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Volume 10, No. 2 SPRING 2018


Makers’ Space Engineering, art, drama, and new media students collaborate under the guidance of world-renowned artist Mel Chin


A Liberal Arts Look at Appalachia Centers of Attention

contents 8

STEAM Studio to Times Square World-renowned artist Mel Chin works with UNC Asheville students on a project bound for New York City this summer. (Photo by Adam Taylor)



A Liberal Arts Look at Appalachia Place-based research and practice


Centers of Attention Service learning that lasts a lifetime


90 Years of Alumni Decades of distinction for UNC Asheville alumni



28 30 32 40


ON THE COVER: A toolbox tour from STEAM Studio.

(Photo by Adam Taylor)



Joseph R. Urgo




Karin Peterson CHIEF OF STAFF

Shannon Earle

It starts in our classrooms and studios,


where our collaborative approach

William K. Haggard

brings to life the vision of conceptual


John Pierce

artist Mel Chin, who has been work-


ing on campus as our Black Mountain

Carla S. Willis

College Legacy Fellow since the fall


to create a multidimensional exhibit

Janet Cone

in New York City this summer. Our new media students helped


him prototype elements of a mixed reality project, while our engi-

Clifton Williams

neering, art, and drama students collaborated on a commissioned


sculptural piece to be displayed prominently in Times Square. At

Sarah Broberg

22 feet tall, their Jenny Lind figurehead and accompanying sculp-


ture evoking a shipwreck will be a combined work of art and

Darin Waters


Amy Jessee

engineering, as it breathes, moves, and makes visitors question the City’s complex history and sustainable future. These creative collaborations are typical of what we do when we deliver a liberal arts education at UNC Asheville.


Hannah Epperson ’11 MLAS ’18

Our work stays vital through faculty research, student projects,


and alumni careers. In this edition of UNC Asheville Magazine

Hanna Trussler ’13 PROJECT MANAGER

we take a local focus, and look at Appalachia through multiple

Susan Lippold

perspectives and approaches. We also connect to our local


community through our centers, institutes, initiatives and

Casey Hulme ’05, Mary Ann Lawrence CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Emma Anderson ’16, Kari Barrows ’17, Aaron Dahlstrom ’09, Hannah Epperson ’11 MLAS ’18, Brian Hand, Scottie Hill ’18, Casey Hulme ’05, Karrigan Monk ’18, Steve Plever, Colin Reeve CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Brian Black ’18, Aaron Dahlstrom ’09, Adrian Etheridge ‘15, Peter Lorenz, Colby Rabon, Adam Taylor

partnerships, from our youngest mathematicians to our active lifelong learners, and the university is a proven economic driver in the region. Read more in our economic impact report, which finds that UNC Asheville makes an annual impact of almost half a billion dollars.

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 also have an individual impact, as our campus continues to


summer we’ll launch into our second year of a summer school


program that strives for college completion, with students offered

Elizabeth Saxman Underwood ’01

lead the state and serve as a model for the UNC System. This

cost-free classes of four to eight credits in the core curriculum.

Address Changes

By encouraging degree completion in four years, we are saving

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

students and tax payers the costs of an added semester and giving

UNC Asheville enrolls more than 3,800 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.

We want to hear from you about these next steps as you

students the opportunity to start their careers or graduate school.

make history of your own. Share your class note or news with, and let us know how UNC Asheville has made an impact in your life.

To make a report to the university, contact the Title IX Office at 828-258-7872 or visit or Highsmith Union 103. © UNC Asheville, May 2018 33,000 copies of this magazine were printed at a cost of $15,399 or 47 cents each.

Joe Urgo Interim Chancellor



UNC Asheville’s Total Economic Impact

450 million


HALF A BILLION UNC Asheville’s Economic Impact on the Region

UNC Asheville, an academic anchor institution and one of the top 20 employers in the Asheville area, raised local economic output by almost half a billion dollars in fiscal year 2017, according to an economic impact study conducted by Tom Tveidt of SYNEVA Economics LLC. “It is clear that UNC Asheville is an engine of economic growth within the region. While it is impossible to put a value on the cultural impact of the institution, the students and wide scope of events held on campus reinforce the critical role the university plays in the creative economy. UNC Asheville’s regional impact is multifaceted, vibrant, sustainable, and diverse, further solidifying its status as the academic, athletic, cultural, economic, and social hub of the region,” said Tveidt in the report. The 2017 study finds that economic activity generated by UNC Asheville also supports 3,911 local jobs and adds $164.6 million in local income within the four-county metropolitan area of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Madison. The university increases annual tax revenues by more than $62.4 million dollars. “This report quantifies many aspects of our work and exemplifies how a liberal arts education impacts the local community, from the capital projects being constructed on campus to the daily conversations and collaborations happening in our studios, classrooms and labs. Asheville’s university is a regional powerhouse, creating jobs, educating citizens, attracting visitors to the area, and in many cases, giving visitors a great reason to stay, while contributing to the creative economy of our state and region,” said Interim Chancellor Joe Urgo.

Categories of impact include:



• Campus Operations of $278 million

• Student Spending of $44.3 million

• Alumni Education Premium of $96.1 million accounting for the value of spending by the more than 7,000 alumni in the area, who have increased earnings due to their postsecondary degrees

• Outside Visitor Spending of $15.3 million • Annual New Resident Attraction of $9.4 million • On-campus Capital Spending of $7 million in fiscal year 2017


IMPACT IN NUMBERS $79 Million in Capital Projects UNC Asheville is planning to invest more than $79 million in capital projects beginning in the 2017 fiscal year through 2021.

UNC Asheville Again Tops The Princeton Review List UNC Asheville has once again earned top marks in The Princeton Review’s Colleges that Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck. The 2018 edition ranks UNC Asheville No. 2 nationally among the Top 25 Best Schools for Making an Impact. These 25 schools were selected based on student ratings and responses to survey questions covering community service opportunities at their school, student government, sustainability efforts, and on-campus student engagement.

Educational Agreement Enhances Research and Resources PHOTO COURTESY OF USET

$16.6 Million Contributed by Athletics Of this total, $14.3 million is attributed to UNC Asheville Athletics Campus Operations with $2.3 million from outside visitors.

$12.6 Million Contributed by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) With over 2,500 members, OLLI is recognized as one of the largest and most innovative lifelong learning programs for older adults. The total impact of OLLI includes $2.8 million from OLLI operations and $9.4 million from annual new resident attraction.

100,000+ Volunteer Hours Annually UNC Asheville's campus community contributed over 100,000 volunteer hours annually, representing significant civic engagement.

In a signing ceremony in January, United South and Eastern Tribes Inc. (USET) and UNC Asheville agreed to collaborate on an education initiative that will offer undergraduate opportunities at one of the nation’s top public liberal arts universities, while enhancing cultural research and resources across the southern and eastern United States. USET and UNC Asheville will jointly develop programming and research projects for UNC Asheville faculty and students in areas such as economic development, environmental sustainability, health and wellness, and language revitalization, along with other Tribal sovereignty initiatives. The initiatives will enrich both the UNC Asheville campus and the broader Asheville community. Some of these Native American initiatives include programming in the arts, crafts, dance, storytelling, Tribal governance, and issues related to Tribal sovereignty and U.S. federal relations. Beginning August 2018, UNC Asheville also will set aside 20 enrollment slots for enrolled citizens of USET member Tribal Nations for the fall semester.




FOOD FOR THOUGHT Grant Funding for Community Initiatives

The Pi Run, hosted by the Asheville Initiative for Math, and racing into its second year, received transportation funding from the Gannett Foundation through the Asheville Citizen-Times.


UNC Asheville received a $7,500 grant from the Walnut Cove Members Association, presented by Donna Bailey and Liz Saylor on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. The grant, written by UNC Asheville Director of Sustainability Sonia Marcus, was awarded as part of the Healthy Campus Initiative—initiated through a partnership with Mission Health dedicated to improving the health of students, faculty and staff.

Donna Bailey and Liz Saylor of the Walnut Cove Members Association present the grant to UNC Asheville students and staff on the food security project team in February.

Campus has renewed energy and enthusiasm for electric vehicle charging stations, thanks to a grant from Duke Energy. Awarded in 2016 to UNC Asheville’s Department of Public Safety, the grant added two charging

stations at UNC Asheville, free to users. The statewide project aims to increase EV charging stations by 30 percent.

BACK ON TRACK Summer School Leads to Student Success PHOTO BY PETER LORENZ

UNC Asheville has received two years of grant funding to offer cost-free core curriculum classes to upper-level students who need four to eight credits to get back on track for graduation. The pilot program, supported by a $31,500 award from the UNC System helped 23 students in 2017—19 of those have applied for May 2018 graduation, avoiding an extra semester of expenses. As part of the UNC System’s Actualizing Innovations Meant to Scale (AIMS) grants, the program also provided valuable insight into how it might be applied to future summer semesters through the addition of other core courses, to specific populations such as rural and low-income students, and to more students through price-point incentives. Scaling up has also attained additional grant funding from the UNC System to implement a second year of the summer program.

For more information, contact the OneStop Office at



The First to Finish program starts this summer 2018, with a grant of $95,000 from the UNC System. It will benefit approximately 100 students from UNC Asheville’s AVID, SOAR, and JumpStart Programs.




