanish at UNC Asheville

“This has been well-received here and well-received in Cuba, so now we’ve just got our fingers crossed,” Trautmann says. The COPLAC faculty emissaries will visit Cuba for six days in December, which is regarded as a primo time to visit the country, given the climate then. But the trip bears little resemblance to the stereotypical island vacation full of beaches and bars. The scholars will stay at a former convent in Havana that’s still affiliated with the Catholic Church, hosted by Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello. Their ambitious itinerary includes interactions with Cuban scholars on everything from demographics and migration to environmental and economic policies, among other topics. A one-day road trip will take the group to Las Terrazas, a noted eco-village in western Cuba.

An “intensely interesting time” Adell, who first visited Cuba in 2001 and has been back eight times, has cultivated many contacts in Cuban cultural institutions that are paving the way for the exchange. “Elena knows half the island,” Trautmann jokes. Cuba and its population also attract other UNC Asheville scholars for their first venture into the academic exchange, though for very different disciplines.

Jennifer Rhode Ward, an associate professor of biology, says that U.S. scientists and academics can learn much by getting involved with Cuban counterparts. “Cuba has unprecedented terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity, much of which remains undescribed, and shared international research could be key to preserving that richness,” she says. “I envision establishing joint pedagogical relationships with COPLAC and Cuban faculty, and co-teaching groups of Cuban and U.S. students in ecology and marine courses.”

Adell says that contrary to the perception that the island is closed to outsiders, many scholars will find that Cuban academics are open to collaboration. “They are so eager to have an exchange,” she says. In some ways, the exchange is already up and running between the two former enemy nations. In November, for example, Adell and Trautmann hope to host Juan Nicolás Padrón, a noted Cuban writer and poet who has been invited by Lori Oxford, a professor at Western Carolina University. “Padrón would say that it’s very difficult to understand Cuban history without talking about the United States, and that the reverse is true as well,” Adell says, a point that reinforces the logic to rebuilding educational relations.

This exchange would not have been possible without Mark Gibney, Belk Professor of the Humanities; Sophie Mills and Dan Pierce, former and current NEH Professors; the Academic Deans; Louis Toms from the Office of Sponsored Scholarships and Programs; and Susan Maas, academic assistant to Modern Languages.

To find out more, visit

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The world unfolds for UNC Asheville undergraduates— with just a blank piece of paper and the talents of award-winning faculty

—Patrick Bahls integrates the art form of origami into his honors classes.



Written by Margaret Williams, MLAS ’16 Photos by David Allen ’13

One blank page could become a student-designed fitness plan for an older adult. It might contribute research on local housing in Asheville. Perhaps it will outline a survey asking alumni what their undergraduate research meant to them. It could be the start of a novel, poem, movie script or any other original creation. Or the student might crease, fold, bend, shape, and create origami designed to be part of a portable, sturdy refugee shelter. These are a few of the transformative learning experiences offered by five award-winning teachers and scholars who regularly venture beyond the traditional classroom: Patrick Bahls, Leah Greden Mathews, Dwight Mullen, Peter Caulfield, and Kathie Garbe. The results enrich student lives, often while serving the community and broadening teachers’ own academic experiences. class. … I wanted to see what the students would The transformation starts with a blank piece of paper, indicative of the ideas and the possibilities. do with it.” In constrained classroom exercises, students may make one fold in a piece of paper It’s all about “getting students to step outside then pass it to the next person, or they “just keep their disciplines and getting them to think in folding without stopping and see what happens.” ways they would not have thought before,” says Whether writing a novel without using the vowel Bahls, associate professor of mathematics and “e,” or drafting a letter to a friend as a way to University Honors Program director. explain the mean value theorem, “constraint can He applies his own brand of breaking out be very liberating,” says Bahls. of traditional modes of thinking. Bahls has Students also work in small groups to research authored a book that might seem unusual for a math teacher (Student Writing in the Quantitative a topic—origami robots, refugee shelters, or paper that unfolds into a cascading dress. Disciplines); he regularly teaches poetry in class (sonnets and sestinas can be very mathematical); “The experience of doing research to learn something—instead of doing it to confirm and, most recently, he brings origami to the something or fulfill a class requirement—is, in classroom. itself, transforming,” he says. “Origami lends itself to mathematics, but also art, history, aesthetics, philosophy [and] Classroom to more,” he says. The honors program is “highly interdisciplinary,” so an origami class “is perfect Campus to Career for UNC Asheville,” says Bahls. “The interplay Of course, doing research to confirm a between the disciplines takes you [places] you hypothesis can be transformative, too. “We’re wouldn’t expect.” really interested in … the perception of the The 2015 UNC Asheville Distinguished value of undergraduate research,” says Mathews, Teaching Award-winner describes origami, for professor of economics and Interdisciplinary example, as “a dilettante-ish interest until a Distinguished Professor of the Mountain South. few years ago, when I realized it could be a fun By “we,” she means the students and researchers

