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asheville Volume 8, No. 2 SPRING 2016


The Team Behind the Team It’s all hands and hearts in for the Bulldogs


Conversations that Matter Breaking Out of the Box We’re No. 1

contents 18

The Team Behind the Team It’s all hands and hearts in for the Bulldogs (Photo by David Allen ’13)



Conversations that Matter Thought leaders converge at UNC Asheville for community events


Breaking Out of the Box Two new initiatives provide students a unique pathway of experience




28 30 32


ON THE COVER: The view from the bench.

(Photo by David Allen ’13)

We’re No. 1 Students and alumni share their work— on campus, in the community, and around the world


Mary K. Grant



has been making headlines.

Joseph R. Urgo

We announced new initiatives in


the arts and sciences, including

Shannon Earle

launching the Center for Creative


William K. Haggard

Entrepreneurship in partnership with


The Center for Craft, Creativity &

John Pierce

Design, and securing a $1.5 million


grant from the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline

Buffy Bagwell

Foundation for STEM research. We



celebrated the success of our Big South Champion basketball teams—that’s right, TEAMS, plural—

Heather Parlier

with both men’s basketball and women’s basketball winning


conference titles and advancing to the NCAA tournament. We

Luke Bukoski

welcomed acclaimed speakers to campus to share in important


conversations, and we’ve learned from our students, faculty, staff

Darin Waters


and alumni about how you are making an impact, from leading rallies to starting social businesses.


Amy Jessee

It’s no surprise that The Princeton Review named UNC Asheville


the No. 1 school in the nation for Making an Impact. You already

Mary Ann Lawrence, Hanna Trussler ’13 PROJECT MANAGER


know why, because you are the people working day in and day out to make a difference and find meaning in your work. We share a few of these stories in this edition of UNC Asheville Magazine and

Kari Barrows ‘16, Sarah Carballo ’17, Aaron Dahlstrom ’09, Hannah Epperson ’11, Jack Igelman, Phil Latter ‘04, Nick Phillips, Steve Plever, Karen Shugart ‘99, Melissa Stanz

give you a glimpse of the all-hands-in effort behind the Big South


our creative entrepreneurs, see students engaged in service

David Allen ’13, George Etheredge ’16, Adrian Etheridge ‘15, Peter Lorenz, Matt Rose, Robert Straub ’91

Championships that came to campus this past March. You’ll meet learning, and discover how UNC Asheville connects to the

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

and even dining services.


That’s just a taste of the semester, one in which we brought more


Laura Herndon

community through cutting-edge research, hands-on design,

than 4,000 scholars to campus for the 30th anniversary of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and shared the

Address Changes

work of at least 200 of our own undergraduate researchers. Our

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

the abstracts and welcoming visitors to our vibrant campus and

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 of North Carolina at Asheville is committed to equality of educational experiences for students and is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. UNC Asheville will not discriminate against students, applicants or employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or any other legally protected status. To make a report to the university, contact the Title IX Office at 828-258-7872 or visit or Highsmith Union 207. © UNC Asheville, June 2016

faculty and staff also served behind the scenes, reading all of city. We’ve collected a few scenes from this wonderful showcase of ingenuity and innovation in our magazine web extras, and my thanks go to everyone who volunteered or participated! Many UNC Asheville supporters have played a role in this exciting semester, and we appreciate all of you being a part of our winning team on the courts and in the classrooms. Go Bulldogs! —Chancellor Mary K. Grant

32,500 copies of this magazine were printed on paper with recycled content at a cost of $15,304.74 or 47 cents each.






Research Exposure Robyn Lewis ’16 presented her undergraduate research in physics at the 30th anniversary of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at UNC Asheville, one of 4,000 scholars sharing innovative work. On campus, she’s part of a continuum of students engaged in physics experiments using an infrared carbon dioxide laser to produce a form of carbon called graphene on polyimide film. Both exceptionally strong and conductive, the material is valuable for its potential uses in bioengineering and energy storage, among other fields, but large-scale production is currently difficult and cost-prohibitive. “Being able to form graphene would really just be the first step in a lot of potential research,” the graduating senior said. WRITTEN BY SARAH CARBALLO ’17 PHOTO BY DAVID ALLEN ’13

To find out more, visit




(Above) Marilyn Foote-Hudson (left), executive director of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, talks with UNC Asheville senior and chemistry researcher Emily Lanier. (Below) From left: Assistant Professor of Chemistry Amanda Wolfe; Chancellor Mary K. Grant; Board Chair Pat Smith; senior and chemistry researcher Emily Lanier; NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Executive Director Marilyn Foote-Hudson; and Jack Cecil of the foundation’s board.

CULTIVATING STEM RESEARCH $1.5 million grant in chemistry and biology

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has awarded UNC Asheville a $1,577,718 grant to elevate undergraduate research through The Chemistry & Biology Fellows & Scholars Program. Announced on campus on April 7 during the 30th anniversary of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the grant will fund programs in medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical and molecular biology. “The university has designed a win-win STEM component where scholars are mentored and supported by post-doctoral teaching and research fellows, with a unique model where they are also mentored by faculty advisors. It’s a great pipeline for success for females and under-represented minority science majors



that continues to build low-income first generation students into successful fellows,” said Marilyn Foote-Hudson, executive director, North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. “What we get to do here as an inspired group of students is learn from the best, what it means to be a scientist working


on real-world problems,” said senior Emily Lanier. “I worked for three years now on new methods of synthesizing new antibiotics for the next generation of resistant bacterial infections. And less than a month ago, I was able to present my research at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, Calif., alongside graduate and doctoral researchers in my field, which is an incredible opportunity.” Lanier, who puts in 10-15 hours a week into her research, is excited that the grant will enable many more students to have opportunities funded for study and research.

LEADING WITH THE LIBERAL ARTS President Margaret Spellings shares thoughts from her visit to UNC Asheville as part of “Around the State in 100 Days” listening tour

The Chemistry & Biology Fellows & Scholars Program will fund students for up to four years, including research support for two years and two summers, and three years of conference travel. Students can receive a maximum of $39,000. Post-doctoral teaching and research fellows will have two-year commitments and will be mentored by UNC Asheville faculty. The project team will include Herman Holt, associate professor of chemistry and department chair, Amanda Wolfe, assistant professor of chemistry, Ted Meigs, GlaxoSmithKline Distinguished Professor in Molecular & Chemical Biology, and Sarah Seaton, assistant professor of biology. Dean of Natural Sciences Keith Krumpe will serve as project director. “One of the best parts about the UNC Asheville Department of Chemistry is its dedication to research and mentoring. This is one of the things that really drew me to UNC Asheville as a faculty member. Our program requires all of our B.S. chemistry majors to complete four semesters of hands-on investigative research in emerging fields of chemistry because we believe that the way to learn chemistry is actually to do chemistry in the lab,” said Wolfe.

“All day long at UNC Asheville, I met students who made a very deliberate decision to pursue a liberal arts education. They wanted close relationships with faculty, the freedom to explore a variety of different subjects, and the rigor and creativity that are at the core of the liberal arts tradition. They found all of that in UNC Asheville, a true gem for North Carolina and a unique institution within the world of public higher education. Since my first day on the job, I’ve been talking about the need to broaden college access to better prepare a changing nation. Nowhere is that democratization of higher education more striking than at a public liberal arts university, a place that offers the kind of curriculum that used to be the province of a privileged few.” —Margaret Spellings, UNC President




COMMENCEMENT CELEBRATIONS Graduates encouraged to make a difference PHOTO BY PETER LORENZ

More than 500 graduates and their families gathered on the Quad on May 7 for the Spring Commencement ceremony and celebration. Among those honored were Commencement Speaker Virgil Smith, former publisher and president of the Asheville Citizen-Times, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Julia Ray, centenarian and business leader, was honored with a honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. John Cram, a local entrepreneur, received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts.