May 2018 Commencement Celebrations

UNC Asheville Named Tree Campus/Bee Campus

UNC Asheville’s Spring Commencement recognizes William J. Murdock, co-founder and CEO of Eblen Charities, who also serves as this year’s commencement speaker, along with Etta Whitner Patterson, a civil rights activist and former student of UNC Asheville’s predecessor institution, Asheville-Biltmore College; and S. Tucker Cooke, professor emeritus of art at UNC Asheville. As honorary degree recipients, each individual is recognized for their service to campus, community, and the state.

UNC Asheville has attained Tree Campus status from the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. The certification comes as the result of meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. PHOTOS BY ADAM TAYLOR

William J. Murdock William J. Murdock, a resident of Western North Carolina since childhood, is the co-founder and CEO of Eblen Charities and the Eblen Center for Social Enterprise, an award-winning organization dedicated to helping families with medical and emergency assistance.

Etta Whitner Patterson Etta Whitner Patterson was born and raised in Asheville’s historic “East End” neighborhood, served as president of ASCORE, the Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality, and in the fall of 1961, became the first black student admitted to AshevilleBiltmore College, UNC Asheville’s predecessor institution.

S. Tucker Cooke

The campus celebrated the newest title on the bi-annual campus service day during spring Greenfest and announced its renewed certification as the eighth Bee Campus USA.

S. Tucker Cooke joined the art faculty of Asheville-Biltmore College in 1966. During his four decades at the university—including more than 30 years as department chair— he was instrumental in expanding the art department in both size and reputation.

Watch the Spring Commencement online at




FACULTY FULBRIGHT Making a Difference a World Away While Close To Home

By Karrigan Monk ’18

Tiece Ruffin, associate professor of education, knew she wanted to spend her life working in special education before she even finished high school. It was a journey that started early in her childhood, and has led her around the world to her 2017-18 residence in Ghana where she is fulfilling her Fulbright Scholarship. Ruffin’s exposure to special education needs started early. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ruffin grew up across from Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Her family and neighbors included individuals with varying intellectual disabilities. Then, at the age of 10, Ruffin was injured in a drive-by shooting. The experience left her without the ability to walk, a process she had to take time to re-learn. The first in her family to go to college, Ruffin said her experiences as a survivor of gun violence and first-generation college student helped to shape the work she wanted to do in her life. “I knew at the age of 17,” Ruffin said. “I knew I wanted to be a special ed teacher. I wanted to be teaching and working with kids that had differences in ability.” After graduating from Ohio University, Ruffin taught in Ohio as a high school special education teacher for a year. She then moved to Honolulu, Hawaii where she worked as an inclusion special education teacher. During the summer, she taught at a youth correctional facility. She also worked as a home hospital instructor during her time in Hawaii. “I remember vividly working with one kid who had leukemia,” Ruffin said. “I would go to his home to work with him on his studies and I would also go to the children’s hospital and work with him, sometimes right after chemotherapy. It just gave me this perspective on what it means to be not only an educator, but really a special educator.” Ruffin moved back to her hometown to work in the D.C. public school system as a special education administrator before relocating to North Carolina to first teach at North Carolina



Tiece Ruffin, associate professor of education, and Agya Boakye-Boaten, associate professor of Africana Studies, with the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson.

Agricultural and Technical State University and finally arriving at UNC Asheville in 2010. She’s offered classes in teaching and learning in the 21st century, teaching students with instructional differentiation, introduction to special education, and teaching students with diverse needs in the general education classroom—a class offered to all teacher licensure students at UNC Asheville. Struck by her visits to Ghana, starting in 2003, and that nation’s interest in providing for people with a variety of abilities, Ruffin began applying for a Fulbright Scholarship in 2016. She received the prestigious award in 2017. “My process was thinking about the notion that I wanted to have an international exchange opportunity,” she said. “I wanted it to be in a place where I had been before and I was informed of what was actually going on on the ground.” While in Ghana as a Fulbright Scholar, Ruffin said she focuses on four main categories of work: teaching, mentoring, research, and community outreach. Ruffin teaches two courses a semester, one undergraduate and one master’s level, both focusing on special education. She’s also mentoring three female doctorate students, an initiative stemming from her host university,


and she’s served as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator in several school districts.

inspiration from workshops offered and individuals that she’s worked with in Ghana.

As a research scholar, Ruffin observes inclusive classrooms and interviews the teachers who work in them to gain an understanding of how new inclusive education policies are actually faring in the classroom. She’s also met and engaged with national and regional leaders in special education.

“The most rewarding has been in the classroom with the students, just sharing some readings from a variety of sources from different models from my own cultural context, and then

She also has been awarded an additional grant by the Fulbright Program, the Africa Regional Travel Program, which will allow her to travel to Malawi to engage with universities there on issues of inclusive education. “I’d like to have a deep understanding and insight into how this implementation is faring for them, particularly for teachers in the classroom,” Ruffin said. “That’s what I do at UNC Asheville. I prepare our general ed teachers in a course for working in inclusive classrooms, and I also work with our special ed teachers in a course for working in inclusive classrooms.” Ruffin says her Fulbright experience in Ghana has strengthened her global knowledge of special education, and enhanced her intercultural and global competence. And she’s drawing

“When we’re talking about something and we have those ‘aha’ moments where we both learn from each other, those are the best,” said Tiece Ruffin. “When we learn from each other in class it’s so enriching to me.“ also hearing their models or context of special ed. When we’re talking about something and we have those ‘aha’ moments where we both learn from each other, those are the best,” Ruffin said. “I wanted it to be mutually beneficial. When we learn from each other in class it’s so enriching to me.”

Ruffin with students from the Nature and Needs of Students with Intellectual Disabilities class, during an educational visit and experiential learning trip to Dzorwulu Special School in Ghana.

Learn more about UNC Asheville’s department of education at SPRING 2018


Jenny Lind figurehead carved by UNC Asheville art student Jeb Hedgecock.





Buckminster Fuller, Black Mountain College’s most famous innovator, once proposed enclosing Midtown Manhattan under one of his geodesic domes to reduce energy use and pollution. Obviously, that didn’t happen. But this July, Mel Chin and the UNC Asheville students he has worked with as the university’s Black Mountain College (BMC) Legacy Fellow, are going to transform Times Square. In the heart of New York City where so many BMC luminaries came to fame and very much in the BMC tradition, Chin will unveil a surreal public art installation raising the specter of rising sea levels. He won’t use actual water, but instead a giant animatronic sculpture called Wake, constructed by mechatronics engineering students, faculty, community artists, Chin’s studio team, in collaboration with art and drama students in UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio. Wake will be paired with a spectacular mixed reality artwork called Unmoored, with elements prototyped by new media students and produced by Chin in collaboration with Microsoft.

When the exhibition opens on July 11 in Times Square, it will be an important step for Chin, a long-established conceptual artist whose four decades of creations are represented in a companion exhibition also on view in New York this spring and summer at the Queens Museum. And for UNC Asheville, the installation will be the Broadway debut of something students have worked on since last August. “If this project comes about, and we already know the directive that failure is not an option, it will be because of the UNCA team, which has been doing a tremendous amount of detail work that shows how it’s supposed to be done,” said Chin. “When you’re doing things that move and that are big for a showcase like Times Square, you have to take a great level of interest and focus. A lot of people will roll through during the time this will be up—more than 300,000 people a day.” Wake will be a ship skeleton modeled on the famed 19th century ship, the Nightingale, taking up a footprint of some 53 feet in length and 32 feet in width, and like the original historic ship, it will carry a giant figurehead of the 19th century opera star and celebrity Jenny Lind, who was known as the “Swedish Nightingale.” Thanks to the team of seven mechatronics students working with Chin and with art major Jeb Hedgecock ’19, another senior who is the Black Mountain College Legacy Intern, the new 22-foot-long “Jenny” (the STEAM Studio team is now on a first-name basis with this diva of the past) will move and even breathe while protruding from the ship’s skeleton at 45-degree angle.



The Challenges “I’ve been to Times Square exactly where Wake is supposed to be. I think that Mel’s decision to be big or not be there at all is right—you’re surrounded by these buildings that are huge so you’ve got to be huge too,” said UNC Asheville Professor of Engineering Rebecca Bruce, faculty advisor to the student team building the sculpture. “The students have faced issues that would challenge an engineering firm. Every time I see them build a piece of it, when I realize what this will look like at full scale, it still blows me away.” “It’s going to be 16 feet tall in the air. It’s huge. It was a cool project to think about—there were a lot of things rolling through our heads when we were presented with the project,” recalled graduating senior Jesse Juday ’18, a mechatronics major who led the seven-student engineering team building the Wake figurehead “As engineering for much of the school year. “We’ve had a lot of surprises along the way. students, we’re The more we design, the more things very ‘math, angles, we run into—we have HVAC design, we’ve had to put leveling feet on the solving-a-problem’ bottom because the sidewalk in Times Square might not be level, and then driven, but artists weather-proofing—what kind of have that final idea temperatures and humidity will we be working with in Times Square? Those in their head—that’s are all things we weren’t thinking what they’re going to about heading into the project.”

reach,” said Juday.

And Juday only named a few.