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who have created a survey that explores that perception. Together, they have gathered responses and are analyzing the results this semester, Mathews explains. Such projects allow undergraduates “to see how economists do their work and how economics relates to the real world,” Mathews continues. Students also “get involved with the community in ways they might not otherwise engage. [They] see connections between the campus and community.” In the end, undergraduates also get a chance to understand the world around them by applying what they’re learning in the classroom, she says. “It’s the most fun part of my job,” Mathews adds. That enthusiasm is evident to her students, colleagues and the entire UNC system, earning Mathews the 2015 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the UNC Board of Governors. She also received the Southern Economic Association’s Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015. And Mathews—who triple-majored in economics, French and international affairs in her undergraduate days—notes the multifaceted, interdisciplinary aspect of each project, which helps create “a great alternative learning environment.” She continues, “In class, the teacher nudges you in a certain direction, but research … can take you to unexpected places.” That focus on place is Mathew’s specialty, along with environmental economics—evaluating cultural heritage, water quality, scenic beauty and other things not easily associated with monetary value.

—Leah Mathews

Exploring data on the value of a liberal arts education is a similar real-world issue, one that the latest student-driven survey project may illuminate. “We already know from cross-institutional research and previous studies that students regularly report that undergraduate research helps them with writing skills, critical-thinking skills, presentation skills, and for many, [it’s] seen as excellent preparation for [graduate school] and their careers,” says Mathews. About 800 alumni responded to the undergraduate research survey, she mentions. Mathews hopes to share the results before the end of 2015. “I would like to think that [data] will show that students find tremendous value in their undergraduate research.”

The City as a Research Lab Finding that inherent value can also come as a result of working in the community, as Dwight Mullen, professor of political science, has discovered during almost a decade of teaching a lab course on “The State of Black Asheville.” “It would have been impossible to predict what the students were going to do,” he says. “From the first time



“Taking them into the community— taking them to the village—is an absolute necessity for their education.” —Dwight Mullen

“Now I’m beginning to believe that it’s not just that we tried to change it, but that it has changed, because of who we are when we came into this faculty and who we became when we decided to stay,” he says. “For a very long time, I thought the effort would be all that His students have pursued undergraduate research on would be here to show that we tried to do it. Now I topics that include racial inequality, public education, the think this institution is fundamentally changed because criminal justice system, and income disparity. They’ve we were here, which means that the education has also turned the course into an annual public event and fundamentally changed.” expanded it to study “The State of Black North Carolina.” Part of that evolution has come from bringing the “They had to cross that divide,” Mullen says of students’ campus to the city around it, starting with students. cross-cultural education. “Practically, they could see “Taking them into the community—taking them to the that closing the disparities gap began by closing their village—is an absolute necessity for their education. It’s own cultural gaps.” This spring, through professional not an option. They have to do it. It’s unfair to expect development leave and partnerships with HBCUs across them to graduate and to be functional in a diverse society the state, Mullen will further develop the project. without exposing them to it as undergraduates.” we offered it in 2007, every class has had students go on to graduate school and pursue the areas they had researched in these projects. To turn your career into it was something I didn’t expect.”

The 30-year veteran of UNC Asheville’s faculty, who was named a recipient of the 2014 UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award, also reflects on the changing state of the university. “I had considered a successful legacy for UNC Asheville to at least leave a mark that we, the group of faculty I first came in with, tried to fundamentally change things—by race and by gender—from how we first found it,” says Mullen.

In the process, says Mullen, students “inevitably see things that I haven’t seen before.”

Novel Ideas Transformative community connections and creative conversations have also been a goal for Peter Caulfield,

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professor of literature and language and the 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award winner. “My favorite metaphor for what we do as teachers is the concept of a conversation,” he says. Almost 20 years ago, while on sabbatical and researching a novel, Caulfield visited an area Head Start. He became a regular volunteer that semester for the program and later launched the Head Start Holiday Party, a campus event for community youngsters. Now in its 18th season, the celebration has become one of UNC Asheville’s favorites. Creative work also infuses Caulfield’s teaching and contributions to UNC Asheville. For a few years, he has been working on a novel set in the 1960s in Vietnam, based on his experience. Now entering phased retirement, Caulfield says he’ll revise the manuscript yet again next spring. “There’s something about writing a novel and putting all that work into revising it. You are talking to students [as] someone who has done it. You are talking from a place of understanding.” It’s no surprise, then, that early in his nearly 30 years at UNC Asheville, Caulfield helped establish the university’s writing program, first called Writing Across the Curriculum and now known as the Writing Intensive Program. With more than 4,000 students across those three decades, his own pedagogical approach continues to evolve. His curriculum vitae encompasses courses from literature to humanities. “When you teach literature and you teach it over and over again for years and years, you get to know certain pieces of literature,” says Caulfield. “There are poems I have read and taught many, many times. They’ve become part of my emotional and intellectual being. I’ve come to a deeper understanding of them. They teach you things and they say things about the human condition—everything from something like war to love. I think of them all the time. ... Because of all of the years of doing that, their wisdom is embedded in me.” This fall, Caulfield has been focused on the classroom, and while the papers and pages continue, his method of



—Peter Caulfield

feedback has changed and developed through the years. The self-described Luddite often sends audio files back to each student with line-by-line feedback on first drafts and completed papers. “I tell my students that all of human history is an ongoing conversation about many essential elements of the human condition. My role is to help them enter more fully and capably into that ongoing, never (so far) ending conversation … about literature, about history, about social and political ideas, about various philosophical issues.” Whether interpreting a poem based on their own experiences or exploring a research project “I would never imagine,” says Caulfield, “my students always surprise me.”

