Archive for August 28th, 2013

WCU couple connects adopted daughter with twin

“Good Morning America” and Fox Carolina, WHNS-TV out of Greenville, S.C., recently shared news stories about a quest that led Joseph Pechmann, associate professor of biology, and Karen Kandl, biology instructor and associate director at Highlands Biological Station, to the twin sister of their 7-year-old daughter Anna, who the couple adopted from the city of Feng Cheng in the Jiang Xi Province in China.

Kandl had noticed in an online community that Anna looked similar to a child named Ella who was from the same community as Anna and had been adopted by a couple in Michigan. When Kandl realized the girls had the same birthday, the couple contacted Ella’s parents to see if there was interest in exploring the possibility that the girls might be sisters.

“We did so because we thought it would be wonderful for Anna to have a biological sister in addition to her sister Becky, our biological daughter,” said Pechmann.

DNA testing confirmed that the girls are sisters, and the families recently met. The reports on Fox Carolina and on Good Morning America are available online.

 

Faculty member completes 600-mile bicycle ride

Al Kopak is greeted by his wife, Kim Kopak, and 2-year-old daughter Kayla at the conclusion of his approximately 600-mile ride from Cullowhee to Orlando.

Al Kopak is greeted by his wife, Kim Kopak, and 2-year-old daughter Kayla at the conclusion of his approximately 600-mile ride from Cullowhee to Orlando.

Al Kopak, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, rode his bicycle approximately 600 miles from Cullowhee to Orlando during a week in May.

Kopak’s parents drove a support vehicle, and he was greeted at the end of the ride by his wife, Kim Kopak, and 2-year-old daughter, Kayla. Kim Kopak is an administrative associate in the office of the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

WCU releases new commercial

Western Carolina University has posted a new commercial, which was created in-house by videographer and WCU alumnus Joseph Hader. The voiceover was performed by Zack Keys, a designer in creative services at WCU.

The commercial will air this fall during Catamount football games to be broadcast on ESPN-3, including games on Saturday, Sept. 7, against Virginia Tech and on Saturday, Oct. 19, against Wofford.

Latest issue of WCU magazine posted online

The issue of The Magazine of Western Carolina University for fall 2013 is now available online.

Cover of the Fall 2013 issue of WCU magazineFeature articles include “Binding Force: From the Townhouse to the Woodland Stage and the Old Mountain Jug, traditions keep us happily connected to our beloved university,” “Boston Strong: A former WCU track athlete describes the kindness of strangers in the wake of the marathon bombing,” and “The Bare Facts: Forty years ago, WCU was the epicenter of collegiate streaking in the U.S.”

In addition, the magazine includes a multimedia story with multiple videos and slideshows called “Test of Endurance: A couple builds a top school for outdoor responder training.

A PDF version of the print edition also is posted.

New mural unveiled in Belk Building

A new mural, "Tree of Life," was painted outside the office of the College of Fine and Performing Arts on the third floor of the Belk Building.

A new mural, “Tree of Life,” was painted outside the office of the College of Fine and Performing Arts on the third floor of the Belk Building.

The College of Fine and Performing Arts recently unveiled “Tree of Life,” a 26-by-9-foot mural outside the college’e office on third floor of the Belk Building that was pained by Sylva artist Austen Mikulka.

Austen Mikulka

Austen Mikulka

The piece depicts a community of larger-than-life bugs and a tree. Mikulka said he was excited with the textured look he was able to achieve with some of the bugs, such as the “fuzziness” of a giant bee.

The piece helps connect the arts community at WCU with the arts community of the greater Western North Carolina community, said Courtney Thompson, executive assistant with the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

WCU senior selected for UNC system’s new scholars program

University of North Carolina President Tom Ross (center) meets with six students from the University of North Carolina system participating in the inaugural year of the Marian Drane Graham Scholars Program. With Ross are, from left, Mark Hatcher of East Carolina University, Daniel Mull of Western Carolina University, Elizabeth White of UNC Pembroke, Sa'Metria Jones of UNC Charlotte, Kenya Kirkman of Winston-Salem State University and Brittany Reeves of UNC Chapel Hill.

University of North Carolina President Tom Ross (center) meets with six students from the University of North Carolina system participating in the inaugural year of the Marian Drane Graham Scholars Program. With Ross are, from left, Mark Hatcher of East Carolina University, Daniel Mull of Western Carolina University, Elizabeth White of UNC Pembroke, Sa’Metria Jones of UNC Charlotte, Kenya Kirkman of Winston-Salem State University and Brittany Reeves of UNC Chapel Hill.

Daniel I. Mull of Hayesville, a senior at Western Carolina University, was among six students from campuses of the University of North Carolina system who recently completed the inaugural year of the Marian Drane Graham Scholars Program.

Sponsored by the University of North Carolina General Administration in Chapel Hill, the new summer program provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills and gain a better understanding of issues facing public higher education in North Carolina.