“We have to keep the weight distribution under 1,500 pounds per square foot. We can’t drill into the plaza or use concrete anchors—it has to be free standing,” said Sara Sanders ’11, director of STEAM Studio who is working closely with the mechatronics team. “And even though no one’s supposed to climb on it, considering that roughly 360,000 visitors per day walk through Times Square, it has to withstand not just its own weight but perhaps some human cargo.” Add to that the requirement that the sculpture withstand winds of 90 MPH and meet New York City construction codes. Then there have been the cultural and communication challenges posed by the very thing that defines STEAM Studio—trying to mesh engineering with art. “As engineering students, we’re very ‘math, angles, solving-a-problem’ driven, but artists have that final idea in their head—that’s what they’re going to reach,” said Juday.



Conceptual artist Mel Chin works with senior engineering student Brittany Hand ’18.

ART FORMS While the global warming theme is clear, conceptual artist Mel Chin is tying much more into his installation. “When I was asked to do a project for Times Square, I started looking at just being there,” he said. “And you cannot escape … this huge promotional reality in our world today—it is show time, it is Broadway. So a starting point was, where did this marketing reality come from?” That contemplation led Chin to the story of singer Jenny Lind, who was brought as the Swedish Nightingale to tour America by P.T. Barnum. “Jenny Lind was the Beyoncé or Adele of her time … There was a clipper ship in New York Harbor called the Nightingale that had her figurehead on it, inspired by her … you can see the impact of this [Swedish Nightingale] promotion. This clipper ship … was eventually caught in the 1860s as a slaver and it was utilized by the Union army. “So why Broadway? When you look at the magnificence of this marketing reality, a miracle that is American commercialism, you also see it came at prices back then. It came at a price where there was colonialism, enslavement—it was for the profit. And Jenny Lind had nothing to do with this ship and figurehead but she’s a part—you can’t escape the web you’re in.” As for Chin’s concept, “it’s interdisciplinary, it’s humanities based, it’s highly literate—his work has always fit into the Black Mountain College legacy,” said Brian Butler, UNC Asheville’s Thomas Howerton Distinguished Professor, who also co-chairs the board of the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. “One of the beauties of Mel Chin’s work is that it is almost instantly accessible on multiple levels. People who would say they don’t really care about contemporary art see a Mel Chin work and say, ‘this is so cool,’ and it gets them to think about issues they wouldn’t think about, or think about them in different ways.”



Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Drama Laura Bond leads a collaborative exercise to capture the breathing motions and emotions with engineering student Elijah Nonamaker, Mel Chin Studio Exhibition Coordinator Audrey Liu, and drama student Kelsey Hamilton.

ENGINEERING DRAMA “Her hat has a gyroscope so we can get three axes of rotation and then we have an accelerometer on her chest which will capture the breathing movement,” said programming lead Elijah Nonamaker ’18, who worked with electrical lead Kaitlin Thomas ’18 to design and build the 3D tracking device. The device was then attached to drama student Kelsey Hamilton ’19, who trained in a technique tying breathing patterns to emotions, so her movements could be programmed into the animatronic Wake figurehead. What is the symbolism of the tiny sombrero? “We had six hats and the actress chose the sombrero for comfort. It had belonged to Lilly, my dog,” explained Thomas with a laugh. “Our focus wasn’t the hat but deciding what sensors we wanted to use and how to record the data.”



Art Meets Mechatronics If the mechatronics students who are bringing Chin’s artistic vision to life are any indication, his surreal invocation of New York facing rising sea levels will have an impact. “Going into college, I wasn’t really open to these ideas, but being at UNC Asheville … my eyes have been opened,” said Juday. “I think that’s true for our whole team—the fact that our environment and things involved with this project actually relate to our engineering—it’s not all about the math and angles like people think with engineering. We’re doing this for a purpose. That’s what Mel Chin’s trying to capture.” And by helping him capture and project it onto a world stage, the STEAM Studio team has been led to tap into their own resourcefulness and creativity, including coming up with an ingenious way of letting Jenny breathe naturally. “Kaitlin had the idea of a collapsible rake, which has a little mechanism on it that you slide in and out as the rake expands and collapses,” said Juday. “We put that on a giant scale where one motor is pushing out five giant panels simulating her breathing.” “In the beginning, we were going to hide the figurehead’s entire infrastructure, so you wouldn’t be able to see any of the moving parts, any of the metal,” recalled Hedgecock, the art student on the STEAM Studio team. “But it proved to be such a difficulty that Mel decided, ‘OK, we’ll allow some of the interior to be seen.’ It works with his concept though, because the whole idea is a marriage between the old and the new. … being able to see the old decrepit wood of the figurehead, but also the inner workings.”

Some Assembly Required The Jenny Lind figurehead and giant boat skeleton will have to be shipped to Times Square in separate trucks. The Wake sculpture is also too big to be assembled in STEAM Studio. So Jenny and her Nightingale will be joined in a dry-run installation on campus parking lot P25 in June, giving Asheville an informal preview before the Broadway opening. Although the spring semester will be long over, many of the students on the mechatronics team will stay for that dry run and then travel to New York for the opening. “I think a lot of the team’s going to make that trip to see our work actually displayed in front of millions of people in Times Square,” said Juday. “On a personal level, that’s awesome, but to get the UNC Asheville Mechatronics

“I think these students, when they get out in the workplace, should be golden. They’ve had more experience than an average starting engineer would have in their first few years,” said Rebecca Bruce.

Program name out there, and for people to figure out what UNC Asheville’s all about … that’s the biggest thing.” When Wake completes its summer run on Broadway, most of its builders, degree in hand, will have already started their next chapters. Juday, who relinquished his role as project lead so he could captain the Bulldog baseball team in his final season, will start his first professional engineering job in June. “I think these students, when they get out in the workplace, should be golden. They’ve had more experience than an average starting engineer would have in their first few years,” said Bruce. For Hedgecock, the intense commitment required by the project has meant a slight delay in future plans—he will return as a student in fall semester to devote full attention to his senior BFA project and graduate in December. But first, he will be New York bound for the big event in July, as Chin has invited UNC Asheville collaborators to the exhibit opening. “This is a showcase of everything we want to be,” said Bruce. “It’s art and engineering coming together to make a statement for the good of the world that will be in Times Square. What more can you ask for?” 4

Learn more online at



4 The images featured in this story are from UNC Asheville’s Special Collections and University Archives, L. C. LeCompte Postcard Collection, and Stafford and Wingate L. Anders Collection.



UNC Asheville has called the mountains of Western North Carolina home for 90 years, evolving and developing with the region around us. During the decades, our connection with the landscape and the community has taken root, from the study of the earth beneath our feet to the exploration of Appalachia’s complicated history, to in-depth research of our equally complex present. Appalachia’s story is still unfolding, and UNC Asheville students and faculty are using a liberal arts perspective to understand and help share that story— and maybe even fill in some missing chapters. WRITTEN BY HANNAH EPPERSON ’11 MLAS ’18



How does a mountain grow? A QUICK GLANCE from the car window as you drive by the road cut between east Asheville and downtown shows a deep slice into the mountain side, revealing layers of minerals and rocks formed over millions of years. It’s essentially looking back in time— but how far? “This is an undocumented shear zone,” explained Shannon Switch, a senior environmental studies major. “I’m going out there and gathering information, and we’re going to try and figure out what orogeny, which is a mountain building event, formed this particular section of the shear zone.” “There were three mountain building events that created the Appalachians,” said Felix Stith, also a senior environmental studies major. Stith is mapping a geologic fault in Haywood County, as a potential extension of the Burnsville fault. “The first was the Taconic, the second was the Acadian, and the Burnsville fault is a structure of the Acadian, and the Alleghenian is the third orogeny.” Through immense continental collisions, and the crushing and folding and pushing of rocks, all happening over millions and millions of years, our mountains were born. Through their geology research, Switch and Stith are trying to piece together the land’s ancient history through the clues left in the rocks today.



“There aren’t that many Acadian structures seen or documented in the southeast,” Stith said. “And the Burnsville fault, which is the fault I’m mapping, is one of the only Acadian structures present in Western North Carolina.” Stith is hoping to improve on older geologic maps that were incorrect and plans to expand the map further than ever before. Stith and Switch both look for “shear sense indicators” in their fieldwork, looking at how minerals have been rotated, stretched, or otherwise manipulated. To the trained eye, these indicators are all intriguing clues. “Some of the rocks I’m working with are a billion years old, that have been folded and been a part of two super continents, and stretched out, and pushed back together,” Stith said. “So it’s basically creating a story to tell for the rocks, writing the history of the rocks.”

Bringing back the Cherokee language FOR DAKOTA BROWN, a senior history major and member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the story of the Appalachian mountains is also the story of her family. She’s uncovering that story through a special oral history project, and through the study of the Cherokee language.

“Not punishing the students for speaking Cherokee and allowing them to speak Cherokee in between classwork, it seems to have a positive effect, because that community holds one third of the fluent speakers for the Eastern Band, but it’s one of the smallest communities.”

Brown is helping to collect and preserve oral histories of the Snowbird Day School, which educated an estimated 550 Cherokee children in Western North Carolina throughout its history, before closing in 1963. Trey Adcock, UNC Asheville assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies who also directs the university’s American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program, recently won a $50,000 Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship to lead this research project.

Brown’s exploration of that history, and the Cherokee culture, has been deepened by her own study of the Cherokee language. “I’ve always wanted to learn the Cherokee language,” Brown said. “It’s very hard to learn... I really didn’t want to take another language without knowing my own.”