Real World to Real Needs “There’s so much learning that can take place when undergraduates are placed in real-world situations,”

says Garbe, associate professor of health and wellness and recent recipient of the university’s 2015 Community Connectors Award and the Champion for Students Award. “It pushes them out of their comfort zones, [but] like birds pushed out of the nest … they take it and fly,” she says. Garbe pairs undergraduates with local health-and-wellness organizations. The YWCA, YMCA and Children First are just a few of the more than 100 local groups she’s worked with in recent years. “All civic engagement experiences are meant for student learning and skill development while they work to meet the very real needs of our community partners. Students select the organization they are interested in contributing to and learning from; often it aligns well with their own career interests,” she says. This semester, undergraduates are working with 22 organizations while learning leadership skills, seeing social policy applied in the field and, in the process, accomplishing much more, Garbe explains. Students might, for example, have to develop a fitness program for an older adult in the Wellness Activities for Seniors in Asheville (WASA) program, she says. That elder could be a homemaker who has never been in a weight room or started an exercise regimen; or it could be a 70-year-old woman who competes in triathlons. “What student could keep up with her?” Garbe jokes, adding on a more serious note that the right pairing of student with project population and organization makes a big difference in producing good outcomes for everyone involved. Active in a number of community-wide initiatives, Garbe says that with internships and community projects, students “learn to relate to people and make a difference in their lives.” It’s “very rewarding” to see all kinds of students—shy or outgoing, confident or hesitant— develop skills and become leaders. In these and many other ways, the work connects to her passion for collaborative partnerships and symbiotic relationships between students and participants, college and community, she emphasizes. Participating organizations “help the students learn, and we help with a [community] project. … Through these studentcommunity initiatives, the university continues to develop stronger partnerships and supportive relationships with our surrounding community—all while our students are growing and learning.” 4 Longtime local journalist Margaret Williams will complete her MLAS degree at UNC Asheville next spring.

“It’s very rewarding to see all kinds of students—shy or outgoing, confident or hesitant—develop skills and become leaders.” —Kathie Garbe FA L L 2 0 1 5


LEARNING CURVES UNC Asheville alumni shape their paths to successful, fulfilling careers. Written by Molly Smithson ’15

Julie and Dano Holcomb in their Creole and Southern food truck, Root Down



DISCLAIMER: Finding your dream job is never as simple as a few easy steps. But UNC Asheville alumni are often able to make their life passions and their daily work seamlessly fit together. With hand-crafted careers in a variety of industries, their day-to-day actions may be wildly different, but these alumni share a few common steps.

Find Your Roots Dano Holcomb ’97 discovered that many principles from playing and coaching soccer at UNC Asheville went hand in hand with running his Creole and Southern food truck, Root Down. “Playing on a team and being a business owner are very similar,” he said. “You have to set goals and have good parts in place to be successful.” Holcomb began his coaching career as an assistant to Michele Cornish, the UNC Asheville women’s soccer coach in 1995. After 14 years of assistant coaching at Division I schools, Holcomb had been offered head coaching jobs, but didn’t have the confidence to take the positions. He knew he loved cooking though, and wanted to change up his career to reflect that passion. Once he decided to open Root Down, he stepped into the role of both student and leader, which enhanced his decision-making skills. “It takes a lot of courage,” he said. “Now that I’m in my role, it’s a big learning curve but I also look to my staff for advice.” Holcomb often finds himself balancing the classic elements of Creole and Southern cuisine with fresh, exciting ideas that incorporate fresh, local ingredients from his college hometown of Asheville. “I have so much respect for the chefs who taught me,” he said. “I want to make sure I get the true aspect of everything, but put my own take on it.” PHOTO BY DAVID ALLEN ’13

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Branch Out


For Julie Holcomb ’98, the health career she had always envisioned became her passion when she began exploring courses outside of her major at UNC Asheville. Holcomb now works as a lactation specialist at Mission Hospital, but at UNC Asheville, she combined her biology major with the newly created minor of women’s studies. She also earned a bachelor’s in nursing, a master’s in nurse-midwifery, a certified nurse midwife degree and an additional certification as an international board certified lactation consultant. “Our Bodies Ourselves was a book that was required for one of my women’s studies classes,” she said. “So I became interested in midwifery that way, and then I began volunteering with some local midwives who did home and hospital births to see if that’s where my passion was.” Julie also operates Root Down with her husband, Dano. Together, they are working towards the common goal of improving health for people in Western North Carolina. “For both of us, having a relationship with our work, with the farmers that Dano works with, and me with helping women do what’s best for their families and their health are very important,” Julie said. “Our goals for our family are very similar to many people in Asheville. We’re just everyday people, trying to make what we’re passionate about work, in a place where we want to live.”