Student speaker and 2015-16 Student Government Association President Maya Newlin encouraged her classmates to be the next generation of leaders. “I wanted us to remember that we are innovative, passionate, intelligent by far, curious, headstrong, and most of all seriously creative. We stare injustice in the face without fear but with confidence and a plan for action and change,” she said. “Go out and show the world your true blue colors. Live life for your happiness and give back to the communities that you are part of for their prosperity.” The Bulldog Baseball team sported their blue during Commencement, playing an away game on May 7 and celebrating the graduation of four seniors the following weekend on the home field. Erik Connolly, Adam Spracklin, Parker Swindell, and Lucas Owens received their diplomas from Chancellor Mary K. Grant before the May 14 Senior Day game.



Trey Adcock, assistant professor of education and director of American Indian outreach, received the Champion for Students Award.

Tiece Ruffin, assistant professor of education, is the fourth recipient of the UNC Asheville Community Connectors Award.

Brent Skidmore, assistant professor of art, was named Asheville City Schools Foundation’s “Spirit of Service Champion.”

Sophie Mills, professor of classics, was named the winner of the 2015 Collegiate Teaching Award from the Society for Classical Studies.

Lorena Russell, associate professor of English, received the Distinguished Teaching Award at UNC Asheville.

Sally Wasileski, associate professor of chemistry, received the 2016 Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching.




Thanks to our retiring employees for their many years of service to the university

Gwen Ashburn, Buffy Bagwell, Keith Bramlett, Lyudmila Buksh, Pat Catterfeld, Peter Caulfield, Virginia Derryberry, Gerry Donovan, Richard Glass,

Brenda McKinney, Charles McKnight, Steve Metcalf, Merritt Moseley, Pat O’Cain, Keith Ray, Kitti Reynolds, Linda Rhymes, Pedro Sandin,

Archer Gravely, Terri Godleski, Joyce Hamilton, Lisa Honeycutt, Peter Kendrick, Holly Iglesias, Bruce Larson, Heon Lee, Dawn McCann,

Dot Sulock, Joe Sulock, Lisa Thickitt, Dennis Thompson, Glenna Trull, Alice Weldon, Bob Yearout




Whitesides Hall dedicated on Feb. 19

Recognizing a Former Chancellor

UNC Asheville dedicated Alfred J. Whitesides Jr. Hall on Feb. 19, 2016, after a public vote by the Board of Trustees. The academic building was previously known as New Hall.

Chancellor Mary K. Grant welcomed former Chancellors Doug Orr (interim), Anne Ponder, and David Brown to campus in May 2016 to unveil Ponder’s portrait.



CONVERSATIONS THAT MATTER Wr i tte n by Steve P l eve r

Thought leaders converge at UNC Asheville for conversations that matter and make a difference. In a year of national attention, campaign politics, and global forums, UNC Asheville has been a place for going far beyond slogans and soundbites. The campus and the Asheville community have had the chance to hear from and engage with prominent thinkers from around the nation and the world. “We are the public liberal arts university for the state of North Carolina and one of the things we do is bring people together for important conversations, and for learning and building community,” said Chancellor Mary K. Grant in her introduction to Sir Salman Rushdie, the renowned author and champion of free expression who spoke to a packed Kimmel Arena in February.

Can We Talk? “I have to say I’m a little bit worried—I see there are a lot of students here—about you guys,” said Rushdie. “Because this generation of students in America has begun to internalize the idea that silencing certain kinds of speech is worth doing, even though you live in the country of the First Amendment, which says the opposite.” Rushdie, a native of India, knows all too well how fragile yet important the right of free speech can be—in response to his novel The Satanic Verses, Iran’s leaders issued a fatwa calling for his death. “Of course, students at university should live in a safe space in terms of their physical safety. But the thought that they should be protected from ideas that they might find surprising or difficult is the opposite of the reason why people go to university. “Universities should be safe spaces for ideas, not safe from ideas. And you as young people should be challenged in what you take for granted, exposed to ideas that you haven’t heard before and maybe that you don’t like. How else will you learn how to think?”




Perry Horse


Karsonya Wise Whitehead


Henry Louis Gates


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Rushdie, winner of countless literary awards, says that novels can illuminate truth in a way that much contemporary journalism fails to do, and he argued that Harvard University Professor Henry in the digital information age, people find enough information (and misinformation) Louis Gates Jr., one of America’s most prominent intellectuals and the producer to support not just opposing views, but and host of the PBS series Finding Your mutually exclusive realities. “The world Roots, shared his personal journey to no longer has the solidity that it had in the learning his own ancestry and shared his age of the great realist novel, where the conclusions about African-American roots writer and the reader could basically have more generally. His talk was the keynote the same description of the world,” he said. in Kimmel Arena for the 20th anniversary “Now we live in a much more fractured celebration of UNC Asheville’s Center for moment in which there is no such Diversity Education. agreement. … The world is becoming, in a way, fictionalized. … The real has become “So what is the larger import of all of a problem—we don’t agree on what the this—why do I do it? I do it because of real is.” the thrill of learning more about identity. … I know the electricity that you get In that disagreement, though, can come when you find your ancestors. And so dialog and discussion, and UNC Asheville I have been working with colleagues— was the place for both in 2015-16, with geneticists, social scientists and several prominent speakers coming to historians—to develop this curriculum. stages and forums across campus. When I was coming up in the 1950s, the blackest thing you could be was an educated man, not a basketball player or an entertainer. That was fine, but the heroes of the race were W.E.B Du Bois

Henry Louis Gates Jr.



and Mary McLeod Bethune—serious intellectuals—becoming a doctor or a lawyer was making a contribution to the race. … Far too many of our own children within the race have lost that understanding of the value of education, for many reasons …”

Mogens Lykketoft The Reuter Center hosted the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, who spoke at UNC Asheville at the invitation of the university’s Carol Belk Distinguished Professor Mark Gibney. An economist by training, the leading political figure in Denmark has served as that nation’s finance minister, foreign minister and speaker of the parliament. Lykketoft reflected on the UN’s 70 year history, but was most emphatic about the urgent work needed to stop climate change, saying, “There are three times as many people in this world as there were 70 years ago. … We are reaching some of the limits of the globe. … We have to live in a different way. … We have to do it now….

The world cannot now in a decent way deal with 60 million displaced persons, less than 1 percent of the human race. If climate change is allowed to accelerate, it will be hundreds of millions dislocated from where they live now because of rising sea levels, because of lack of fresh water when the glaciers melt down, and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to foresee how many conflicts will be generated.”

the federal government for decades, to independence. The past is always there as a guide to us. Just as Black Elk said, ‘put it away and find a new strength.’”

where black bodies are once again endangered, black life is once again criminalized, and black spaces exist, once again, only on the edges of both the city and our minds.

Karsonya Wise Whitehead

Geoffrey Stone Geoffrey Stone, one of the nation’s leading First Amendment scholars, spoke in the Humanities Lecture Hall, invited by Brian E. Butler, a student of Stone’s during his time at the University of Chicago, and now the Thomas Howerton Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at UNC Asheville.