Brown’s work involves collecting stories from among the 80 students who are still living, including members of her family. The Snowbird Day School allowed students to be educated in their own community, Brown said, enabling them to keep their connection to their language and culture—a connection that was lost to many Cherokee children, who were forced by the federal government to attend boarding schools that forbade use of the Cherokee language. “The children were allowed to speak Cherokee, and a lot of the children that attended that school, Cherokee was their first language,” Brown said.

She’s learning it at UNC Asheville, and now is in her forth semester of study under Barbara Duncan, adjunct instructor of Cherokee, and co-creator of “Your Grandmother’s Cherokee,” a unique Cherokee language learning course, and with Gilliam Jackson, an adjunct instructor and native Cherokee speaker. “English is so easy to blurt things out. Cherokee really forces you to think about what you’re saying, why you’re saying it, who you’re saying it to, when you’re saying it, when you’re talking about,” Brown said. “It’s such a thoughtful language.” It’s that thoughtfulness that Brown carries with her as she continues her efforts to help preserve the stories and language of the Cherokee people.



Hiking through history IRENE ROSSELL, chair and professor of environmental studies, also helps students explore history, this time using hiking field trips. Her “Hiking Through History” course involves plant identification, historical research, crafting, creative writing—and, of course, hiking. The first hikes are in UNC Asheville’s backyard: a hike from downtown back to campus along the old Buncombe Turnpike route, which was used for driving livestock. Students then visit the Botanical Gardens on campus, which was the site of a Civil War battle. A walk through the urban forest behind Pisgah House reveals the different plants and trees that indicate the area used to be open; it was a dairy farm before UNC Asheville’s campus relocated here. The class also goes further afield, visiting the ruins of Rattlesnake Lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the ruins of the Runion logging community in Madison County, the Ray Mine in Yancey County, and Paint Rock near Hot Springs, the site of 5,000-year-old Cherokee petroglyphs. They also visited Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where elk roam in the wild and “bugle” during mating season. While learning the history of the region, Rossell also taught students how to identify the native plants that Native Americans and early settlers would have used—sassafras, spicebush, and goldenrod for tea, for example. They also completed creative writing assignments, such as writing a letter as a person who lived during the Civil War era in WNC.



“The connection is landscape,” Rossell said. “The lay of the land, the topography, the types of trees that grow, the rivers and the valleys, all have had a profound impact on human history. And humans have a profound impact on the landscape, so they are very entwined. My goal is really to get students outside to see this for themselves.” For their final project, students completed a hands-on project incorporating all that they’d learned. Miranda Rapoza, an engineering major who transferred to UNC Asheville from NC State, used tulip poplar inner bark to create cordage, which she wove together to make a small Cherokee-style fishing net. The process took hours, from felling the tree to stripping the bark, to rolling the inner bark fibers into string. Rapoza said the project overlapped with what she’s learning in her major about materials engineering, but it also gave her a deeper appreciation for her home. “You really have to work with the land,” she said. “The land has affected where we live and how we live, and what we survive off of, and we’ve also shaped the land.”

Appalachia today

UNDERSTANDING UNC ASHEVILLE’S home means understanding the land, culture and history of Appalachia, but it also means exploring contemporary Western North Carolina. Dwight Mullen, professor of political science, and his students over the last decade have been diving into the research on “The State of Black Asheville,” seeking the data and crunching the numbers to understand what it means to be black and live in Asheville.

This semester, students are examining the racial disparities in education, criminal justice, and health care, going more in depth into the details of each area than ever before. It’s a project that has led many of their predecessors on to graduate school, and to their careers. “The thing about the State of Black Asheville that matches so well with the liberal arts is that it gives students a vocation,” Mullen said. “It gives them a meaning to what they do. And a lot of our students know something’s wrong, they just don’t know what to do about it. And they don’t know where to focus. And I think the State of Black Asheville projects have filled in those blanks.” Last year, members of the Buncombe County Commission used the research collected by the State of Black Asheville

project to inform their ultimately unanimous vote in favor of $500,000 in funding for the new Isaac Coleman Community Investment Program to support and expand community efforts to improve health, education, and employment. Mullen said the effect of this funding is already apparent in the community. “You can feel the difference in the community, because folks are resourced for the first time,” Mullen said. Still, the students’ research has consistently found that, over the years, racial disparities in Asheville have only grown. And that’s challenging, Mullen said. But the research—and the students’ ongoing commitment to it—is a good start. “Going into the community and hearing the good things your students are doing, you can’t help but like that. And I think it’s making it better,” Mullen said. “It’s at least not letting it fester. It’s at least drawing attention to making it better.” It’s all part of the continuing story of Appalachia—a story that includes the land, the people, the history, and the unwritten future. And it’s a story that the community at UNC Asheville continues to learn from, explore, and contribute to. 4







INTERWOVEN IDENTITY Weaving together art and new media, literature and storytelling, music and dance, craft vendors and the community is an annual tradition for UNC Asheville’s Arts Fest. The 2018 festival embodied the theme through interactive installations thanks to Nancy Belmont’s UNITY and SOAR. Stretching across a 40-foot span on the Quad, the colorful yarn web connected identity and humanity, with classes and the community contributing to the display.

(Photo by Adam Taylor)

See more at







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Lifelong Learning & Civic Engagement Develop in UNC Asheville’s Centers, Institutes, and Initiatives








Lifelong learning takes many shapes at UNC Asheville, but one of the places where it’s centered is in the affiliated centers, institutes and initiatives—programs that thrive from the time commitment of volunteers and provide important opportunities for students to apply their coursework and connect with the community. From local volunteer hours to statewide impact and national leadership, the work done through these programs extends beyond the classroom. Conversations


cross borders, build community, and expand perspectives.



ASHEVILLE INITIATIVE FOR MATHEMATICS » For many, math can be a bit of a sore subject, an attitude Sam Kaplan, a professor in the Department of Mathematics, and his colleagues are trying to change with efforts led by the Asheville Initiative for Mathematics (AIM). “We are trying to build public understanding around math literacy to issues around workforce development, personal finance, public health, social justice, and the arts,” Kaplan explains. Very early on in education, people begin treating math as a talent, rather than a skill, Kaplan says, creating unrealistic expectations. So instead of persisting when there’s a difficulty, many just give up and say they are not cut out for math. One way AIM is trying to change this attitude is through “Marvelous Math Club” (MMC). In collaboration with Asheville City Schools’ Parent U and the Asheville Housing Authority, MMC hosts about 20 to 25 students each Monday, mostly elementary age but open to students K-12, at Pisgah View Apartments, where they break up into groups for homework, games, and outside play staffed by UNC Asheville students, city schools staff, and volunteer math champions. Kaplan says this type of attention surrounding math has really mattered. “It’s been amazing to watch how the kids change their language and see how they change their interactions,” Kaplan marvels. And teachers have started to notice changes, too. He says a teacher told him of a time when she noticed one of her students encouraging another student to persevere on a math assignment, both students being MMC participants. It’s one of many K-12 programs that the campus community participates in, with the Key Center for Community Engaged Learning at UNC Asheville leading additional opportunities such as weekly Homework Diners, in partnership with the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. These opportunities can be just as fulfilling for the campus volunteers as they are for the participants.







THE KEY CENTER & OSHER LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE » That volunteer attitude often starts in college classes, as UNC Asheville students enroll in service-learning courses or connect with community organizations through extracurricular activities. Lee Anne Mangone, interim director for The Key Center for Community Engaged Learning and adjunct instructor of sociology, says one way the center continues to connect students to the community is through the Community Engaged Scholars (CES) Program—academic recognition available to graduating students at UNC Asheville that focuses around the student’s community engagement. “The Key Center is working on continuing to cultivate relationships, maintain the relationships that we do have with the community, making sure that we are maximizing the potential of the Community Engaged Scholars Program and the ability for the students’ experience to be enhanced academically by community engaged learning,” Mangone says. In order to qualify as a graduating CES, a student must complete six or more academic credit hours in service-learning designated courses, complete a CES workshop, project, and a paper on the project, and present on this paper at a celebration at the end of the semester. Their work contributes to the more than 100,000 volunteer hours from campus members in the region annually, with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville also adding to that civic value.



With a home base in the Reuter Center on campus, UNC Asheville’s OLLI is one of 121 institutes around the nation funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation. It’s also one that draws a large population due to the unique programs offered and its prime retirement location.

“Walk into the Reuter Center and you will feel the energy and excitement of adults sharing fellowship in an atmosphere that is respectful, stimulating, creative, fulfilling, and fun,” Cynthia says. “All levels of education, from pre-K through graduate school, should be this stimulating.”

Cynthia Berryman-Fink, a communications instructor at OLLI, describes it best: “Walk into the Reuter Center and you will feel the energy and excitement of adults sharing fellowship in an atmosphere that is respectful, stimulating, creative, fulfilling, and fun,” she says. “All levels of education, from pre-K through graduate school, should be this stimulating.”

COLLEGES CONNECTED UNC Asheville also serves as a founding member and international headquarters for the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), leading the conversation and awareness of high-quality, public liberal arts education.

This membership means that UNC Asheville students, faculty, and staff are able to access professional development opportunities, including summer institutes for faculty hosted on campus and for staff hosted at other public liberal arts colleges across North America, as well as collaborate on shared courses such as Native American Studies and Digital Liberal Arts.