Stuart Parker enjoys the trail.

Look for Intersections For Stuart Parker ’14, the intersection of place and passion meant starting a business, specifically by combining environmental sciences with the arts, something he and his sister Allison had wanted to do for years. The siblings cofounded Trail Palette this summer. Parker, an environmental science major at UNC Asheville, guided artists on hiking trips through the Blue Ridge Mountains and taught them about the geological, ecological and atmospheric features that they saw. Allison instructed them in painting, and class participants left with vibrant landscape art of Western North Carolina.



Continue Problem-Solving IV Whitman ’94 chose to take risks throughout his career, which included founding two of his own businesses, one right out of college. “Starting a business is just like starting a new piece of art,” he said. “You have the vision. You sketch out the idea. You work your butt off to bring it to life. You show it off and promote it, and maybe someone will buy it. Maybe not. You live, learn and move on.” Today, Whitman shakes up traditional advertising through his role as a vice president of marketing for Skuid, a cloud-based startup software company in Chattanooga, Tenn. PHOTO BY STEPHANIE MUTERT, THE GLOBAL ORPHAN PROJECT

IV Whitman visiting Source de la Grace East, Croix des Bouquets, Haiti.

“If you simply look at a landscape and try to recreate it, you’ll be incredibly overwhelmed and will end up with a final product which is flat, stagnant, and lacking vigor,” Parker said. “So my job was to talk about the form of the landscape to prevent this from happening.” Parker used the class, and his time as a teacher’s assistant during his graduate program in geology at University of Montana to teach students that the outdoors could affect humankind’s relationship with nature for years to come. “It is important to look around yourself and see how things are interacting around you in your absence,” he said. “This is what I try to get across to students, whether they are studying geology or painting. We have to learn to mesh into these cycles if we want to reap the benefits of the natural world…”

“My study of fine art at UNC Asheville profoundly influenced the way I look at the world and solve business and marketing problems,” Whitman said. “Without my fine arts professors, my view of the business world would be flat and one dimensional.” Instead, he’s added dimensions, applying his business and creative problem-solving skills in developing countries. Volunteering with The Global Orphan Project, he has led 14 fundraising and economic development trips to Haiti and East Africa for over 400 hundred people. He has organized among the first trail runs and mountain biking expeditions in Haiti, and supported job creation for mothers living in extreme poverty. “After all,” he notes, “there is much more to life than money and work. Caring for others is really where it’s at.”4

Molly Smithson ’15 recently graduated as a university scholar with a B.A. in mass communication and a double minor in creative writing and French. She decided to stay in Asheville as long as it will have her, and currently works as a digital media and account coordinator at Darby Communications.

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BULLDOGS ON PAR BAA Scholarship Golf Classic Sets New Fundraising Records

Four Bulldog Programs Headline Big South APR Scores The Big South Conference had a league-record 19 athletic programs among those honored in May by the NCAA with Public Recognition Awards for their latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. UNC Asheville led the conference with four teams receiving recognition—men’s and women’s tennis, women’s basketball and women’s outdoor track and field programs. It is the third consecutive year that the Bulldogs have finished with the most recipients in the Big South. Each year, the NCAA tracks the classroom performance of student-athletes on every Division I team through the annual scorecard of academic achievement. This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight teams who demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports. By measuring eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or quarter, the APR provides a clear picture of academic performance in each sport.



from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Belk. Hole sponsors included Belk, Sports Clips, Harry’s on the Hill, Jim Barkley Toyota, Dixon Golf, First Citizens Bank, Beverly-Hanks & Associates Realtors and Asheville Chevrolet.

“I would like to thank the golf committee members and the many golfers, sponsors, and volunteers for making the 2015 Bulldog Athletic Association (BAA) Scholarship Golf Classic the most successful ever with over $106,000 raised for our annual scholarship fund,” said Director of Athletics Janet R. Cone. “Thanks to the great support from our campus and community, our golf tournament has become a signature event that demonstrates how Asheville is our home and the Bulldogs are our team.” UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary K. Grant and her husband Jim Canavan served as honorary chairs for this year’s tournament. Close to 200 golfers came out on August 24 and 25 to participate in the tournament at the Country Club of Asheville. This year’s tournament was presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, with additional support

UNC ASHEVILLE WILL ADD A WOMEN’S GOLF TEAM IN 2016-17 AND WILL COMPETE AS A MEMBER OF THE BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE . For the latest news, rosters and schedules for all UNC Asheville Division I teams, visit



The 2015 Bulldog Athletic Association Scholarship Golf Classic took place over two days in late August and concluded with the announcement that the tournament raised a record amount of money for the UNC Asheville Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund.