Karsonya Wise Whitehead, the author of Letters to My Black Sons and an associate professor at Loyola University Maryland, spoke in Highsmith Union about the Black Lives Matter movement as UNC Asheville Perry Horse, a member of the Kiowa students initiated discussions on campus. Nation and one of the founders of the Whitehead began her talk with an excerpt American Indian Higher Education Confrom her essay, Songs in a Key Called “Universities have to be absolutely commitsortium, spoke in Highsmith Union. Baltimore: ted to the freedom to discuss ideas,” said “For me being bilingual is a big part of my Stone, who led the committee that drafted Indian identity. If someone says something I would like to proclaim that #BlackLivesMat- the University of Chicago’s statement ter and then point to the ways in which this on academic freedom. “There can be no to me in English—I can hear and undersimple concept/screamed and shouted, cried censorship by the university of students stand it in the context of American culture. over and prayed about/has transformed the or faculty members in the expression of Sometimes I translate what was said into city and altered our space. … whatever ideas they believe to be worthy Kiowa and I hear the meaning in relation of discussion, debate and question. That’s to Kiowa culture. There is a deep value in I try and hide my frustration because in the what makes us a university and any failure being able to do that,” said Horse. aftermath of the Uprising/a time when black to live up to that is a betrayal of our core and white people named their pain/life has “Indians everywhere are moving from value and mission.” 4 settled back down to the familiar/to a time dependency, which was forced on us by

Perry Horse

UNC Asheville continues the conversations in 2016-17


Igor Roussanoff, lecturer in drama at UNC Asheville, will bring his exhibition “Costume At The Turn Of The Century 1990-2015” to our campus in August 2016. September starts the Visiting Writer Series, organized by writer-in-residence and UNC Asheville alum, Wiley Cash ’00. National Book finalist Ben Fountain will read first, followed in the fall semester by T. Geronimo Johnson and alum Leigh Ann Henion ’00. Visiting writers for the spring semester include novelist Chinelo Okparanta and poet Camille Dungy. On October 21-22, UNC Asheville hosts “Faith in Literature: A Festival of Contemporary Writers of the Spirit.” The gathering, co-sponsored by Wake Forest University School of Divinity with support from WCQS and Malaprop’s Bookstore, will convene a dozen writers whose work deeply engages—by embracing, complicating, or wrestling with—a faith tradition or spiritual practice. The event will include single-author and multi-author readings, panel discussions, small, guided conversations, and several public interviews conducted by Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author Krista Tippett, including two recordings for her public radio broadcast, On Being. Visit for more details. FA L L 2 0 1 5




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attern aper P P s s e eaml

UNC Asheville, like the city in its name, is known for doing things a little outside the box. Call it an innovation center, a design lab, a fabrication facility or a makerspace, the university will soon have two new spaces to call home and to create new things. These makers resource centers will take students off campus and into their creative careers, and as far as coming out of the box, they may well blow the box away. The first space, which will be a place where people in diverse professions come together to design, test, prototype and create collaboratively, is a nearly 12,000-square-foot facility in the River Arts Makers Place (RAMP) scheduled to open this August. The second space, due to start operations in 2018, is called the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship (CCE) based at The Hive AVL, a property development initiative of The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) in downtown Asheville. Once complete, both facilities will reshape the experience and marketability of students in art, engineering, computer science, new media and other majors.



These new off-campus creative spaces offer students an incredible pathway of experience. They benefit from new, much larger spaces and tools to develop their expertise. Access to collaborators, community networks and entrepreneurial resources ensures their work is refined and improved as they take the future into their own hands. Cross-disciplinary projects in Creative Fabrication and Sculpture taught by professors from several departments this past spring gives a glimpse of what the future holds in these spaces. In this class, Corey Pullium, a junior majoring in mechatronics, partnered with art major Jeb Hedgecock,

also a junior. With two other members, the team created a prosthetic hand using soft robotics. Pulliam created a soft gripper; Hedgecock made sure the design was functional and beautiful. Another team member designed the new product logo. Each team member came to the class with very different points of view, and they not only created a very cool product, they learned about team work, listening and collaboration. “I was looking for an outlet in research for soft robotics and I wanted to combine that with art,” said Pullium. “Working on a small team like this and seeing something through is huge. I know it will help me get a job in this area.” Hedgecock plans to become a freelance sculpture artist. He knows that working with other team members and learning computer technology and engineering are critical to his success. Both students are eager to work in the new facility this fall. The dramatically larger space, new equipment, and opportunity to work alongside professional craft people are all game changers.

UNC Asheville faculty and staff look over plans at RAMP. From left to right: Susan Reiser (new media); Rebecca Bruce (engineering), Matt West (art), Sara Sanders (engineering), Jackson Martin (art), Brent Skidmore (art), Scott Walker (campus operations).

A RAMP TO INNOVATION Located less than a mile or so from campus, the university space (tentatively called STEAM @ RAMP to capture the interdisciplinary convergence of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) will be part of a 100,000-square-foot building shared with creative neighbors, including Cheap Joe’s Art Supply and Astral Designs. Multiple working artist and design studios, and a proposed glass-blowing space will also be onsite. The new facility is funded by a $500,000 grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, an equipment grant of $400,000 from Duke Energy Foundation and $100,000 from North Carolina State University. Sara Sanders ’11 is the university’s engineering lab manager, and an alumna. She returned to campus after working at



The Creative Fabrication and sculpture classes combine art and engineering Students Emily Beall, Ian Arlen (both far left) and Jeb Hedgecock (far right) share stages of the process.

Eaton manufacturing because of the makerspace vision and is thrilled to be an integral part of it.

A CITY CENTER FOR CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP The Center for Creative Entrepreneurship (CCE), a new collaboration between UNC Asheville and The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD), brings students one step closer to those jobs. When CCE launches, it will be the Asheville area’s hub for product incubation, design thinking and creative sector entrepreneurship.

“Our current engineering studio is 1,600 square feet; the new space will be almost 12,000 square feet with a second story computer lab, and a self-contained design/ CCCD was formerly a part of the UNC system, and its prototyping facility,” said Sanders. “In addition to having main focus is to advance the understanding of craft within our 3D printers there, we will have a CNC plasma cutter, table router, mill, lathe, laser cutter, water jet and engraver.” higher education. Housed in the former Lark Books facility in downtown Asheville, the beautiful, eclectic building includes galleries, event/conference space, small In the RAMP space, students will create designs using the offices and co-working spaces. The vision for the CCCDnew equipment. Assembly will occur in a specialized area owned facility is to serve as a shared regional hub for that includes work benches on wheels, giving students the academic institutions, creative organizations, makers and ability to configure the benches the way they need them. entrepreneurs. Programs for the CCE will be supported by “Our capacity will increase exponentially due to the the additional project partner Mountain BizWorks. equipment quantity and quality and amount of space. And UNC Asheville also received an initial grant of $716,500 the payoff will be higher, with better student outcomes and experiences, and higher-caliber projects,” said Sanders. from the Windgate Charitable Foundation. The threeyear investment includes funding for pilot programming, “The end result is that all our students, regardless of their operational support, and facility improvements. major, will be even more qualified for good-paying jobs.”



nretta P repa P ssel





Alumni are welcome in this space; it may help ease the transition for graduating seniors. For others, the CCE can be a place to refresh skills and learn new technologies. It will also offer connections to accountants, lawyers, financial lenders and marketers and other professionals who support makers.