Through volunteer instructors, OLLI offers engaging courses with its College for Seniors, something that Berryman-Fink says is important for its members’ intellect. “OLLI demonstrates every day the vitality of people when they stay intellectually engaged in a community of learners,” she says. “Information changes so rapidly that people, seniors or undergraduates, become obsolete if they do not engage in continuous learning.” Community outreach is another vital component of OLLI’s offerings with its Civic Engagement Committee, which focuses on the areas of education, food insecurity, and housing and homelessness. OLLI members volunteer with organizations such as Asheville City Schools, MANNA Food Bank, and Habitat for Humanity, an experience that Executive Director Catherine Frank says is continuously inspiring. “It’s been gratifying for me to watch our members collaborate with residents of Asheville Terrace Apartments to create a food pantry. They listen to and learn from the residents and feel truly connected,” she says. “They’re not just going in once a week, doing something anonymously. They’re really listening to people.” Frank also explains how OLLI was created with the belief that learning should never end, by those who “had hoped that being on a college campus, they would not only get the vitality that comes from being around younger people but that younger people could see that learning doesn’t stop when you get your job and doesn’t stop when you hit the age of 40 or something.”

“At the core of COPLAC is synergy— that the working together of our charters as public institutions, collaboration with peers, and sustained engagement with the arts and sciences strengthens our lives, communities, and careers. Our 29 campuses benefit from being public institutions; in turn, we try to be a good that serves the public. COPLAC students, alumni, staff, and faculty have a responsibility to enrich the neighborhoods they live and work in,” said Cole Woodcox, director of COPLAC. Please join the conversation about working with local communities on twitter at #commitmenttoplace.

CENTER YOUR LEARNING In addition to the centers, institutes and initiatives outlined here, UNC Asheville hosts a multitude of organizations making a difference, across the state and nation. Learn more at




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NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MODELING AND ANALYSIS CENTER & THE CENTER FOR DIVERSITY EDUCATION » The centers at UNC Asheville also contribute to students’ professional development before graduation, engaging them in projects that make an impact in the world and on their resumes.

Deborah Miles, executive director of the CDE, says the center’s goal is to make sure equality is embedded into every aspect of campus. “The issues about equity, and inclusion, diversity, and all of those conversations aren’t just at the CDE, but we are a catalyst, along with lots of other amazing faculty, and staff members, and students,” she explains.

The National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) facilitates the interaction between science producers and users by conducting research for cities, The CDE hosts cultural events, prominent speakers, and municipalities, and other contractors. Working with showcases exhibits in order to further these conversations. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration one example, Brandon Priester, video and visual media coor(NOAA), NEMAC developed the U.S. Climate Resilience dinator for the CDE, has been working on a documentary Toolkit, an interactive, online resource that provides that tells the story of Stephens Lee High School’s Asheville framework and information to help people manage their Student Committee on Racial Equality (ASCORE) group, a climate-related risks. Caroline Dougherty ’10, principal student group that was formed in the 1950’s geared toward designer and student program co-coordinator for racial equality that helped desegregate Asheville. He says he NEMAC, says students who intern with NEMAC have a has interviewed seven members of the group so far and that lot to gain, and that “it gives them sort of the stepladder “it is simply amazing to be connected to such a project and to up to a professional experience, just a way of seeing how have the pleasure of retelling these stories for years to come.” things generally do run.” NEMAC also serves as an Bringing those stories and voices to the table has been a anchor institution in Asheville’s Collider, a nonprofit lifelong project for Miles too, who plans to retire from the leading innovation and collaboration around products center this summer. and services involving climate research. UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education (CDE) similarly takes a close look at the local and national conversation, often focusing on the campus as a starting point.



“The more voices you have at the table in creating a product, or a team, or a service, the better outcomes, better retention, better customer satisfaction, better economic well-being of the organization,” she says. “It’s better in every way.” 4


NEW RESIDENCE HALLS NOW ONLINE Virtual Reality Brings Campus Home

By Hannah Epperson ’11 MLAS ’18


“We believe that this creates a more interactive experience so that the students can actually see themselves in the rooms,” said Melanie Fox, associate dean of students in residential education. “Whereas when you’re looking at a two-dimensional photograph, it’s really hard to picture yourself living there. And in the virtual reality situation, you can actually move around the room, you can see it as if you were standing in the middle of it.” This innovative experience is one students are unlikely to find elsewhere, McCall said. Students get a virtual reality sneak peek of the new residence halls.

When it comes to envisioning yourself in your new university home, a picture really just doesn’t cut it. After all, this is the residence hall you’ll be living in for the next academic year of your life. You’ve got to be able to really see yourself there before you make any big decisions. UNC Asheville has partnered with Better Than Unicorns, a local virtual reality studio, to create cutting-edge virtual reality tours of every residence hall on campus—including the ones that haven’t been finished yet. It starts with downloading and opening the Gazal app, and then either donning a virtual reality (VR) headset or glasses— or just using your smart phone—and entering the virtual UNC Asheville. “Let’s say you pick Governors Hall,” explained Better Than Unicorns founder and “Big Chief” Brett A. McCall. “It’ll take you outside of Governors Hall, inside what’s called a photosphere. A photosphere is a 360 degrees, up down, left right, all the way around you, completely immersive image that you can look in all directions for what it looks like in that location.” Using icons placed around the virtual environment, students can navigate their way around the residence hall.

“UNCA has made a move that puts them in front of most universities and really, most brick and mortar locations in the world,” McCall said. “I think this is like a one-percenter kind of a move they’ve made by doing this. It’s very cutting edge, I think by the end of this year, there will still only be 5 percent of the population that have done it.”

Students can also get a virtual reality sneak peek of the new residence halls currently being constructed on campus. The “renderspheres” have been constructed from architectural renderings and detail the finishes, the colors, the fabrics, the paint, and the furnishings. The goal is to make visitors and the first residents feel at home, even before they step into the completed residences. “And we have so many options because all of our residence halls are unique in their individual personalities, that there’s something for everybody,” Fox continued. “And especially now as we open our apartment units, I think that will be an even wider swath of students that we can reach in terms of helping them feel like this is home.”

Virtually visit UNC Asheville’s residence halls at




STUDENT CENTERED Highsmith Becomes More than Just a Building

By Colin Reeve and Amy Jessee

Highsmith University Center and Highrise (now Founders Hall) in 1984.

A rendering of the new Highsmith Student Union, now under construction. Images provided by Little Diversified / Workshop.

UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Student Union has experienced three decades of activity, and this fall, when the lights in the front of the building shine once again, it will fully embody the student union of the 21st century. Renovations in 2017-18 redefined the building, adding or expanding meeting spaces, an art gallery, the intercultural center, and coffee shop. An expansion will add a much-needed multi-purpose room, inviting the campus and community for events. What you won’t see are the offices that used to face University Heights, and that face-lift is intentional, says Bill Haggard, vice chancellor for student affairs at UNC Asheville. “It’s an objective of the current renovation that we bring the student activity front and center in the building.”



The evolution of the building from a single-story student center to a multi-story university union that reaches the street level at University Heights also coincided with key moments in the university’s history. From his time as a senator and chief of staff of Student Government Association in the ’80s to his current role as Director of International Students Services Robert Straub ’91 has had a front-row seat. “The design of the building and space allowed the expansion of programming for students and by students. That was really important,” Straub says of the renovations that elevated Highsmith Union in 2004. Building upon the foundation, from the boiler room and what is now the Bike Shop, the Highsmith Union of the new century featured wide hallways,


connecting student organization suites, offices, the food court and bookstore, as well as a post office. The timing of construction also offered at least two opportunities for the university, as Kevan Frazier ’92, director of student life at the time, recalls. Before being demolished, the prior building hosted a Homecoming to remember, as students transformed the bookstore to a beach, complete with truckloads of sand, and staged an Alice in Wonderland theme in the dining hall. Then, the building became the site of a statewide terrorism and structural collapse exercise, covered by The Fire and Rescue Journal and preparing 250 participants through mock drills and exercises. Sections of the 35,000 square foot building were also demolished so that rescuers could practice working with heavy machinery. That demolition set the stage for the renovations and additions in 2002 and sparked campus’ creativity. In 2005, UNC Asheville Professor of Art S. Tucker Cooke led the project to create and install a full-scale reproduction of the 16th century Vatican fresco by Raphael, The School of Athens, with the addition of two UNC Asheville Bulldogs. The painting—which took two years’ work by students, faculty, and community members—still hangs above the food court, preserved during the current construction. “The goal had been to make it a signature building for campus,” says Frazier. “The architect was interested in the revival of internationalism, so we embraced that style even in the details of furniture and font choices for the signs.” Students once again have had a hand in selecting the finishing details for the updates, and this spring they signed their names to one of the steel beams in the new addition, leaving a lasting mark on campus to come. “As a result of the renovation, UNC Asheville will have a student-centered facility built with an intentional design that advances a stronger sense of community for students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” says Stan Sweeney, director of Highsmith Student Union & Student Activities. “It is our hope that Highsmith Student Union will help position UNC Asheville

(Top) Professor of Art S. Tucker Cooke leads students in the creation of The School of Athens mural, which still hangs in Highsmith. (Bottom) Students make their mark on the new Highsmith Student Union, signing a steel beam destined to become part of the building.

as a leader in student engagement and success among public liberal arts institutions.” UNC Asheville will celebrate the re-opening of Highsmith Student Union in 2018-19, and many areas of the building have remained open during construction.