By Nick Phillips

Our Town. Our Team. Bulldog Athletes Expand Their Sphere of Service By Steve Plever

The Bulldogs’ theme—“Our Town. Our Team.”—is simple enough on the surface. “We wear Asheville across our chests, that’s the town,” said senior Paige Love of the women’s basketball team. “Really bridging the gap between community and athletics, and community and UNC Asheville—that’s what ‘Our Town. Our Team.’ is all about.” Paige Love is one of many student-athletes for whom “Our Town. Our Team.” is more than a hashtag. When she arrived on campus four years ago, she was already accustomed to volunteering in her hometown of North Wilkesboro. So continuing and leading teammates in the service work that builds a strong campus-community connection, she says, was “normal” for her. Love volunteers at the Shiloh Community Association garden, the YMCA in downtown Asheville, Asheville City Schools and is a mentor and friend to Elijah Roberts, a Special Olympics athlete. But this doesn’t come naturally to many student-athletes.

he says. Some world-famous athletes may have giant spheres of influence, but for many student-athletes who spend so much time with their teams, the spheres can be small, even insular. “Some athletes may not feel comfortable being outside of their sphere,” said Garrison, who feels it is important for the university to “find a way to transition them into finding a way to get their sphere bigger. How do you create that? One of the ways is through service work—it’s putting people in a situation where they can grow.”

“A lot of students come in their own little world, so to get them into the larger community is important,” said Greg Garrison ’05 who works as a tutor at the Parsons Math Lab on campus and employs many students as proprietor of The Hop Ice Cream Café. Greg and his wife Ashley Garrison ’05 have made community involvement a core part of The Hop’s business model, hosting benefits for community organizations every week. As a former Bulldog soccer star who remembers doing volunteer work as part of his team, Greg has insight into the athletics/service connection.

Bulldog Expectations

“My philosophy is, no matter what your background or how large or small a sphere you have, the idea is to inject it with as much positivity as you can,” said Garrison. “That applies to everyone, not just athletes. The difference is the sphere,”

Love’s basketball teammate, junior KJ Weaver from the Atlanta area, is a case in point. “Community service was a new experience, for sure,” she said. “It started with us volunteering together as a team and it’s slowly developed

The UNC Asheville Athletics Department has been intentional about offering opportunities for service and growth—every student-athlete is encouraged to perform a minimum of six hours of service work each season. “We set up a community service project and some go because we ask them to go,” says UNC Asheville Athletics Director Janet R. Cone. “But some student-athletes go back on their own and continue. We see those kind of examples where they just keep giving back.”

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over my three years.” Weaver joins Love in working with Elijah Roberts, and in the Shiloh garden, and she is now ready for more. “I’m thinking of trying to find a regular volunteer position with the Red Cross next summer. It’s really sparked my heart to start serving others.” Weaver was reluctant at first to talk about her service work, and credits Love with “giving me the connections to go and help people like I want to. My favorite aspect is being able to help others or make others happy without getting recognition,” Weaver said. “I’m getting interviewed now [for this article], but usually, I do it without anyone knowing.” Weaver and Love are thankful for leadership in this area from Women’s Head Basketball Coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “From the beginning, she made sure that giving back to the community was one of the top priorities,” said Love. “So much has been given to us, especially because we’re on scholarship. She really made it a big deal, to give back and show appreciation for what has been given to us.”

Youth Focus

Other places where UNC Asheville student-athletes volunteer are the YMCA in downtown Asheville, and the Shiloh garden, increasing access to fresh, healthy food for that low and middle-income, historically African-American South Asheville neighborhood. And last summer, coaches and athletics administrators led UNC Asheville’s staff team helping build a new playground for Oakley Elementary School. “We really believe in the health and wellness component,” said Cone, who spent the entire day building playground equipment. “Whether we’re out on the playgrounds or doing clinics, even in our tutoring and our Rocky Readers program, part of it is education and part is athletic activity and promoting an active lifestyle. A lot of it is youth-focused. Student-athletes and coaches can make a big difference because many of the young people look to college athletes as role models.”


Asheville City Schools are a prime focus for UNC Asheville student-athletes’ service work, with some students tutoring

and more promoting reading as part of the Rocky Readers program in the elementary schools. Student-athletes also host sessions during the Explore the Tour programs that bring middle school students from all over Western North Carolina to UNC Asheville to boost enthusiasm for college among rural youth. Teams and coaches also provide clinics to help young students develop in sports like basketball, tennis and soccer.

KJ Weaver, foreground, joined by Bulldog basketball teammates Chatori Major (left) and Paige Love. Laura Lee Petritz ’14 in blue cap, is coordinator of the Shiloh Community Garden program.





Reflecting upon what service work can mean for student-athletes, Garrison says the experience comes with challenges and isn’t the same for everyone. “The athlete part makes it easy for people to connect to them,” he said. “But as individuals, it would be more important for students to define themselves as something other than a basketball player or soccer player. “With about 200 student-athletes involved, there are probably 20 or 30 who are exceptional when it comes to community. There are many more who will get something positive out of it. … Those who will be really changed by it are the reason you should do it. And hopefully, they’ll bring other people along with them.”