Brent Skidmore is assistant professor of art and art history and one of the driving forces behind STEAM at the RAMP and CCE. An accomplished artist and woodworker, innovator and networker, he is immersed in the Asheville creative community. He’s nurtured the vision for these initiatives for nearly a decade. “It all started with a dire need for a physical plant,” he recalled. “I began to meet people at RAMP and talk to other departments who also had a collaborative vision, and then we received three generous grants.” “The facility and equipment will provide a great start-up environment where students can develop prototypes and portfolios,” said Skidmore. “And the synergy, professional connections and collaborations give them a great advantage, helping them better define career and life choices.”

Fully realized, it will build upon CCCD’s national name and success among the craft community and add another level to UNC Asheville’s leadership in the area’s innovation economy and undergraduate research. “We needed a programmatic element, a hub for the creative community, and our partnership with UNC Asheville is a perfect fit,” said Stephanie Moore, executive director of CCCD. “Our programming will meet the entrepreneurial needs of the maker community, including studio and production makers from pre-professional to professional. The programming will be offered at reasonable costs to the arts community, and students will attend for free, rubbing elbows with their future selves.” 4




THE COLLIDER NEMAC at the Intersection of Information and Innovation UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) has a new location, both in the heart of Asheville’s hub of climate and weather agencies and on the edge of the next wave of data innovation. At the core of NEMAC’s mission is access to a vast quantity of digital climate and weather information gathered by the federal government’s chief climate agency, headquartered in Asheville’s downtown federal building complex. But NEMAC’s competitive advantage in a growing industry built around climate data is their proximity to experts. A distance, in fact, that can be measured in footsteps. In March 2016, NEMAC moved into a new downtown office space and joined a contingent of enterprises focused on the commercialization of climate data at The Collider—a nonprofit venture that provides physical space for innovation and collaboration around products and services dedicated to adapting to climate change. “I tell people the real power of NEMAC is the synergy between our skill sets. Climate data by itself is not useful; it’s the people with the expertise to discover what the data means and the ability to visualize it so people can understand it,” said Jim Fox, NEMAC’s director since 2005.

“I think we’re right on the cusp of a growth spurt in this industry. People are beginning to understand the probability of really large losses due to the climate changing.” —Jim Fox Fox was among more than 200 people on hand for the grand opening of The Collider on the top floor of the Wells Fargo building, overlooking Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville. The venture may bring to the mountains a share of the estimated $1 trillion industry centered on climate change innovation and resilience, which NEMAC will play a crucial role.



By Jack Igelman

Innovation in the Making The Collider is the brainchild of Mack Pearsall, a North Carolina entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist who became interested in understanding more about rising sea levels a decade ago. “I got to see more broadly and unmistakably the risk and clear and present danger of climate change,” said Pearsall who describes The Collider as a public-private sector partnership to create a platform to develop “products and services to address climate change adaptation.” The space opened on his birthday. “The timing could not be better to have The Collider create a space for collaboration,” said Tim Owen, chief of the Information Services Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Weather and Climate in Asheville. NOAA’s collection is the world’s largest archive of climate and weather data and includes more than 20 petabytes of data. It’s also one of the reasons The Collider chose Asheville. Among NEMAC’s fellow tenants at The Collider are Acclimatise, one of Europe’s leading climate services companies, and FernLeaf Interactive, a homegrown business launched by UNC Asheville alumnus and former NEMAC intern Jeff Hicks ’08.

Expertise For Public and Private Ventures A Roxboro, N.C. native, Hicks was drawn to UNC Asheville to follow a path in electronic music, but eventually steered his studies towards biological sciences and landed in a geographic information systems (GIS) course. He was hooked. “For me GIS was the perfect intersection of technology and the environment,” said Hicks. His technical skill set was a useful match for NEMAC’s internship program, and in 2006 Hicks was crunching data on a wide range of projects. After graduating in 2008


Hicks stayed on and eventually launched a new venture to capitalize on skills gathered on the job with NEMAC. Among the projects to which Hicks contributed was programming for the White House’s U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, developed by NEMAC in partnership with NOAA. The webbased product helps communities, businesses, and governments visualize and prepare for the impacts of climate change. While Fox says that NEMAC’s client base has been predominantly funded by public agencies, both Fox and Hicks recognized a niche applying data-crunching skills to private industry. “Ultimately we’re doing the work for people who need to make decisions with a huge amount of uncertainty,” said Hicks, who credits his liberal arts studies as crucial training in his ability to communicate complex ideas to people with a range of backgrounds. Kim Rhodes, an environmental studies major and a current intern at NEMAC, agrees and said that being able to help people visualize how they may be impacted by climate change and other environmental threats is a valuable skill she credits to UNC Asheville and her experience at NEMAC. “It’s amazing how well my classes have clicked, and it’s been interesting to see just how far my studies can reach by demonstrating and verbalizing the ways people’s lives will be impacted by environmental threats,” she said.

Impact on Agencies and Individuals While NEMAC continues to work on meaningful projects with state and federal government agencies, Fox said the group he leads is on the radar of the commercial sector which will likely play a bigger role in their business model as funds from state and federal governments dwindle. And that’s just it: The Collider is a space to help match the range of skills and expertise to develop a fledgling industry around climate resilience—the ability to respond and adapt to climate change. NEMAC is the cornerstone. “They are a key driver in bringing the public and private sector together and providing an academic culture to understand and provide solutions to global climate challenges,” said Collider CEO Bill Dean. “I think we’re right on the cusp of a growth spurt in this industry. People are beginning to understand the probability of really large losses due to the climate changing,” Fox said. “That’s the story all over: people are starting to see pressures on what they once saw as normal. There is a marked increase in science and technical jobs here in Asheville. At the end of every day I go home and feel like I’m making a difference. If I can provide tools and ways for making a more resilient society, what better career is there than that?”

For more information, visit

Jim Fox points out the new space to UNC Asheville senior Sarah Gibson, who is a writer for NEMAC. PHOTO BY AMY JESSEE

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During two exciting weeks, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams won Big South Championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The hometown crowd had a frontrow seat for the women’s games, as the campus hosted the conference championship March 10-13, 2016.



What makes a championship season? From coaches and players, to the parents and alumni cheering in the stands, to the staff who help load the buses and clean the arena seats—it’s all hands and hearts in for the team.

Practice makes perfect for Rocky, the Cheer and Dance Team, and the Reuter Center Singers. (Opposite Page) Sign1 puts the finishing touches on the floor the night before the first game.



Drumming up business is the role of Hannah Francisco ’19 in the ticket booth, Seth Stewart in the video room, Logan Pressley ’16 and Adam Puett on the floor and (Opposite Page) Band Director Casey Coppenbarger.



I would want announcers, fans, anybody in the crowd to know that the Asheville Bulldogs came to play and that regardless of the score, we are going to stay together, we are going to play with a heck of a lot of effort, we are going to be the first ones on the ground, we’re going to have a positive attitude, our bench energy is going to be insane, all of the things that got us to this point and that people have noticed and what makes us special—a lot of people have told us that we are a very special team and that’s because of everything they see in us from our love for each other, for our support, and for our staying together. —Senior Guard Paige Love



Whether you were cheering in the stands or working behind the scenes as a tournament volunteer, you were probably on the edge of your seat. Thanks to all! —Chancellor Mary K. Grant



The game plan is clear—play your hearts out, even if your instrument is the trumpet as is the case with Nate Coppenbarger. Then leave it all on the court with Rocky. And of course, celebrate the win with the men’s team joining in!