Read more about UNC Asheville’s 90 years of history and statewide impact on the University Archives blog at




HOME RUN FUNDRAISING Baseball Steps up to the Plate

By Brian Hand


Major League Baseball players can choose to live anywhere they want in the offseason. They can also choose wherever they want to prepare themselves for their next professional season. That’s why to see Greg Holland working out at Greenwood Field on the campus of UNC Asheville in the offseason means so much. He may have attended rival Western Carolina, but nevertheless the three-time Major League Baseball All-Star has built a special relationship with UNC Asheville head coach Scott Friedholm and the Bulldog coaching staff. Holland has been truly impressed by what he has seen. “The motto of UNC Asheville baseball is ‘Team, Teammate, Self,’ in that order and I’ve seen it firsthand,” Holland said. “Any good team if you want to win it has to be a collective, unified thought process and purpose each day. That starts in the weight room, in the classroom, at practice and then that translates on to the field into wins. They’ve really done it right and I look forward to keeping up with them this year.” Holland, who was the National League saves leader last year while with the Colorado Rockies, was the guest speaker this year at UNC Asheville’s annual Baseball Night that was held before a sold out crowd at Highland Brewing on Friday, Jan. 19, 2017. Sponsored by Highland Brewing, Vannoy Construction, Twisted Laurel and Biltmore Farms Hotels, the UNC Asheville baseball team hosted a successful evening that along with Holland featured Interim Chancellor Joe Urgo, Director of Athletics Janet R. Cone and Friedholm all speaking in front of the sellout crowd at Highland Brewing.

It was a record-breaking 2018 Baseball Night with the Bulldog baseball program raising over $60,000.

UNC Asheville baseball raised a record-breaking well over $60,000 for the annual event that was also attended by Bulldog baseball legend and current Oakland Athletics pitcher Ryan Dull. “You take pride in where you come from and you want to help set up for future generations of other Bulldogs,” Dull said. “You just hope that you instill in them the same pride that was taught when I was at UNC Asheville.” Bulldog baseball also topped the scoreboard in the inaugural Bulldog Challenge Facebook LIVE event on Monday, March 26. They donated 50 percent of the proceeds to Vs. Cancer in April and raised an additional $12,300 during the annual Vs. Cancer game at McCormick Field.

$17,265 THE TOTAL RAISED IN ONE HOUR DURING THE BULLDOG CHALLENGE FACEBOOK LIVE EVENT ON MARCH 26 . Catch a game at any of our beautiful athletic facilities or on ESPN, Stadium, WMYA-TV, or Big South Network. See the schedule at




BIG SOUTH BASKETBALL Tournament Tracks for Bulldog Teams

By Brian Hand


It was another special year of basketball in the 2017-18 season for UNC Asheville men’s and women’s basketball. For the third straight year, both the UNC Asheville men’s and women’s basketball teams advanced to the postseason with the men participating in the 2018 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and the women taking part in the 2018 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI). The UNC Asheville women’s basketball team had its secondbest season ever in Big South Conference play in the 2017-18 season with a 12-6 league mark. The UNC Asheville women’s basketball team (17-16, 12-6 Big South Conference) just missed on making its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament this past season with the Bulldogs making their third consecutive appearance in the Big South Tournament championship game on Sunday, March 11. The Bulldogs lost this year’s championship game to Liberty, but it was another tremendous run to the title game. UNC Asheville overall has now impressively won nine of its last 10 games in the Big South Tournament. Individually, Bronaza Fitzgerald and Khaila Webb were both chosen All-Big South. Tiffany Wilson was an All-Academic selection. Fitzgerald and Webb were also selected to the Big South All-Tournament team. Fitzgerald also collected 319 rebounds this season, which is an NCAA Division I program-best. The UNC Asheville men’s basketball team (21-13, 13-5 Big South Conference) won over 20 games for a program-record third straight year this past season. UNC Asheville finished 13-5 in league play to collect its second straight Big South Conference regular-season title. The Big South regular-season crown was the seventh in program history. The Bulldogs continued to set the standard in the Big South this past season by becoming the first program in league history to win 15 games or more for 11 straight seasons. The Bulldogs have also now won 10 or more league games in a season in a Big South men’s basketball record 11 straight seasons.

UNC Asheville fans were treated to another special basketball season with both programs advancing to postseason play for the third consecutive season.

Individually, Ahmad Thomas was chosen as the Big South Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, and Kevin Vannatta was picked as the Big South ScholarAthlete of the Year. Both Thomas and MaCio Teague were All-Big South and All-District selections. Vannatta was named an Academic All-American. With 81 wins in their career, the UNC Asheville senior class of Alec Wnuk, Raekwon Miller, Vannatta and Thomas ended their career with the most wins over a four-year stretch in program history.

For the latest news, rosters and schedules for all of UNC Asheville’s Division I teams, 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. Visit or send an e-mail to




George Coggan retired after teaching grades 4-5 for 38 years, including six years as an adjunct professor at Nova University and Edison State College. Upon retiring from education, George joined Century 21 Affiliated in 2014 as an agent in Land O’ Lakes, Florida.

Susanne Holland completed her Master of Library Science from East Carolina University in Dec. 2017.

Jeremy Gustrowsky was named partner at Indianapolisbased Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP.

Sarah Louise Miller and her colleague Zach Walker ’02 have been selected as the first ever Duo Team of Theatre Teachers to earn the 2017 North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) Theatre Arts Educator Award.

Greg Matthews became a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and Enrolled Actuary.

1979 On Nov. 11, 2017, Marcus Kindley was inducted into the North Carolina Republican Party Hall of Fame. R. Christopher Mathis, president of Mathis Consulting Company in Asheville, is serving a three-year term on the ASTM International Board of Directors.

1992 Tiffany Schoff Sen accepted a position as head of procurement & financial operations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.



1997 Allison Jordan accepted a position as an executive coach for Communities In Schools of North Carolina.

1998 Renee Roberson accepted the position of director of marketing and development at Davidson Community Players, a nonprofit theatre company in Davidson, N.C.

2001 Amber Snipes married Brian Reddick in 2015, and welcomed a baby girl, Harper, on Oct. 15, 2017.

2003 Jeremy S. Shrader, of Carruthers & Roth, P.A. in Greensboro, N.C., was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2018 for the practice area of Real Estate Law.

2005 Charlotte McKinney celebrated the birth of her daughter, Stella, on Aug. 28, 2017.


90 of alumni YEARS

W R I T T E N BY H A N N A H E P P E R S O N ’ 1 1 M L A S ’ 1 8 , S COT T I E H I L L ’ 1 8 , C A S EY H U L M E ’ 0 5, K A R R I G A N M O N K ’ 1 8 , CO L I N R E E V E

Read more 90 Years, 90 Careers stories at



Graduate of Distinction

Greenwood receiving the Chancellor’s Medallion in 1986.

Roy Arthur Taylor ’29

Roy Arthur Taylor graduated as one of the first graduates of Buncombe County Junior College—one of the 29 graduates in 1929, and he went on to make himself a namesake across the state and with his alma mater. Taylor served as commencement speaker for his class, showcasing the skills gained from his years on the debate team. During his time at the college, he argued ardently for a football team and a school paper. The result was a winning football team, in addition to the women’s basketball team at the time, and a quality literary magazine called Bluets . After graduation, Taylor went to Maryville College in Tennessee, followed by Asheville University Law School, and a stint in the U.S. Navy. He was elected to the

North Carolina General Assembly in 1947. During his time in the state legislature, Taylor helped drive the initiative leading to the 1957 Community College Act. His alma mater, now AshevilleBiltmore College, subsequently became the first community college in North Carolina. He served on the Board of Trustees for his alma mater, during which he helped bring the campus to its current location. Taylor also encouraged the next generation of students to develop their communication and presentation skills, by sponsoring a public speaking contest at UNC Asheville. Taylor died on March 2, 1995, but his legacy lives on in the Roy A. Taylor Distinguished Alumni Award, UNC Asheville’s highest honor for alumni.

’29 Taylor with President Kennedy.


A Name in Print

Gordon Greenwood ’30 According to the university archives and the scrapbooks preserved there, Gordon Greenwood ’30 was drawn to newsprint, particularly the sports pages. He played on the college’s football, basketball, and baseball teams. His clippings of the newspapers, now preserved as part of institutional history, detail the early days of sporting success, including local rivalries. The football schedule he saved also serves as a source to date the university’s name change from Buncombe County Junior College to Biltmore Junior College, nomenclature that also appeared on his class ring at the time. After junior college, Greenwood continued his education at the University of Illinois where he earned a degree in journalism at the University of London. He served as a psychologist in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to his native Black Mountain, N.C. to own and operate the Black Mountain News for more than 20 years. His career crossed into higher education, and he served as a board member at both A-B Tech and UNC Asheville, joining 1929 graduate Roy Taylor in the legislature that introduced and passed a bill creating the state’s community college system, of which UNC Asheville was one of the first examples. Greenwood’s name continues to live on in the university athletic arena, with Greenwood Fields hosting baseball and soccer games to this day.