Goal Oriented For the Athletics Department, “Our Town. Our Team.” is a simple imperative: “We live in this town,” said Cone. “We go to school in this town. We play in this town. We work in this town. And our town is so much bigger than our campus. So we’ve got to get out and show that we’re giving back. We reap the benefits too because we live here. We want to be part of the bigger team and the bigger team is our community. Our team is the Bulldogs. We want Asheville to see us as part of the big team and we want them to be part of our team.”

“I had the opportunity to see him in the 40-meter dash and the softball toss

To learn more about UNC Asheville’s athletics visit

in the Special Olympics. It was amazing—one of the best moments—I’d never been to a Special Olympics before. It’s not really community involvement anymore—it’s really building a relationship with someone and being a mentor figure.” - Paige Love ’16

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class notes

DROP US A LINE! We love to hear from alumni—and so do your classmates! So be sure to send us your accomplishments, career moves, family news and celebrations. Either log on to or send an e-mail to



Reba Smith retired from

Wendell Thorne recently


published a collection of fiction, The Hot Dog King and Other Stories , available on Amazon and Kindle.

1975 Zollie Stevenson Jr. was named associate vice president for academic affairs at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark.

1980 Ron Caldwell is currently working on a sequel to his first book, Days and Nights in Parisienne Heights , as well as his first novel. Jayum Anak Jawan was appointed as the Tun Abdul Razak Chair in Malaysian Studies and visiting professor of political science at the University of Ohio, Athens.

1991 Patrick Britz and his wife Joanna had a baby boy, Zachary Thomas Britz, on Sept. 7, 2015.



1993 Kristin Rokosz is now living in London working for General Reinsurance.

Marietta Wright received the Lucas-Hathaway Teaching Excellence Award and was promoted to associate professor at Waynesburg University.

1995 William Ross Bryan is now the assistant dean of the Honors College at University of Alabama.

Marc Kiviniemi was appointed director of undergraduate public health initiatives at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

Shannon Knupp is now working as the executive director of human resources at Beachbody LLC. Jo Linda Landreth earned her master’s degree in educational psychology with a concentration in gifted and talented education from University of Connecticut.

1996 Anthony Oakes is now a second grade teacher at McDowell County Schools.

Douglas Palmer was named vice president for academic affairs at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio.

1997 Suzanne Alford married Rebecca Nelson and welcomed two children, Nate and Livi Nelson. Pamela Allen married Joseph Meliski in July 2015.

Shannon Davis and Frank Hirtz welcomed their second child, Miles Bradley Hirtz, on May 30, 2014.


Melissa Mitchell now works for Shell Pipeline Company in Houston, as the tariff, lands and permitting manager. Dhaval Patel and Kinjal Patel had a baby boy, Moksh Patel, on Sept. 13, 2015.

1998 Mark King and Stephanie King had a baby girl named Isla Rose, born May 15, 2015.

2000 Jennifer Miller and John Miller had a baby girl, Rachel Miller on May 21, 2015.

Ted Rogers , with two co-inventors, received a U.S. patent for a scope correction apparatus, which fits to weapon scopes and will be used for training during video simulation drills. Rogers has worked as a research scientist with the Center for Applied Optics at the University of Alabama Huntsville for the last 12 years.

Elizabeth Underwood is now working as the associate vice chancellor of government and university relations at The University of Arkansas, Fort Smith.

Cindy Upright has adopted

welcomed a baby boy named Atticus Drayton Cooper on Dec. 13, 2014.

two boys, Aaron and Levi, with her husband Jonathan.

2001 Mike Bender is now working at SolarCity as the senior marketing manager.

Aminda Katz and her husband Matt welcomed a baby girl, Maya Quinn Katz, on June 30, 2015.

homecoming-ad-for HT.indd 1

2002 Jessica Cooper and her husband Clarence ’06

Mike Roach and his wife Carolyn had a baby boy named Charles Bruce Roach on June 18, 2015.

Carrie Scharf moved to West Virginia.

2003 Craig Arnold will be moving to Vermont with his family to work as a social worker at the VA medical center.

2004 Amber Brown and Matt Brown had a baby boy named Elijah Augustus Brown on June 12, 2015.

Suzanne Hermann had a baby girl named Avery Belle Hermann on Aug. 7, 2015. Joe Ludes is the mid-Atlantic teacher trainer for REAL School Gardens. Jennifer Mayer’s company, Charlotte Street Computers, has been named an Apple Premium Service Provider for 2015.