To see more photos, visit SPRING 2016



ere at UNC Asheville, we’ve known for a long time that our students are changing the world. From volunteering on campus, to serving in the local community, and even

working to help those halfway around the world, our students have been engaged in these important efforts for years. And now, everyone else knows it, too, thanks to a new ranking as the No. 1 “Best School for Making an Impact” by The Princeton Review in its publication, Colleges that

Pay You Back: 2016 Edition.

making an

impact Written by Hannah Epperson ’ 11



Alumna Runda Alamour challenges her students to ask difficult questions and seek out their own answers and inspires them to be leaders. PHOTO BY DAVID ALLEN ’13

Alumna Alyssa Newlon cheers with students in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. PHOTO BY SHARAT GOSWAMI

So, what does “making an impact,” mean, exactly? The ranking calculates that

Fellow Campus Compact award-winner Runda Alamour ’16, who was named a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow, takes service into the community through teaching. As a student she served as the state president of the Student North Carolina Association of Educators, helping to build support for public schools. As an English teacher in Buncombe County schools, she empowers students to “be leaders in seeking out answers for themselves,” inspiring the next generation of change-makers.

change on the home front

campus connection

UNC Asheville provides students with many opportunities to make a difference on campus and in the community, and that alumni continue that tradition in their careers after they graduate. It recognizes schools with the best community service opportunities, student governments, sustainability, and on-campus student engagement, as well as graduates with high job meaning, all as told by students and alumni.

Making an impact on the world often begins at home— or the residence halls, as Anja Mayr ’17 discovered when she combined her passion for service learning with her position as a resident assistant in West Ridge. Mayr was honored with the Community Impact Award by North Carolina Campus Compact for her work in creating a Living Learning Community on campus, focused on service learning. “A Living Learning Community is basically a place where a group of students have a common interest and live on one hall together, and they learn together; that could be through workshops, or a class, or a particular major,” Mayr explained. “So LEAD is centered around service learning, social justice and leadership, and we provide learning opportunities around all of those areas.”

For these students, making an impact on their community isn’t just an idea, or an afternoon project. It’s a way of life. It’s also one of several high-impact practices measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which shows that UNC Asheville students report more engagement and satisfaction than their peers. That engagement comes from their classes too, like the Interdisciplinary Studies course that paired students Madison Eddings ’17, a biology major, and Ben Eisdorfer ’17, a management major, to work on the fundamentals of project and business plan development, with guidance from a team of faculty leaders. Seeking to make an impact across campus communities, they developed an idea for wearable technology designed to prevent campus sexual assault, called Pro(TECH)t. The duo went on to win the grand prize from the 2015 UNC Social Entrepreneurship Conference—$3,000 to launch their business idea.

LEAD, which stands for Live, Engage, Act and Develop, consists of 17 first-year students living together on the “We both have seen sexual assault impact people close same hall in West Ridge. In addition to the workshops, to us and it is a topic that deserves more attention programs and community service activities Mayr than it has been given in the past,” said Eddings. “We plans for them as the resident assistant, the students all wanted to help bring it to the spotlight and catalyze attend the same freshman colloquium course together, important conversations that need to be had regarding “Performing Community.” the issue as well as rape culture.”

Since then, Eddings and Eisdorfer have been working “Although I live in a community in which society hard to take their idea from a class project to a working dictates that women return home by 8 p.m. and remain reality. In November of 2015 they won the regional silent about menstruation, I am awed by the tenacity InnovateHER Challenge, conducted by the federal Small of the young women I work with through the Girl Icon Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Program who speak out against the norms and take Ownership, where they were the only student team their rightful places in society,” Newlon said. “To see among the 12 regional finalists. In March 2016 they the change that they can make within their communiwere at it again, taking third place in the Entrepreneur ties is by far the most rewarding part of my job.” Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, making them one of the top three student entrepreneurs in the nation. Each award brings them a step closer to the training, funding and publicity they’ll need to The Princeton Review isn’t alone in recognizing the make their idea a success and to continue making an many ways members of the UNC Asheville commuimportant impact on college campuses. nity change the world. Both the Peace Corps and the Fulbright Program have also included UNC Asheville in their rankings for the first time this year.

above and beyond

global impact

You don’t have to look far to find UNC Asheville students and alumni making a difference—or, you could look half way around the world, where alumna Alyssa Newlon ’12 is working in India to bring educational opportunities to girls and rural youth. She spends most of her days in the bustling, hot metropolis of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, serving as the co-founder for the Milaan Foundation. “In a state like Uttar Pradesh, education provides opportunities for women to transcend barriers, explore themselves and live a life of independence with dignity,” Newlon said. She wanted to be a part of making that happen. She now works with students and Girl Icon fellows—girls who have been recognized for their commitment to their education and to their communities—and school staff to document and share their voices with the larger world. Newlon has found one of the greatest ways she can make an impact is by empowering the students she works with.

Students and social entrepreneurs Ben Eisdorfer and Madison Eddings work together on their award-winning business idea. PHOTO BY DAVID ALLEN ’13

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced that UNC Asheville is among the U.S. colleges and universities with the highest number of Fulbright Scholars in 2015-16. Fulbright Scholars at UNC Asheville include not only students, but also faculty and staff members. And in February the Peace Corps ranked UNC Asheville as one of the top-producing colleges for alumni now serving as volunteers in the organization. On campus, in the community and around the world, members of UNC Asheville’s community will continue using the education and opportunities the university offers to make a lasting and meaningful impact in the world around them. 4


COMMUNITY RECIPE Partnership Connects Sustainability and Food Justice What if the key to a healthier environment and community was just a collection of small steps and individual actions that add up? For the past school year, UNC Asheville has been turning this hypothetical into a reality, one cup and one plate at a time. In the fall of 2015, The Student Environmental Center (SEC) launched its “AsheFILL it Up” program, featuring reusable plastic Cupanion cups with a barcode that offers 15 percent off of any drink purchase, plus 15 cents donated to Food Connection, a local nonprofit. These are just some steps that represent a movement toward being more environmentally conscious, says SEC member Matthew “Lee” Fussell. “Being environmental is getting every little succulent drop out of whatever you’re using so that you’re not wasting it,” the 20-year-old environmental science major says. “That’s just it, it’s waste.” And Fussell doesn’t waste much. While previously living off-campus,

By Kari Barrows ’16

he says he would buy his groceries in bulk in order to prepare every meal for the week. He says he uses as little air conditioning and central heating as possible and often showers with the lights off. Having a reusable cup, like the Cupanion that UNC Asheville implemented, certainly helps with limiting what he wastes. Laura Sexton, the registered dietician for dining services on campus, says the university had an opportunity to donate to any organization, so they chose Food Connection, which brings leftover foods from restaurants and businesses to soup kitchens and other food distributors. “Our students actually wanted to see a local organization,” Sexton says. “And Food Connection just fit really nicely into that picture.” It made sense to tie the two together, and since the program launched UNC Asheville has used 2,796 single use cups with one point for every barcode scanned. Cupanion members have 50,883 single cup uses overall.

In honor of Food Day in October, faculty and students worked in shifts at the Sherrill Center Teaching Kitchen to cook 500 healthy meals which Food Connection delivered to agencies serving the needy.





