Our Staff

Program Assistant
Patty Harley : I am very excited to be a part of this energetic, adventurous, kid friendly team. I have two sons who were in Project Discovery~Talent Search and are now in college. I enjoy most outdoor activities and am open to new adventures and learning new things. I look forward to getting to know you as you come through the program.


Outreach Counselor
Cassie Dickson : I worked as a Project Discovery ~ Talent Search Counselor from 1994 to 2002. (Now I'm back!) I worked as a college counselor at an Episcopal boarding school in Vicksburg, Mississippi during my 4 year absence. I have two children. My son, Wicks has enjoyed the past four years serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and my daughter, Cody is about to graduate from the University of Mississippi. My interests include; weaving and fibercrafts, basketry, and teaching dance. I am a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. I love working with students and being apart of the Project Discovery~Talent Search team.


Outreach Counselor
Jessie Nosworthy:  Although I was born in Florida, I consider myself a Western NC native.  I graduated from Swain County High School and I, like you, was a Project Discovery~Talent Search student.  I went on to college at UNC-Chapel Hill where I got my degree in International and Area Studies (which all really means that I love to learn about other cultures and I love to travel... so I got a degree that allowed me to do both).  After graduating, I spent a year in South Korea where I taught English in a public elementary school.  Having been a student in the program mself, Project Discovery ~ Talent Search has helped me realize my ambitions and I'm excited to help upcoming students to do the same.


Outreach Counselor
Russ Harris : I grew up in Texas, Arkansas, and Virginia, where I graduated and went on to college at James Madison University. I got a degree in Business Administration, but my biggest lessons learned were that I enjoyed working with students and being outside. After spending a few years at a wilderness based school for youth, I went back to school for a Masters in education from Radford University. I enjoy spending time with my wife, hiking, fishing, playing basketball, reading, traveling, and watching my daughters learn new things.


Project Director
Todd Murdock : My roots are in Mitchell County NC. Like many of you hope to be, I am a first generation college graduate (WCU '85, '93). It took me so long to get my Master's degree in Counseling I thought they might name a building after me. I worked at Project Discovery~Talent Search as an outreach counselor for 8 years until I became the Director. My boss felt that since I stopped maturing at about middle school age, I was fit to be an administrator. I have been the director of Project Discovery ~ Talent Search since 1994.

Things I love to do: play at the park with my son Griffin , paddle creeks, go places on my bike, climb, hang out with students at school, and take my dogs to the river.

My two biggest fears in life: I get paid what I am really worth, and that I get what I really deserve.


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