10/13/15 4:06 PM

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ENVIRONMENTAL RESILIENCE Studies in Sustainability Span Careers

By Hannah Epperson ’11


Academy of Science—an independent

Beaton’s job involves asking a lot of big


advisory body for the U.S. government.

questions that don’t have easy answers, like how to create policies and laws to


from cultivating campus gardens to

“When there’s a matter of science

accelerate wide-scale adoption of clean energy technologies. But Beaton knows

energy efficiency measures in campus

or science policy that there’s some

buildings to incorporating conservation

question about, that the government

asking those questions is important—a

into classes across the curriculum.

wants an independent and reasonably

value he learned in Professor of

It’s a calling many students take with

objective answer about, they come to us,”

Chemistry Bert Holmes’ class years ago.

them beyond the university and into

Beaton explained. “The thing that Bert emphasized again

their careers. The two projects Beaton is currently

and again in his courses, he’d say, ‘I’m

working on were requested by Congress

going to ask questions of you; I hope

and the Department of Energy, respec-

you’ll ask questions of me. Only a ques-

tively. Beaton guides the projects from

tioning mind can learn.’”

start to finish, assembling teams of the world’s leading science experts to

ANNA LANGE’S ’08 passion for the

address questions like the impact of tax

environment took her across the country

policy on greenhouse gas emissions. The

and back again, from her first job with

entire process can take anywhere from

Green Corps that put her on the cutting

nine months to three years.

edge of building a clean energy economy in cities like Chicago and San Francisco,

“There is nothing better you can do to

and back to the east coast, where she

prepare for this kind of job than get a

served as sustainability director in

really high quality liberal arts education,”

Richland County, South Carolina.

Beaton said. “The thing that’s important about what I do is that I have to have a

During her time as sustainability director,

level of confidence that I can undertake

Lange helped pass a comprehensive

any challenge that’s given to me, no

sustainability policy for the county and

PAUL BEATON ‘02 took his passion for

matter how new, and I can learn what

the region, and reduced the county’s

energy and environmental policy to

I need to learn in order to do it … and

energy use by 10 percent.

Washington, D.C., where he now works

use good, creative, liberal arts critical

as senior program officer at the National

thinking and problem solving skills.”

“Today I serve as the recycling market development manager for the South

“There is nothing better you can do to prepare for this kind of job than get a really high quality liberal arts education. The thing that’s important about what I do is that I have to have a level of confidence that I can undertake any challenge that’s given to me, no matter how new, and I can learn what I need to learn in order to do it … and use good, creative, liberal arts critical thinking and problem solving skills.” —Paul Beaton ’02



Carolina Department of Commerce,” said Lange, who was one of the students that launched UNC Asheville’s Student Environmental Center in 2007. In her current role she tracks the economic impact of the recycling industry, and connects with companies to find buyers for waste products that would otherwise end up in the landfill. She also focuses on capturing food and organic waste for commercial-scale composting.


Sonya Breanna Pratt and her husband Greg welcomed a baby girl named Starlynn Ruth Pratt of April 30, 2015. Leah and Mark Schuurman ’02 had a “The most rewarding part of my job is

Carolina, and works on outreach and

being the gatekeeper that creates new

presentations to the public to advocate

supply chains and moves us closer to

for policies to protect drinking water.

zero waste,” Lange said. “In nature waste equals food, I get to work with

“Clean Water for NC’s mission is

businesses to rethink what is going to

to promote clean, safe water and

the landfill.”

environments and empowered, just communities for all North Carolinians through community organizing, education, advocacy and technical assistance,” Hicks said. It’s a job that gives her lots of opportunities to use her science background, as well as skills developed in her second major, Spanish.

drinking water plays out right here in of Clean Water for North Carolina (CWFNC). Her love for local ecology was ignited by an internship at the Cradle of Forestry in Transylvania County, and by her professors in the Environmental Studies Department. “There were—and are—so many wonderful

Lisa Batten earned a master’s degree in teacher leadership at Lamar University. Charlotte Claypoole married Chase McKinney on July 11, 2015. Kimberly Eggett and Stephen Eggett ’08 had a baby girl named Amelia Camerina Eggett on May 13, 2015.


water in the crazy arena of state and local politics can be infuriating at times,”

Erin Curtis married Bryant Carson on

Hicks said. “But at the end of the day, it’s

May 9, 2015.

really rewarding to be able to work on

Kim Garrett just purchased her first

such an important issue of protecting

home in Winston Salem.

water for the public good and fighting to

Aundria Lear opened an optometry

clean up sources of contamination.”

Asheville, where she’s assistant director


Omar James Collington and Madlen Pie had a baby boy named Omari Akeem Collington on June 11, 2015.

“Trying to advocate for clean drinking

KATIE HICK’S ’09 passion for protecting

baby girl named Stella Ruth Schuurman on July 6, 2015.

practice, Twenty 20, in Asheville.

Chad Mohn and his wife Erin Mohn had a baby boy, Charles Henry Mohn, on September 12, 2015. Ian Montgomery founded Blue Ridge Aromatics, a locally-grown essential oil distillery, in Asheville. Bethany Niebauer is now working as a technical writer at Canna Advisors.

Dustin Sipes and Jessica Ray Sipes ’05 had their first child, a baby girl named Norah, on July 10, 2015.

Department, most of them with an


infectious interest and love of the ecology

Elif Englert married Austin Englert .

of the southern Appalachians,” Hicks said.

Peter Haschke received the Best

As the assistant director of CWFNC, Hicks writes grants and promotes

Dissertation Award of the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association.

fundraising, conducts research on

William Young Jr. is retired and

educators in the Environmental Studies

issues affecting drinking water in North

enjoying it.