Partnership Distributes Food to the Community At the beginning of the school year, it also made sense to make some changes toward food recovery. UNC Asheville began its partnership with Food Connection with a bang, recovering about 100 pounds of prepared, leftover food a day from the dining hall. During the fall semester, both the Installation of Chancellor Mary K. Grant on Sep. 19 and Food Day on Oct. 23 contributed a large amount to Food Connection. Food Day was the creation of both Sexton and Amy Lanou, chair of the Health and Wellness Department, who suggested a cook-o-thon that would involve faculty, staff and students. “A lot of people who came into the kitchen to cook, it was some of their first experiences with food preparation,” Sexton says with a smile. “So it was an educational experience and also just this awareness experience that we really wanted to bring to campus. It was just so successful and all of the recipients loved the food.” The team was able to prepare over 500 plant-based meals in 10 hours. Some participants such as first-year student Juliet Flam-Ross were able to work directly with Food Connection through their classes. She says her LANG 120 course, “Food Matters,” which dealt with food stability in the local area, had to have 15 hours of community service. Flam-Ross worked directly with Flori Pate, co-founder of Food Connection, learning the process on how to transport food from Brown Hall, then she eventually trained others on this process as well.

Food Recovery Starts in the Kitchen UNC Asheville alumni have a hand in the donations too, all the way back to the ingredients, with dining services executive chef Alex Williams taking the lead. He says he and Sexton work closely together in order to “move the needle forward in terms of sustainability.” Williams’ responsibilities include menu development, sanitation safety, and overall operation, which means putting the food into correct storage bins, labeling it, and preparing it for transportation. He oversees all of this and says it’s been a great alternative to composting all excess food. “This has been a good thing because it’s kind of met in the middle of, ‘We can no longer use it, but someone else can,’” Williams says. “So, it’s kind of bridged that gap.” So far, Food Connection has recovered over 20,000 meals since its founding. As of May 2016, UNC Asheville has contributed more than 12,000 meals. While numbers like these may seem extraordinary, sophomore Fussell says creating an impact on the community and environment is all about taking one simple step at a time. “It’s just being a more accountable person, which is actually the hardest thing about it,” Fussell says. “It’s just taking out the recycling, taking out the trash. The world doesn’t really need heroes.”

PARTNERING FOR SUSTAINABILITY Use of bar-coded cups sends 15 cents to Food Connection

Food Connection delivers meals to the community




IN GOOD COMPANY Biltmore Farms Rolls Out the Bulldog Blue for Campus Guests “It’s a win-win,” says Ronald Storto, vice president of hospitality for Biltmore Farms, UNC Asheville’s preferred partner for accommodations in Asheville. “Our brands align. Our missions align. We both want to drive economic impact and quality of life to the community as a whole.” The partnership started more than a decade ago, when Storto and UNC Asheville Athletics Director Janet Cone met to bounce around ideas. Both had the same goal in mind—developing a partnership that would bring hotel stays to Asheville and Bulldog supporters to campus. For every stay in one of the Biltmore Farms hotels—DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park, and Residence Inn Biltmore—money goes back to the UNC Asheville Athletics Department in the form of scholarships. Storto estimates that the company has given at least $275,000 over the more than decade-long partnership, along with a $15,000 contribution over the last three years for a baseball capital project. They’ve also partnered with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville, which hosts nationally known workshops that draw crowds to campus a few weekends a year, and they offer complimentary stays to major university speakers and a discounted rate to UNC Asheville friends and family. “UNC Asheville Athletics has enjoyed a long and productive business relationship with Biltmore Farms Hotels for over 12 years,” said Cone. “Equally



important to us, they have built strong relationships with all our Bulldog coaches, student-athletes, staff, alumni, and fans and have invested in our scholarship fund. They are key members of the Bulldog team and are dedicated to helping us become ‘Champions in Athletics and Leaders in Life.’” Storto, a Bulldog season-ticket holder, has met many student-athletes in person, joining them for team breakfasts, finding that, “It gives you a different perspective of what a student-athlete goes through. I’ve gained a greater appreciation about how our university is run and how our coaches engage with student-athletes, helping them and directing them in life.” Biltmore Farms can be a stop on that journey, whether it’s a stay during a first visit to campus or Family Weekend, or an internship, and ultimately a career. UNC Asheville graduate Natalie Shaft ’99, human resources director at Biltmore Farms, knows that path well. A nontraditional student who came to

By Amy Jessee

UNC Asheville for a degree in human resources management several years after earning her associate’s degree, she recalls the classroom experience that connected to her career, including courses in psychology, humanities and management. “When I was a student at UNC Asheville, it was a great learning experience. It gave me an opportunity to share the knowledge I had and to get insights from the more traditional students. We had good discussions about how the workforce should be and what our expectation level is and what really happens,” she said. “The first step is the educational foundation that students get while they are at UNC Asheville, combined with the drive that they have in wanting to do a good job.” Shaft sees that winning combination daily, as several graduates have been employed by the company, and join the team to roll out the Bulldog Blue for UNC Asheville friends and family.


LAST LAPS Senior Swimmers Step Up

AWARDS & HONORS By Nick Phillips

UNC Asheville’s first four-year women’s swimming class, seniors Galen Broido and Alessandra Troncoso, stepped up to the blocks on Jan. 30 for the Bulldogs’ Senior Day. As the first swimmers to compete for four years, Broido and Troncoso competed in the 2016 CCSA Championships, bringing home medals and personal bests. Troncoso achieved a lifetime best in the 100-meter breaststroke earning 5th place and then 7th place in the 200-meter breaststroke. A fellow team captain, Broido became the first Bulldog to earn a spot at the podium by taking 2nd place in the mile and 12th place in the individual medley.

Best of the Year ■■Swimming Head Coach Elizabeth Lykins brought home CCSA honors, earning Co-Coach of the Year in her fourth year as head coach. ■■UNC Asheville junior guard Chatori Major and Bulldogs’ Head Coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick were voted the 2015-16 Big South Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. Coach Kirkpatrick also was named Division I Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year by Hero Sports. ■■Men’s Basketball Head Coach Nick McDevitt was named Big South Coach of the Year by Hoops HD.



The third annual Bulldog Challenge was a huge success, raising nearly $40,000 throughout the month of March, with more than 150 new alumni donating to the Challenge. Of the nearly 250 gifts, 180 came from Asheville alumni. This year’s three winners were Women’s Soccer for the number of overall gifts (47), Men’s Soccer for the total number of alumni gifts (33), and Women’s Swimming for the highest percentage of alumni giving back, with 100 percent participation.


3 TEAMS RECEIVED PUBLIC RECOGNITION FOR ACADEMIC PROGRESS RATE IN THE SPRING: MEN’S TENNIS, WOMEN’S TENNIS AND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL For For the the latest latest news, news, rosters rosters and and schedules schedules for for all all UNC UNC Asheville Asheville Division Division II teams, teams, visit visit




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 visit or send an e-mail to


Nancy Dillingham published a chapbook entitled 1950: Poems . Hester Wheelon recently retired.

1986 Carolyn Williams Alley is now the associate vice president for finance/chief financial officer for Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, N.C.

1986 Kenneth Harris is now working as a senior fiduciary officer with First Citizens Bank.

1987 Charlene Flahiff got married.

1989 Mark Magee married Dana Magee on May 30, 2015, and is now working as a senior business development executive at Capgemini US LLC.



Connie Reynolds and David Reynolds celebrated their 30-year wedding anniversary this year.

1991 Anthony Thomas married Alexandria Bracanovich on Sept. 30, 2015.

1993 Mark Arell was named vice president of learning solutions and chief learning officer for Schneider Electric.

1994 Jennifer Condrey earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

Tara Quinn was named executive director of the Virginia Dental Association Foundation, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to providing access to dental care for the underserved.

Matthew Zidle is now working as an eighth-grade math and science teacher at Gray New Gloucester Middle School.


Angela Bynum is now working as an eighth-grade social studies teacher at CharlotteMecklenburg School.