During their experience, the students spent time with staff members in the General Administration offices and visited with policy leaders in state government and business. They also worked from 15 to 20 hours each week in a state government agency. Mull was assigned to the UNC system’s Center for International Understanding in Raleigh, where he researched the economics, education, demographics, culture, and diplomatic and humanitarian efforts of 193 countries in the United Nations to assist in the development of a strategic index for future programs.

The students also traveled to Washington, D.C., where they attended meetings with several political and educational leaders, and to all of their home campuses. In addition to WCU, they visited Winston-Salem State University, UNC Charlotte, East Carolina University, UNC Pembroke and UNC Chapel Hill.

As the culmination of the six-week experience, each student developed a capstone project focusing on a higher education issue. Mull’s project was titled “Teacher Evaluation in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of K-12 and Higher Education Evaluation Methods.”

Mull is a 2010 graduate of Hayesville High School. A music education major, he is the son of Juliah M. Dix and Kenneth Mull. Michael Schallock, WCU associate professor of music, is his academic adviser and faculty sponsor for the program.

The Marian Drane Graham Scholars program is named for the wife of Frank Porter Graham, former UNC president who served as a U.S. senator and United Nations representative.

Prospective students, families invited to WCU’s Sept. 14 Open House

Western Carolina University will open its doors to prospective students and their families and friends as the university holds its first Open House of the fall semester Saturday, Sept. 14.

Hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Open House gives visitors a chance to tour the campus, learn about the university’s wide array of academic programs, and find out the important details of topics such as financial aid. Prospective students attending on Sept. 14 also can pick up a free ticket to see WCU’s football team take on the Citadel that afternoon.

For interested students who cannot attend the Sept. 14 event, WCU’s second Open House of the fall will be held Saturday, Nov. 9. Campus tours also are available year-round by appointment for students and their families.

Preregistration for Open House and more information is available by going to the website openhouse.wcu.edu or by calling the Office of Undergraduate Admission at 828-227-7317 or toll-free 877-928-4968.

WCU, UNC Charlotte joint doctor of nursing practice program welcomes 1st students

The first students in a new doctor of nursing practice degree program offered by Western Carolina University in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte had their inaugural class meeting Monday, Aug. 19. From left, are program directors Shawn Collins of WCU and Dianna Inman of UNCC; WCU students Suzanne Greene, Jamison Lord, Karen Lewis and Cheryl Johnson; UNCC student Dianne Earnhardt; WCU student Sharon Reynolds; UNCC students Holly Wahab, My Linh Waldrop, Mariama Foh, Sherry Bernardo and Erika Gabbard; and WCU student Bryan Haslam.

A new doctor of nursing practice degree program offered by Western Carolina University in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte welcomed its first group of students as the fall semester got under way Monday, Aug. 19.

Six advanced-practice nurses from WCU along with six advanced-practice nurses from UNC Charlotte comprise the initial cohort of students in the new program, which was approved in February by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

Face-to-face courses taught at UNCC and at WCU’s new instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square in Asheville. The program’s first cohort met on the UNC Charlotte campus.

The new program offers specialties in family nurse practitioner, nurse anesthesiology and nursing administration, said Judy Neubrander, director of WCU’s School of Nursing. The DNP has begun this fall as a post-master’s program, giving students who have completed requirements for a master of science in nursing degree the option of continuing for another two years of study to receive a doctor of nursing practice degree. In 2016, the program will begin enrolling students who have bachelor’s degrees and who will start three years of study to earn their doctoral degrees in one of the three specialty areas, Neubrander said.

The DNP is the third doctoral-level academic program at Western Carolina. The university also offers doctoral degrees in educational leadership and physical therapy.

For more information about the DNP program, contact the WCU School of Nursing at 828-227-7467.

The Sixties to come alive at WCU

With “1960s: Take It All In” as the 2013-14 campuswide interdisciplinary learning theme, the WCU community will explore the legacy and lessons from a decade of political upheaval, scientific accomplishments, extensions of pop culture, artistic expression, and new synergy in feminism and civil rights.

New Wakeley endowed scholarship fund to benefit psychology students

Among the many roles held by the late John H. “Jack” Wakeley during his 35-year career in higher education, the one most dear to his heart was that of psychology professor because he loved both the subject matter and interacting with students in the classroom, says his wife of 54 years, Sue Wakeley of Cullowhee. “It was truly the love of his life to teach psychology,” she said recently.

Graduate students get helpful advice at orientation session

Western Carolina University students who are beginning their graduate studies this fall in Cullowhee relied on their GPS – Graduate Peer Scholar – to help them get started on the right path to degree completion during an orientation session sponsored Aug. 22 by WCU’s Graduate School.

Special announcement, reception to be held Sept. 3

Western Carolina University has scheduled a special announcement event and reception for Tuesday, Sept. 3. The event will begin at noon on the Central Plaza near the Alumni Tower on the WCU campus.

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