FA L L 2 0 1 5






Elyse Rolfe completed 200

Anna Grace Deierlein married

Kelsey Baired had a baby boy

RYT through Raleigh-area Yoga Legacy, with advanced training in aquatic and detox yoga. This fall, she will complete further training in hot, senior and prenatal yoga.

Brooke Colver in Weaverville on May 16, 2015.

named Reavis Allen Baired.

Nicholas Thuell married Jennifer Thuell on Sept. 6, 2015

Ashley Wrightenberry married Daniel Kamiya on July 18, 2015.

2009 Alexa Jacobs married Taylor Shanklin ’10, on Feb. 21, 2015. Jacobs is currently in her sixth year of teaching second grade in China Grove.

Lakesha McDay has accepted the position of Mission Health’s first director of diversity, health equity, and inclusion.

Patrick Tate married Whitney Odden on July 3, 2015.

Catherine Williams married Justin Smith in their hometown Rosewell, Ga., on May 16, 2015.

2011 James Chick will begin a new job at Metlife as a senior annuities professional in Charlotte.

Mary Ellen Dendy married Aaron Dahlstrom ’09 on Sept. 12, 2015.

Carrie Harrell married Ben Jones on May 30, 2015, and is now working as an OB/GYN resident at Duke University Hospital.

Carolyn Island graduated from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in May 2015.

James Phillips moved to Austin and became the economist for Battlecry Studios, a video game company.

Kristen Englert-Lenz released a new album, The Extent of Play.

Lauren Gunter is engaged to Cody Mink.

Alyssa Smith is traveling to Germany to teach English.


Meredith Houck is now married and attending graduate school at Princeton University.

Amie Cloer, women’s tennis alumna, married Shane Lewis June 20, 2015.

Tatiana Potts exhibited her collection Topophilia: Printmaking by Tatiana Potts at UNC Asheville in fall 2015.

Eric Frid and his wife, Amber, had a baby in the spring of 2014.

Emily Williamson married Andy Williamson ’10. Karina Zimmerman and her husband Devin Zimmerman ’11 had a baby boy named Aiden Kent Balaoro Zimmerman on Aug. 1, 2015.

2013 Brent Allison graduated from the University of Florida with his MBA in finance and is moving to Orlando to become a senior financial analyst with Darden Restaurants.

Plan your path with a charitable gift

Michael Eli Miller married Rachel Wells on July 25, 2015. Cassidy Robbins married Elizabeth Sheppard on April 13, 2015. Corlee Thomas-Hill participated in the 2015 Remember the Removal bike ride, a nearly 1,000-mile bicycle ride from Georgia to Oklahoma commemorating the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their homeland during the Trail of Tears.

2015 Joseph Anderson accepted a position with Gould Killian CPA.

Juliana Grassia is now the campaign manager for The Committee to Elect Corey Atkins.

If you own low-yielding

Kelly Olshan is attending

assets and are seeking higher income, a charitable

Columbia University for a master’s degree in arts administration.

life income gift such as a

Kaitlin Pindell is an accountant at Kearney & Company, a CPA firm in Alexandria, Va.

charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust

Daniel Thomas married Martina Underwood.

may be worth exploring. Contact Julie Heinitsh, assistant vice chancellor for

Did we miss your class note? Check

planned giving and major gifts, at 828.232.2430 or



online and send your update to class-notes.


INSTEAD OF A BENEDICTION In honor of the installation of Chancellor Mary K. Grant, September 19, 2015


By Richard Chess, Roy Carroll Distinguished Professor of Literature and Language

Levo oculos meos in montes Psalm 121 So what shall we make of this moment, the ceremony nearly over, its robes and hoods soon to be returned to the closet, its chairs folded, its words dispersed into air? What shall we make of the promise of this hour—here where the rule of reason catches a glimpse of the fugitive imagination and feels an urge to charge and chase it down and lock it up and away where it will pose no further threat to order? But even from the smallest cell in the deepest hole, imagination finds a way out and into the objective eye, the skeptical mind. Pisgah lifts our eyes.

Are we the ones assigned— called to the work of creating a universe that will hold and honor every kind of intelligence? Let us live as if it were so. Even at a dark time when we ourselves are seen as fugitives, scientists, humanists, artists—explorers all— let us know with our feet the ground on which we stand, let us lift our eyes to the mountains—

to be human in a human and other than human world. Before the arena is cleared, the court returned to the players, before each of us is drawn back into the fields of our fearless investigations, let us turn to one another— the diverse, expanding universe!— in whom we find strength and love of truth, and let us say amen.

esa einai el heharim— to honor the vision of one who believed our help would descend from above. O promised land! Let us who have been granted a brief stay here learn from one another what it is

FA L L 2 0 1 5


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Burlington, VT Permit No. 19

University of North Carolina at Asheville One University Heights Asheville, North Carolina 28804

The Heart of Campus The summer Concerts on the Quad drew a crowd of more than 4,700 for five performances, starting with local stand-out Sirius.B. Community partners Mission Health and the Asheville Citizen-Times sponsored the series. (Photo by David Allen ’13) 38


UNC Asheville Fall 2015  
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