Duane Robert Hoover and Heather Ward had a baby girl, Allie Grace Hoover, on Jan. 30, 2016. Suzanne Cantando Kirschbaum and Frank Kirschbaum had a baby boy, Asher Kirschbaum, on Oct. 28, 2015.

Jay Jordan is an associate professor in the Department of English and Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah.

Tara McMahan Millspaugh has been named director of worldwide compliance & business ethics for Amgen Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

1996 Shane Ramsey is now a pastor at Mull’s Chapel Baptist Church.


FAMILY HISTORY Mother and Son Share Majors, Maybe

—Karen Shugart ‘99


paths diverge. While he’s interested in Native American


studies, he’s also fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy

UNC ASHEVILLE IN THE 1980S, but Lynne Harlan recalls

period. Eventually, he says, he hopes to earn a doctorate

that professors such as Bruce Greenawalt and Milton

and work in Great Britain on the archeological sites of the

Ready, now retired, encouraged her to explore Cherokee


issues relevant to her coursework. Lynne Harlan has stayed active in the university too, Today, Harlan ’88 credits her time at the university as

now serving on the Parents’ Council, which aims to involve

integral to her career, which has taken her from the

UNC Asheville parents in events and activities that support

Smithsonian to the Bronx to back home to Cherokee,

the university.

where she is public relations officer for the new Cherokee Indian Hospital, which opened in October. It’s the latest

“The Parents’ Council is an important way for parents to

role Harlan has held with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee

develop relationships with the school and stay informed

Indians (EBCI), where she has played integral roles in edu-

about campus activities,” she said. “By helping develop the

cating the public about Cherokee history and preserving

school, parents can shape the university’s impact. We can

the tribe’s cultural legacy.

drive what the community is going to be like in the future,” Harlan said.

Harlan notes that Cherokee and American Indian issues are much more prominent on campus, a development she attributes in part to professors such as Trey Adcock, an assistant professor in the education department and director of American Indian outreach. There’s a Native American Student Association. And, notably, UNC Asheville and the EBCI in May 2015 signed an agreement that will enhance native students’ presence on campus. The university reserves up to 10 admission slots for new EBCI members each semester, granting in-state residence status to the students, whose cost of attendance will be covered by the EBCI. The university also will help students form an American Indian Science and Engineering Society chapter and offer new courses in Cherokee language. “I think UNC Asheville was making a lot of progress before the memorandum of understanding,” Harlan says. “The memorandum kind of solidified that relationship between the university and [the ECBI].” Today, Harlan’s son attends UNC Asheville. A first-year student, Watson says his mom’s history with the school didn’t factor much into his decision to attend. “Not really,” he said. “It was mostly reading about the school and what it’s famous for, and the tuition.” While Watson Harlan hasn’t yet declared a major, he may follow in his mother’s footsteps by choosing history. From there, however, their

Lynne Harlan and her son Watson on campus.




1997 Amy Burnett now works for Arizona Game and Fish in the Phoenix metro area. Richard Reed is now the senior business development manager at CustomWeather.

1998 Hugh Alfonso Harris Jr. and Asekesai Arnette Harris had a baby girl, Nora Belle Harris, on Oct. 15, 2015.

1999 Derek Edwards was chosen for Biltmore Beacon’s 40 Under

Bryant Korzeniewski has been elected to a three-year term as a board member for the Asheville Downtown Association.

Michael Maher is working as an application designer with the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and pursuing his M.S. in computer science at Georgia Tech.

2001 Kim Gaetz is now a public health epidemiologist with the N.C. Division of Public Health in Raleigh.

Amber Reddick married Brian Reddick on Sept. 26, 2015.

Christine Wyman is now senior counsel at the American Gas Association.


2005 Cameron Grace-Jascur got married to Caitlin Jascur.

Judd Ballard , CPA, was promoted to senior manager of state and local tax practice at GBQ Holdings LLC.

Jessica Edwards achieved a full licensure as a professional counselor in Michigan.

Andrew Heath was appointed by Gov. McCrory as North Carolina state budget director.


Christopher McFatter was chosen for Biltmore Beacon’s 40 Under Forty for 2015. Rhiannon and Kyle Musgrove had a baby boy on Oct. 21, 2015.

Andrew James Ponder and Amanda Ponder had a baby boy, Davis Andrew Ponder, on Dec. 21, 2015. Lindsey Roche-Gilliam celebrated the birth of her little girl, Kennedy, on Jan. 28, 2016.

Laura Simmelink married Mark Krauth on Nov. 25, 2015.

Katy Guertin-Davis celebrated the birth of her second child, Graham, on Feb. 21, 2016.

Coraleigh, on March 5, 2016.

Andrew Shearer received an Emmy nomination as the editor/associate producer of UNDRAFTED, a sports documentary for the NFL Network.


private practice and for Mission Hospitals.


Chris Flannagan accepted the position as director of digital technology at Quasar Bio-Tech Inc.

Rebecca McHaley married Patrick Sherren on Sept. 5, 2015.

Marcus Spake.

Forty for 2015.

Kathrine and Steven Green ’01 had a daughter,

Jessica Ruth Ball and Jason Bunn had a baby girl, Lucy Annabella Bunn, on Dec. 27, 2015.

Jodi Knox now works as associate counsel with the Legal Services Department of Cone Health.

Holly Spencer Bunting and Bryan Bunting had a baby boy, Thaddeus Spencer Bunting, on Jan. 21, 2016.

Ryan Southern and Terese Southern ’01 had a baby boy,

Colleen Hannush is working in

Ryan Mills received a promotion at work to environmental specialist within the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality - Division of Air Quality.

Noble William Southern, on Dec. 9, 2015.

2006 Maribeth Kiser got engaged to Edwin Lewis Terrell and Laura Turner had a baby girl, Hadley Kate Turner-Terrell on Dec. 26, 2015.

Amber Saint Claire and Gus York had a baby girl on April 29, 2015.


CLASS OF 2016 34





Matthew Stone was appointed vice mayor of Black Mountain, N.C. on Dec. 14, 2015.

2007 Farrah Lasley and Colin Lasley welcomed a baby girl to their family on Jan. 16, 2016.

Talia Ogle-Stepp gave birth to twin boys, Reid and Levi, on March 11, 2016.

April Punsalan accepted a new

hot new release on Amazon last March and his second book, The Simple Guide to the Jezebel Spirit was released in Feb. 2016.

Sara Mills opened Nourishing Roots Acupuncture & Wellness, a clinic providing acupuncture & Chinese herbs in Asheville.

Ashlei Clodfelter had a baby boy, Preston Sean Brown, on April 16, 2015.

Caroline Blankenship married

Leanna Miller Sharkey

into law school.

Zach Blankenship on Nov. 27, 2015.

married Doug Sharkey on Oct. 11, 2015.

Samuel Paul Maynard and

Lisa Huie is assistant manager


of production doing automation with P&O Cruise Lines in the UK.


position as a botanist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Jennie Burrowes married Randy Cockerell ’11 on July


24, 2015.

Tahda Ahtone is now the project director overseeing legal outreach to eight tribes in Arizona.

Emily Bowers got married to Ethan Bowers in Oct. 2015.

Jacob Brintle earned his M.S. in instructional technology at East Carolina University.

Jonathan Corbin earned his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell University in May 2015. He is a postdoctoral faculty member at the University of Richmond. Catherine Leonard married Jonathan Beall on Oct. 25, 2015.

Christopher and Kaitlyn Nigro ’10 had a baby boy, Bryce Christopher Nigro, on Nov. 29, 2015.

