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Kneller receives 2015 environmental health education award

Phillip Kneller, associate professor of environmental health, will be presented with the 2015 Jack B. Hatlen Award at the annual meeting of the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs in Orlando, Florida, on Monday, July 13.

Kneller received notice of the award in a recent letter from the organization which read, in part, “This award is given to individuals in recognition of their contributions to AEHAP and of their long-standing commitment to promoting excellence in environmental health education. Over the years, your commitment to AEHAP has been immeasurable. We appreciate all you do for us, students and the field of environmental health.”

Kneller was nominated by WCU colleagues Burton Ogle, Tracy Zontek and Brian Byrd, and was selected by the organization’s board of directors. The organization’s meeting takes place in concert with the National Environmental Health Association Conference in Orlando.

To learn more about the award, the organization or WCU’s environmental health program, reach Kneller at 828-227-2654 or

Garcia-Castanon wins poetry competition

Santiago Garcia-Castanon, professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages, won first prize in the 2015 Lincoln-Marti International Poetry Competition for “Las fronteras del amor” (“The boundaries of love”).

Santiago Garcia-Castanon

Santiago Garcia-Castanon

Garcia-Castanon is an award-winning poet and novelist in his native Spain and is the author of 14 books, including six poetry collections and two novels.

Science team discovers mosquito species in U.S.

A multidisciplinary science team from Western Carolina University recently published a manuscript in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association detailing the recognition of a mosquito species (Aedes pertinax) found for the first time in the United States.

Brian Byrd and student collect mosquitoes in this 2009 photo.

Brian Byrd and student collect mosquitoes in this 2009 photo.

The work was conducted by WCU faculty and staff members from the Environmental Health Program, Brian Byrd and Bruce Harrison, and forensic research scientists from the Department of Chemistry and Physics, Brittania Bintz and Mark Wilson. The team collaborated with the Indian River Mosquito Control District in Vero Beach, Florida, to complete its study.

A PDF copy of the research can be found at

Staff member helps edit new textbook about college diversity

A textbook titled “Exploring Issues of Diversity Within HBCUs” and co-edited by Western Carolina University’s College Student Personnel Program Director Adriel A. Hilton has been published.

HBCUsCoverHilton, along with three other editors, created the text for use in courses on diversity in higher education and sociology of higher education.

“This volume is an essential contribution to the literature on the historical and contemporary dynamics of diversity as well as the realities, challenges and opportunities associated with diversity work at historically black colleges and universities,” Hilton said. “The book’s four sections focus on the historical developments and socio-political factors impacting diversity work at HBCUs, organizational structure and philosophical approaches, challenges and opportunities facing particular populations, and an analysis of best practices.”

The text, edited by Hilton with Joelle D. Carter of Western Kentucky University, Derek Greenfield and Ted N. Ingram of Bronx Community College, was published by Information Age Publishing in the “Contemporary Perspectives on Access, Equity and Achievement” series, edited by Chance W. Lewis, Carolyn Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

It is available in hardcover and paperback editions, as well as an eBook. For more information on the text, see the publisher’s page

Dennison completes small business counselor certification

Tommy Dennison, business counselor at Western Carolina University’s Small Business and Technology Development Center, has successfully completed the National Development Council’s Economic Development Finance Professional certification program.

The nationally recognized program includes three weeklong classes and requires passing a rigorous four- to five-hour examination following each class. The training focuses on creating opportunities in the following areas: business credit, real estate finance analysis, loan packaging procedures, negotiating and problem-solving skills, and deal structuring techniques.

Dennison completed the certification in a cohort with 15 other staff members of the Small Business and Technology Development Center, a statewide business advisory service of the University of North Carolina system administered by N.C. State University and operated in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“We are committed to ensuring our counselors are as knowledgeable as possible,” Scott Daugherty, State Director of the SBTDC, said of the certification achievement. “The advanced competencies resulting from the EDFP certification will enhance the SBTDC’s capacity to help small to medium sized businesses secure capital to sustain growth.”

Dennison joined WCU’s small business program in 2013. He counsels, trains and provides support to small and midsize businesses with a concentration on the seven westernmost counties in Western North Carolina.

The SBTDC provides management counseling and education services to businesses throughout North Carolina from 16 offices across the state. For more information, visit

Retired professor’s ‘fool-the-eye works’ to be shown in Wisconsin

Paintings done by retired Western Carolina University professor Lee Budahl will be presented by the Wisconsin Union Directorate Art Committee at the Wisconsin Union Galleries’ Gallery 1308 in Madison, Wisconsin, Friday, June 12 through Tuesday, July 28.

“The paintings are in the trompe l’oeil (fool-the-eye) mode, which attempts to deceive the viewer into believing that a painted image is actually a three-dimensional object,” Budahl said. “This type of painting has existed from ancient Rome until today, when ‘shadows’ often appear at the edges of photos printed in magazines and advertisements.”
Budahl, who taught art at Western Carolina from 1972 to 2004, will be present at the exhibit’s opening reception on June 12, from 6 – 8 p.m.

"25 Three Vases" by Lee Budahl

“25 Three Vases” by Lee Budahl

In 2010, Budahl self-published a novel, “The Wars of the Littendahl Men,” and in 2011 wrote and drew a graphic novel for WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center called “Capt. Orr’s Badge.”

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