A Vision for the Community

Joseph Schandler ’49 UNC Asheville alumnus Joseph Schandler, class of 1949, had a vision for the Asheville community, starting with his optometry practice, which he operated for 50 years, and his deep-rooted connection to UNC Asheville. He attended its predecessor Asheville-Biltmore College starting in 1947, and following a year in the army and graduation, he enrolled at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee. Schandler helped found the Low Vision Clinic at Mission Hospital and the Marjorie McCume Home for the Blind, served as state Chairman for the Blind, and provided eye care and optical supplies free of charge to residents of the Eliada Children’s Home in Asheville. He also was one of the one of the founders of the Botanical Garden on the UNC Asheville campus, and served as president of the university’s Alumni Association. For 13 years, he was head of the Asheville Housing Authority and served on the Authority for over 40 years. A prominent member of Asheville’s Jewish community, he served as president of the Beth Israel Synagogue and as Honorary Governor of the Jewish Community Center. For over 25 years, he was chairman of the Lou Pollack Cemetery committee. He died on May 8, 2005 at 75 years old, but as his long-time friend Dr. George Bilbery, chief of staff at Mission Hospital, said “He [Schandler] loved his wife and his family, and he cared about his friends. But he also cared about people he didn’t really know…. His secret was that he saw each person as an end to himself and not a means to something else.”



The First Degree

Dorothy June Meadows Carter ’52 In 1952, Dorothy June Meadows Carter earned a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from Asheville-Biltmore College, nearly a decade before university history documented the first four-year programs. According to university archives and copies of the Campus Crier at the time, it was the first baccalaureate awarded by the college and the first conferred in the state by “an institution operating on the junior college level.” The newspaper report adds, “Awarding the degree will emphasize the fact the college is not chartered as a junior college.” Sure enough, the original charter for the college, which was filed on August 15, 1936, makes no mention of a junior college, but gives the college the right to “confer degrees.” In the case of medical technology, students completed three years on campus and spent their senior year in the laboratory at Mission

Hospital. Carter was the first and only to be awarded the degree, as Asheville-Biltmore College was designated a community college in 1957, no longer able to award baccalaureate degrees until it gained the state supported senior college designation in 1963. Following graduation Carter spent a great deal of time as director of the lab at the Victoria Unit of Mission Hospital. She was responsible for ensuring all tests were completed while also overseeing peers in their lab work. She has stayed invested in the university with her active participation on the Alumni Board. She also gifted a scale to the Chemistry Department in honor of her late husband. The couple met in a chemistry class they both attended when the university was still in Seely’s Castle.





The Legacy in Education Francine Delany ’66

1966 was a milestone year for UNC Asheville. It was the year the first graduates of the new four-year university graduated, known as “the 66 in ’66,” and among these graduates was the first AfricanAmerican student to graduate from the university: Francine Delany. Enrolling in 1961, Delany became one of the first three black students to enroll in the school, then known as Asheville-Biltmore College. Though she was only able to attend school for two years before taking time off to work as a secretary, Delany came back to finish the second half of her degree. After graduation, Delaney became instrumental to Asheville public education. In 1973, she was named Asheville Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator for her work as a teacher at Vance Elementary. After being a principal in the area, she became the magnet school coordinator for Asheville City School before taking on state education roles with the Textbook Commission and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Throughout her career, she advocated for public school reform, believing every child deserved the opportunity to learn. Delany also remained connected to her alma mater. From 1981 to 1987 she served as a member of the UNC Asheville Foundation Board. As a Board of Trustees member, Delaney served from 1979 to 1981 and reprised her role 10 years later until her death in June 1992. That year, the UNC Asheville Foundation established a fund in honor of Delany for minority students. The following year she was posthumously awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion. Today, the

Francine M. Delany Alumni Award for Service to the Community is presented to a UNC Asheville alumni who embodies the spirit of community service that Delany strived for throughout her life. In 1997, the Francine Delany New School for Children, a new charter school, opened in West Asheville. Part of Delany’s life-long work was advocating for charter schools that would give teachers more autonomy than they would have at a public school. When seven Asheville-area teachers decided to start a charter school, they chose to honor the pioneer by naming it after her. Delany’s legacy lives on in this school that has no administrators and boasts students working high above their grade level. Though she did not live to see it, the school embodies everything she dedicated her life to.

Kimberly Garrett married Jordan Payne on June 24, 2017. Grant Gilmore became the morning meteorologist at WTSP (CBS) in Tampa, Florida. Jessica Kammerud is pursuing an MFA in stage properties at UNC School of the Arts.

2007 Kimberly Barto Buck was named the 2017 Rising Star for the Southeast U.S. district of the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations. Rachel Martin and her husband Michael Murphy ’06 had a baby boy, Camden, on March 31, 2017.

2008 Harry Johnson IV started a new job with Cypress Creek Renewables in May 2017. Lauren Kortas-Peer married Corree Peer on Sept. 30, 2017, and was named Teacher of the Year at Parkway West Middle School (Chesterfield, MO). Kathryn Miller was named vice president of development for The Arts & Science Council.

2009 Elizabeth Fisher completed her Ph.D. in cell biology and moved to Albany, N.Y. to complete a post-doctoral fellowship at the Neural Stem Cell Institute.


Meredith Wagner-Hoehn married Frank Frye in April 2017.

2010 Lisa Cook and Lee Morrison became guardians of nine-year-old Bella in April 2017. Rachel Prather became a National Board Certified Teacher. Lindsay Stockman is the director of prevention services at Western Youth Network in Boone, N.C.





Championing the Court & Classroom Sheila Duncan ’84

’75 1970s

Works of Art Mark Wilson ’75

In 1971 Mark Wilson and his yearbook staff—recruited almost entirely from the Art Department—took the publication in a turn-of-the-century direction, bowler hats, bustles, and all. The following year, however, they turned the concept of a yearbook on its head. In what he calls “visual racket,” the unconventional-looking book was filled not with typical photos of clubs, events, teams or even class portraits, but with oddly cropped, manipulated and combined images and typography. The result prompted a full investigation from the Student Government Association, but it also served as a launching point for Wilson’s career. After graduating from UNC Asheville in 1975 with a degree in art, Wilson took what he had learned and applied it to graphic design for advertising. He started as an assistant art director at Price/McNabb Advertising before moving on to The Mother Earth News magazine, where he served as senior art director for more than a decade. After the magazine’s move to New York, he stayed in Asheville to work as a creative director at Western Reserve Advertising, then went on to found two successful Asheville advertising agencies, Berdahl Smith Wilson and WC&T. In 2008, he closed WC&T, moved to the country, and started a solo creative services and consulting business, which he still runs today.

A management major, with an emphasis in retail management, Sheila Duncan ’84 has a spot on the sports roster at UNC Asheville as a member of the Athletics Hall of Fame. She was center on the women’s basketball team, recording over 2,000 points during her time on the court. Her senior year, Duncan led the Bulldogs to the NAIA Championship, where she earned MVP honors. When asked about the team Duncan noted, “We were a very well disciplined team, we always put first things first, our studies were first. We studied together, in the library together, or we’d drive on the parkway and study up there. We always put our classes first.” During her college years, she also worked as an intern at Belk of Asheville to expand her knowledge of the retail world, a passion she continues to this day. At that time she paired it with many hours of practice, spending hours in the gym and the

classroom. She is fondest of her memories of the Justice Center, saying “I thought we had the best gym in the world. Seriously, I know it’s nothing compared to Kimmel Arena, but when I was there the Justice Center was the elite gym of gyms!” Upon graduating, Duncan continued her basketball career playing overseas for Celta de Vigo Baloncesto, a league in Vigo, Spain. She recalled declining an opportunity while at UNC Asheville to focus on her sport, knowing that the chance to play professionally could be once in a lifetime. Her talents prevailed though, and she played professional for several years. When her basketball career came to a close, Duncan pursued another burning passion: fashion. In 1993 she earned a Master of Science degree in clothing and textiles from UNC Greensboro. Today, she works as a high school teacher sharing her passion with students daily. As a mother, wife, teacher, and recognized alumna-athlete, she shares the following advice to current UNC Asheville students: “Have an attitude of excellence on campus… be excellent at whatever you do.”

’84 36




2012 Molly Burch’s debut LP, Please Be Mine, was released in February and reached number 42 on the top 50 Best Albums of 2017 chart. Erin Greger married Weston Brown ’13 on Oct. 7, 2017. Allison Nalley-Costanzo married Paul Costanzo on Aug. 5, 2017.


An Emerging Leader Marvin Placino ’97

Marvin Placino ’97 graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in management but draws as much inspiration from his broader experience on campus as his time in the classroom. He used his degree directly for years, working in the retail industry—until realizing his need for community, something that seemed to grow from his time on campus. As he says, “A degree didn’t change me as a person but more of the vibe UNCA holds.” So he decided to leave corporate America and his suit and tie behind, dedicating himself to working in public service with emergency medical services, fire departments, and other domestic medical missions.

Now a paramedic in North Carolina, Placino provides ambulance medical care while transporting patients to hospitals across the East Coast. Reminiscing on his time at the university as a student he recalls: “My first day in orientation I knew I would have an eccentric college education. The cultural event classes, the thought-provoking gatherings at the Quad or open mic night in the student center… many things made my UNCA education rewarding.” He has some advice for current students and prospective students as well, particularly as they consider the paths their careers might take. “Does your desire for higher education equate to more earnings? Or do you desire higher education for your own enlightenment? Be kind, be a leader, be fabulous.”

DID YOU KNOW? Every UNC Asheville alumna and alumnus is a lifelong member of the Alumni Association—free of cost! Visit

2013 Natalie Garrett graduated from Duke University with a Master of Public Policy.

2014 Melanie Kulesz married Branden Lassen ’13 on Sept. 30, 2017. Clare Innes married Joshua Owen ’14 on April 28, 2018. Kimberly Howard Noble graduated with her Master of Arts in arts administration from Winthrop University in Dec. 2017. Kyle Ponder started working as a commercial loan closing specialist for HomeTrust Bank.

