Volunteer of the Month:

 Lukisa Harmon

Lukisha Harmon is our September 2015 UP Volunteer of the Month!  Lukisha is taking a recreation therapy class and has completed more volunteer hours than we can count, while also taking last minute shifts and even the harder homework shifts with our UP students this semester.  She understands the benefits of inclusion and what it takes to support our students in many areas throughout their college experience.  We appreciate Lukisha's reliability and time with the UP students.

Kirsten MacWilliams

Kirsten MacWilliams is our October 2015 UP Volunteer of the Month!  Kirsten has been working with UP students since last semester beginning in her RTH 200 class.  She has stepped up and continued to support two of our UP students in their first aid and psychology classes this semester.  Every week she is great about helping our students during class times and also working with them outside of class each week on their homework.  Thanks Kirsten for helping us with academics this semester!

Lukisha and Kirsten​ are both shining examples of the qualities of a role model and leader we highly value in our volunteers.  We truly appreciate your continued dedication to the UP program and could not do it all without you!

 Cody Mead

Cody Mead


Educational Support

Center for Service Learning

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UP Volunteer Biographies
The UP Program has approximately 200 volunteers (unpaid natural supports) each semester. A good volunteer is one who:
  • Shows professionalism
  • Knows how to be flexible
  • Is dependable and responsible
  • Is patient and understanding
  • Wants to be involved in trainings and campus activities
  • Is not too protective and allows students to learn some things on their own when possible
  • Sets high expectations for students
  • Knows how to have fun while being a good role model
  • Knows how to talk through issues with studentss in a calm and adult manner
  • Takes leadership roles and exhibits good problem-solving skills
  • Reports information to UP Program personnel
  • Works as a team member with other students and UP Program personnel

We like to show appreciation to our dedicated volunteers through our "Volunteer of the Month" feature. These individuals go above and beyond to help provide a positive college experience to our UP students.

Meet Some of Our Current Volunteers



Molly Lancaster Molly Lancaster

Molly Lancaster is a senior from Greensboro, North Carolina, majoring in Recreational Therapy. She has been working with the UP program for two years  and is currently a paid support. Molly said, " I gain so much joy working with the UP Progam. Its something I look forward to doing everyday. The UP students help me build a better understanding of community more than I would have understood in any other club or organization. ". Molly plans to continue working with the UP Program until she graduates in the spring of 2016.


Abby Killian (Left)

Abby Killian

Abby Killian is a senior this year at Western Carolina from Hickory, NC. She is majoring in Communication Science and Disorders and minoring in Business Administration. She has been working with the UP Program for two years and is currently a paid support. Abby said, "At first I was working with the UP program because it was mandatory for my class. However, I quickly fell in love with the UP students and the program! I thought I was going to be the one teaching the UP students but in reality they were the ones teaching me new things every day!" Not only has she gained many rewarding memories and experiences but also new and amazing friendships!

 Morgan Hartley

Morgan Hartley

Morgan is a senior from Lenoir, NC. Her major is Recreational Therapy and this is her second year with the UP program. After transferring in from a community college, she wanted to become involved with the WCU community. After finding out about the UP program, she started volunteering right away! She has learned so much from the program and the UP students, her only regret is that she could have begun volunteering sooner. She feels blessed to have a hand in supporting the lives of the students and creating relationships with them. The UP program has truly made a huge impact on her and her outlook on life. She looks forward to seeing the program and the UP students grow and prosper in the years to come.



Grayson ColemanGrayson Coleman

Grayson Coleman is a junior from Burlington, NC, majoring in Communication Science Disorders. She has worked with the UP Program for a year and has been eager to stay a part of our UP Team. Grayson plans to be a paid natural support for the next school year. Grayson said, “It’s just a feeling you get within yourself when you see their faces light up when they see you. They’ve impacted my life just as much as I’ve impacted theirs, if not more. It’s something I enjoy doing and I can’t wait to make more memories with the UP students.” Grayson plans to be a committed team member with UP Program until she graduates in the Spring of 2017.

To learn more about what the UP program means to Grayson, check out her blog post




Lisa ShopeLisa Shope

Lisa Shope is a junior this year at WCU from Gastonia, NC. She is majoring in Inclusive education. She has been working with the UP program for one year and is currently a paid support.





Kristan BuchananKristan Buchanan

Kristan is a sophomore at Western Carolina and is from Morganton, NC. She is majoring in inclusive education and this is her second year working with the UP Students. Once being involved with the Whee Teach Program, Kristan needed to earn service hours and came across the UP program. She heard about the program through family and friends and immediately got involved. Although she joined to earn service hours, she soon learned that working with the UP students was much more than gaining hours. She looked forward to working with the students each week and began to be daily involved with the program. The UP students taught her so much about college and life when she expected it to be the other way around. Kristan looks forward to spending her next three years of college working with the UP students and creating friendships that last a lifetime. 


Lauryn O'Brien


Lauryn O'Brien

Lauryn O'Brien is a sophomore at Western Carolina University majoring in recreational therapy and minoring in psychology. She is from Spivey's Corner, North Carolina, and is volunteering with UP for her second year.  She loves volunteering with the UP program and spending time with the UP students. 



Taylor BroadwayTaylor Broadway

Taylor Broadway is a sophomore at WCU studying Nursing and Spanish. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, cycling, reading, cooking, and doing anything outdoors! She is from Asheville, North Carolina.  She said, “My experience with the UP Program began last year in my Nursing 101 class when I met Trace Shuler. My heart lit up at the idea of making a new friends and making a positive difference at the same time so I volunteered. Working with Trace was one of the most meaningful experiences of my college career thus far. Trace, as well as other UP students that I met are wonderful and will brighten anyone’s day. Everyone involved in the UP Program is pivotal and awesome I am so happy to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful people! I plan to continue working in depth with this program throughout my college experience.”


Emily WallEmily Wall 

Emily Wall is a  junior studying inclusive education with a strong focus on special education.She is going into her second year as a UP support, and plans to be a paid support in the spring.She said, "The feeling you get when you gain the trust and dependability from the UP students is indescribable. You get the chance to be a mentor, and more importantly a friend - and I promise they'll teach you things you never knew about yourself. The UP program is filled with constant encouragement and it's amazing."


Mary VMary Vieregge

Mary Vieregge is a senior from New Bern, North Carolina majoring in Recreational Therapy.  This is her second year at Western Carolina and second year volunteering with the UP program.  Having an older sister that has Down's syndrome, she was very exited to hear about the UP program through one of her classes and has enjoyed every minute spent with the students.  She not only considers them some of her dearest friends but as some of the best teachers of how to look at the world a little differently.  For her, it's not only been a growing experience, but a life-enhancing one.  

Kalie DeatonKalie Deaton

Kalie is a first year Speech-Language Pathology graduate student from Arden, NC. She began volunteering with the UP Program during her junior year and by the second semester she began working as a scheduler for the program. As a graduate assistant for the program, she hopes to continue to provide natural support in many areas for the UP students that she is so lucky to call her friends. Kalie is excited to see how the program and the students will grow over her next two years at WCU.


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