Emily Pomeranz started graduate school at Georgetown University, pursuing a M.A. in professional studies in corporate communications and public relations.

Gregory Thuotte is now working as a financial services representative at the State Employees Credit Union.

2009 Fainn Ball’s first book, The Messianic Haggadah, was a No. 1

Lindsay Carver married

Scott Arico started a Ph.D. program in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisville.

Morgan Brookshire accepted a position at Biltmore Wines Marketing.

Michael Stockman on Oct.17, 2015.

Amy Burke and former

McKenna Dalby and Matthew Dalby were married on Feb. 27,

UNC Asheville Asst. Women’s Basketball Coach Curtis Metten gave birth to a son named Ciaran Landers Burke-Metten on March 23, 2015.


Alexandra Fisher married in November and has launched a wedding and event planning business, Lucky Penny Creative.

Chris Gragtmans recently married Ashley Gragtmans.

Sara Holland is now working as the minister of Christian education at Hingham Congregational Church and is also attending Boston University School of Theology. Gabe Karabell accepted a position as the guitarist for Lumpy & The Dumpers upcoming tour in Australia.

Keith Scruggs married Emily Scruggs, on Nov. 14, 2015.

Brian Smith is the co-owner and chef at Rezaz Modern Mediterranean Restaurant.

Nathaniel Speier was promoted to corporal in the U.S. Army on Oct. 1, 2015.

2011 Katherine Lancaster accepted a position with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as a show marketing manager. She married Carey McKelvey in Nov. 2015.

Matt Chick is now working as a phone banker in commercial accounts at Wells Fargo.

Kristen Englert-Lenz released a new album, The Extent of Play. Caitlin Halloran and Brandon Edwards were married in Weaverville on March 27, 2015. The couple lives in Philadelphia.

Lanie Honeycutt works as the access to care and health program manager at McDowell County Health Coalition.

Ashley Junk graduated nursing school and is currently working as a pediatric registered nurse in Greensboro, N.C.

Beth Porter is now working as the director of Green America’s Better Paper Project.

2013 Abigail Agriesti is now working as an organizer for the Amalgamated Transit Union International Office. Kelsey Cain and Adam Caudill ’12 were married on

Jordan Goodwin was accepted

Katelyn Bradley had a baby boy, Beau Harvey Maynard, on Oct. 27, 2015.

Roberta Neuhausler is now working as the coordinator of the Woman’s Board for The Art Institute of Chicago.

Elizabeth O’Hare married her high school sweetheart, Adam Russo, on Oct. 10, 2015.

Matthew Waissen was chosen for Biltmore Beacon’s 40 Under Forty for 2015.

2014 Kelsey Armbruster recently founded her own yoga company, Innercise Yoga LLC. Melanie Bonds is in the middle of her AmeriCorps VISTA term in Albuquerque, N.M. Kayla Brank is now working as an operations supervisor for the Medication Monitoring Program. Kristin Emery successfully passed the American Society for Clinical Pathology test to become a certified technologist.

Collin Suttles founded and is managing Brown Mountain Bottleworks in Morganton, N.C. Andrea Wheeler had a baby girl on Feb. 16, 2016.

2015 Hannah Rohed is working for Family Help and Wellness as the digital marketing coordinator.

Harper Spires will be joining Western Carolina University’s Master of Public Administration program in the fall of 2017.

March 12, 2016.




CHASING DREAMS Former Track Athletes Make Runs for the Olympics

—Phil Latter ‘04


runners battled sustained temperatures over 85 degrees with

(Pearson) DeRatt ’11, a native of Sheffield, England, sprints

no shade on the wide city streets.

for five seconds at maximal velocity before hopping into the back of a 300-pound bobsled. Hurtling down an icy chute,

“The sad thing about the race was it tested your mental

DeRatt approaches speeds of 90 miles per hour—roughly

toughness more than all the training you did because of the

80 miles per hour faster than Greensboro-native Loring

heat,” says Crowley, who managed a 2:53:53 in L.A., well off

(Watkins) Crowley ’05 hits while racing in major marathons

her personal best of 2:40:57. “At some point you’re not really

all across the country.

racing, you’re just trying to finish and enjoy it, even though you’re pretty miserable.”

What both former UNC Asheville track and field athletes share in common makes the connection clearer—they both are chasing Olympic dreams.

Despite the conditions, getting to compete against America’s best distance runners with three Olympic spots on the line was well worth it. A miler and 5K runner in college, Crowley has

For Crowley, the biggest race of her life has already taken

worked with a Colorado-based marathon coach the last three

place. In a field of 200 qualifiers, Crowley battled excruciating

years to bring structure to her 70-to-80 mile training weeks.

conditions to place 94th at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in

She fits her training around her job as a project engineer for

February. Held in Los Angeles during a freak heat wave, the

Schnabel Engineering. If that sounds like a heavy load, it’s nothing new to Crowley.

“It probably all started in college with learning to manage my time well and being efficient. ” —Loring Crowley ’05




Natalie DeRatt trained on campus for bobsled trials around the world.

“It probably all started in college with learning to manage my time well and being efficient,” she says. “The time you’re

Doing more is a challenge in the United States, where no yearround ice tracks exist. To stay ready for the winter racing sea-

putting in—be it work, running, whatever else—you’re making

son, DeRatt puts in 16-to-20 hours of training each week, much

the most out of it and planning really well. That’s the key to

of it is on the same UNC Asheville track where she became a

being able to enjoy it and not just cramming it in. And I love

world-class athlete, only now the emphasis is on even greater

marathon training, crazy as that sounds.”

raw speed and power.

While Crowley slowly moved her way up in distance, DeRatt

“I haven’t run over 120 meters [hard] in three years,” she says

found an entirely new sport. As a runner she was a two-time

with a laugh. “Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating because I’m

NCAA Championships qualifier and former Big South

not running very far. Then I remember I’m only competing for

Conference Athlete of the Year, DeRatt reached her peak when

five seconds.”

she participated in the British Olympic trials in 2008 and 2012. Both bids came up short, and after 10 years of training at a

In her first few years in the sport, DeRatt trained as a brakeman.

national-class level, DeRatt felt physically and emotionally

A permanent resident of the United States, DeRatt was told

burned out. Her time in athletics appeared over until her

her chances of making the U.S. Winter Olympic team were

college sprint coach, Brad DeWeese, made a wild suggestion—

higher as a pilot. For the first time this year she’ll learn to drive

why not try the bobsled? One year later, DeRatt held a silver

a sled with an eye on qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics

medal in her hand at the 2014 Lake Placid World Cup.

in Pyeongchang, South Korea. DeRatt trusts her abilities. Even if they don’t fulfill an Olympic dream, the sport has imparted

“It’s been a wild ride, about as far away from summer racing

some wisdom.

on the track as you can get,” DeRatt says. “Track might be my first love, but bobsled is a fun game to me. It’s kind of like a

“Bobsled definitely teaches you patience,” she says. “There are

roller coaster with the adrenaline you get. It hooks you. You

a lot of things that can go wrong. You just sort of go into sur-

want to do more.”

vival mode. You can’t really control what happens. You make it down to the bottom one way or another.”



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Spring Commencement UNC Asheville’s newest graduates shared a few parting thoughts on their caps at the Spring 2016 Commencement. The outdoor ceremony on the Quad topped off a week of celebration and honors, with family, friends, faculty and staff congratulating the Bulldogs on their success and next steps. (Photo by Peter Lorenz) 38


UNC Asheville Magazine Spring 2016  
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