2015 Molly Smithson now resides in Portland, Ore., where she founded her own digital marketing firm, Arete Media.

2016 Tessa Frank graduated with a Master of Research in neuroscience from the University of Sussex and has begun a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Heidelberg University researching peripheral mechanisms of chronic pain. Mariah Ingram is engaged to Keaton MacLean and is scheduled to be married on June 20, 2018. Sarah Umsted accepted the position of South Carolina state director with Impact America. to learn more about benefits, upcoming events and ways to stay connected with your alma mater.







Community Change-maker Tamiko Ambrose Murray ’06

Tamiko Ambrose Murray ’06 has a challenge explaining where she works, but her degree from UNC Asheville helps her share how she is making an impact, right here in Asheville. As a writer, cultural organizer, co-founder of Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community, and director of Word on the Street , a bilingual arts and culture magazine run by youth of color, Murray does have quite a few titles. But the common thread that ties her career together is her passion for community, storytelling, and racial equity. In learning about education and the disparities that exist among students of color compared to their white counterparts, Murray was struck by the gaps in achievement, especially in literacy and math. “I started volunteering at Asheville Middle School. I was in the eighth grade classroom, and a good portion of the students had third grade reading levels,” Murray says. “Learning more about the world and why that is has propelled me on this journey.” UNC Asheville’s English faculty supported Murray’s development as a writer, and now she’s passing that mentorship on to the next generation. “ Word on the Street is a place where youth can totally be themselves. A place to feel safe, to feel seen, to feel believed in. We want them all to realize their full potential and to support them on that path, whatever it looks like. Not all youth identify themselves as writers or poets. Some are visual artists, some like web design. It’s really just about connecting them with their gifts and skills, and then nurturing them to be all that they can be. I believe every young person and adult should have that opportunity. The arts are a vehicle for community healing and transformation, and I think we need that.”



International Entrepreneur Madeline Delp ’17

Madeline Delp ’17 loves a good adventure. A self-described adrenaline junky, she’s traveled across the country and around the world, been surfing and skydiving, and performed in front of large crowds. Now she’s on to a new adventure— founding her own nonprofit, Live Boundless, which serves to educate and assist those who, like her, use a wheelchair. Live Boundless has already held its first fundraiser and launched the intro to a video series of the same name. The Live Boundless video series, which Delp began filming with Productions in a Box in Wilmington, N.C., kicks off with an episode on adaptive surfing. Other videos will include episodes on health, such as how to exercise in a wheelchair, episodes on traveling abroad and accessible cities, and inspirational talks.


As the Live Boundless organization grows, Delp hopes to take on some larger projects. “Removing barriers for those with disabilities on a legislative scale is extremely important for our team,” Delp said, “and we will begin working within our national structure to help enforce the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), advocate to maintain and enhance social health resources, and implement new standards of full accessibility, from helping to create more accessible playgrounds, to greater integration of those who are differently-abled into the workforce.” Delp, who has experienced accessibility issues in various countries during her travels, hopes to eventually make that effort international, as well. She’s also planning on using her double major in Spanish and German to begin translating the Live Boundless series, and she hopes to work on providing medical equipment and resources in third-world and developing countries. Delp’s advocacy began with a run for Miss Wheelchair America in 2016, in which she was named runner-up, and has continued through her most recent run and crowning as Ms. Wheelchair USA 2017—a role that keeps her busy, traveling the country and speaking with legislators, at conferences, and other events aimed at improving the lives of those living with disabilities. For Delp, it’s a dream come true. “Now after pushing through several very difficult situations over the past few years, I am finally getting to see my dreams become a reality,” Delp said.


alumni CU LT U R E EATS STR ATEGY FOR LU NCH . That’s a phrase we hear frequently in our work in higher education, and it’s one that we’ve given some thought to in the last few months as we grow our alumni programs here at UNC Asheville. It’s also given us a new idea—fewer alumni lunches and more meaningful connections. We are going to embrace our culture as one of the top universities for making an impact (thank you to The Princeton Review!) and make sure our efforts to reach out to you are as



meaningful as the work that you do. As we grow our alumni programs, I have prioritized building our National Alumni Council. As we enrich that council, we are being mindful of the UNC Asheville culture, examining models from across campus, including the Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees, as well as industry standards and best practices. I believe we need to also think outside the box and discern what is best for UNC Asheville, which may be a piece or a modification of a best practice. Also, if you’ve seen one board model… you’ve seen one board model; there are infinite ways to structure a board.

Join us for a weekend filled with fun and UNC Asheville spirit!

September 21-23

Our National Alumni Council is chaired by alumnus Mike Roach. The council meets three times a year, and this past September the council agreed to formalize our nominating process. Under Mike’s leadership we established our first committee and met via video


conference over a dozen times. At our winter meeting this February, the committee presented two action items for vote. The first was an official “Charter” to formalize the committee. The language reflects the Charter of the Board of Trustees and by-laws of the Foundation Board with similar standards to create is congruence. Our process as well as the nomination form can be found on our website, and any alumni can nominate themselves or be nominated throughout the year. Our subsequent vote was the unanimous passage of the slate, which consists of seven new alumni members for the council. Get to know them on our website, The National Alumni Council is our leadership pipeline into the university. We are eager to continue to work with and better define the Student Alumni Association, to extend that leadership opportunity to our students even before they join the ranks of our esteemed alumni. Of course, if you still want to get together for lunch, just let us know. We are always happy to hear from our alumni. GO BULLDOGS! Elizabeth Saxman Underwood ’01, Ph.D. Senior Director of Alumni Relations // // 828-232.5125


To find out how you can connect with Bulldogs in your area at upcoming alumni events, visit You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter at





From uncovering the mystery behind how tumors form and grow to researching trends in tropical rainfall across the Southeast, UNC Asheville students in chemistry, biology, and atmospheric sciences are using their scholarships to conduct original research in the areas of cancer, antibiotics, climate change, and more.

FOR SCHOLARS IN THE SCIENCES Through the National Science Foundation, the Atmospheric and Computer Science Exploratory Scholars (ACES) program provides scholarships for atmospheric sciences or computer science majors. Apply at The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Scholars Program, made possible by a grant from the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, supports biology and chemistry majors. Apply at



UNDER THE MICROSCOPE In their quest to develop new antibiotics, North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Scholars in Assistant Professor of Chemistry Amanda Wolfe’s research team use novel species of bacteria from UNC Asheville’s Rhoades Garden to produce antibiotics with improved activity against Staphylococcus aureus and E coli. As part of her cancer research with GlaxoSmithKline Professor of Molecular and Chemical Biology Ted Meigs’ team, scholarathlete Katie Brown succeeded in splicing DNA to create a fusion protein molecule in order to test a portion of the protein for interaction with cancer-implicated proteins. Sam Nance, also on Meigs’ team, has been making millions of copies of a gene to introduce specific changes to the DNA and see how this affects cells containing the altered gene.


BEYOND THE LAB NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Scholars Leah Bouthillette and Tess Handy are published in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. Several NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Scholars attended the 69th Southeastern Regional American Chemical Society Meeting in November 2017 in Charlotte, N.C. Jordan Hartig presented on her research with pestalone, a naturally-occurring antibiotic produced by marine fungus. Handy presented on the antibiotic extraction of bacterial strains, and Sita Schussler presented on how she optimized conditions for isolating antibiotic compounds from bacteria.

As a North Carolina native, senior atmospheric sciences major Chase Graham has been fascinated by the rainfall brought on by tropical storms and other weather events. Through NOAA’s Ernest F. Hollings scholarship, Graham used satellite data to research tropical cyclone rainfall patterns over 1998-2012 across the southeast region of the U.S. and presented his findings at the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) headquarters in Washington D.C. in August 2017. He plans to continue his research in graduate school. Atmospheric sciences major Carly Narotsky spent her summer using climate models to predict how the stratospheric polar vortex (the strong winds that encircle the Arctic and Antarctic at very high altitudes) will behave under climate change. While the results regarding the future strength of the vortex were inconclusive, her findings indicated the vortex could shift toward Northeast Asia, possibly creating colder winters in that region of the world. Her biggest success? “Presenting the research at the American Meteorological Society meeting in January 2018. It was so exciting to be able to share my research with experts on my specific research topic.”

Handy and Sarah Seaton also presented their antibiotics research at the 23rd annual Boston Bacterial Meeting in June 2017. Courtney Quick and Makenzy Mull from Meigs’ lab presented their research at the annual Experimental Biology meeting, a gathering of molecular and biochemists with more than 14,000 attendees from around the world, in April 2018 in San Diego, Calif.



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Newly Minted Capping off a successful student experience at UNC Asheville comes with a new tradition—alumni pins presented as part of our Commencement Ceremonies. Join us in celebrating the Class of 2018, our 90th anniversary academic year, as we tip our hats to the graduates. (Photo by Adam Taylor)

UNC Asheville Magazine Spring 2018  

UNC Asheville Magazine is published twice a year to give alumni and friends an accurate, lively view of the university—its people, programs...

UNC Asheville Magazine Spring 2018  

UNC Asheville Magazine is published twice a year to give alumni and friends an accurate, lively view of the university—its people, programs...