College of Arts and Sciences Catalyst Alumni

The College of Arts and Sciences recognizes alumni who personify our College's commitment to excellence. Through outstanding professional achievements and contributions to their communities, these individuals are leading the way for our region, our state, and beyond. They also reflect the finest traditions of our Western Carolina University and our College. We are proud to name them a WCU CATALYST!

MEET THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES CATALYSTS

2016

Adam Griffith

“Do the best you can in academics; this will help you stand out and get noticed by your professors and give you more opportunities. If you are doing your best, doors will open.”

Amanda Buchanan-Gambill

“I’ve been able to experience so many different types of medicine and clientele. Every day I’m faced with a unique set of challenges in potentially unfamiliar settings.”

Angela Reece

“Along the way there were many people who doubted and discouraged me, but you have to surround yourself with supporters. Never give up; education is the key to success both personally and professionally.”

Anita Rose

“I place a heavy emphasis on helping women find their voices. Being able to connect with students is my biggest achievement.”

Bill Hathaway

“You need to be well-rounded and have the ability to communicate with team members and customers. It doesn’t matter if you have a 4.0 GPA; if you can’t communicate, you won’t get the job.”

 

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

“There is so much you can do with a degree in history. Open your imagination to its synergy with other professions and interests.”

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce "Bud" Katz

“I chose literature and writing because I love words. And in retirement I imagined myself doing a great deal of reading and writing, and I didn’t want to squander either activity on anything of inferior quality.”

Cale Thornburg

“When a student tells me about the positive impact that I have made, it lets me know that I am fulfilling my purpose. The greatest accomplishment that I receive as a teacher is when a student comes up and tells me thank you.”

Catherine Scully

“My little horror television script that was a homework assignment for my last semester of college became the novel that landed a literary agent. I finished what I started and had the courage to query and network.”

Catherine Brown

“My undergraduate degree further developed an interest I already had. When I got to WCU, I had a love for history. And I carried it with me when I left.”

 

Cayli Meizel-Lambert

Cayli Meizel-Lambert

Cayli Meizel-Lambert

I would not change any part of what I did to get here. I know it will one day pay off and it will be worth everything in between.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Turner

“My greatest achievement would have to be the act of finishing up that degree despite numerous significant challenges and obstacles along the way. There are many ways to arrive at the final destination, so it was important to be flexible and adaptive if things didn’t go as originally planned.”

 

Geis

Christopher Geis

Christopher Geis 

“WCU gave me a tremendous foundation: a foundation for being a good citizen, good officer, and member of the bar.

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Steddum

Christopher Steddum

Christopher Steddum

“Though dentistry is a professional science, it’s also an artistry that involves a lot of craftsmanship. It’s very unique in that way.”

 

 

 

 

 

Cody Wingler

Cody Wingler

Cody Wingler

“Do what you love and what you’re passionate about. Never give up on that dream.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colin Gage

“You need to work hard but you also need a balanced life. You need to find time to enjoy life and all the beautiful outlets the mountains have to offer.”

Curtis Beimborn

“Start undergraduate research early. You may think you like an area, but it may be different than what you imagined once you get your hands on it.”

 

Curtis Lorenz

Curtis Lorenz

Curtis Lorenz

“The exposure to scientific instrumentation and microscopy at the university made my transition to the workforce easy. It made me instantly valuable to my employers straight out of college.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danielle Crocker

“Employers just want to see that you can commit to something for four years. But your experiences are more important than a piece of paper.”

David Morgan

“I would never have imagined I would continue on a trajectory that would have me presenting research or lecturing on a weekly basis or annually submitting roughly 15 proposals to various funding agencies. I will always be grateful to those at WCU who encouraged me to pursue my interest and not to be afraid to take risks in doing so.”

 

 

Dawn Cusick

Dawn Cusick

Dawn Cusick

“The combination of critical thinking and creativity that biology requires will make your everyday life a richer experience. That combination of skills translates well in so many work environments.”

 

 

 

Dustin Washburn

“The road to where I am has not been easy. It has shown me how ambition can pay off and to not underestimate one’s own potential. No current student should underestimate the goals they can achieve.”

Ed Jordan

“Students should learn all they can; you never know what will be of big help. Your degree from WCU will only give you a good start; the major ingredient in success is still hard work.”

Elizabeth McLean

“Make your best effort; don’t just get by. Aim for the stars because even though it can be stressful, it is worth it.

 

Cornette

Ellen Cornette

Ellen Cornette 

“Having hired graduates out of college, it’s interesting how some come into the workplace with no actual experience. They attempt to do what is expected out of an experienced employee. Many get frustrated and discouraged. All universities should have a technical internship requirement.”

 

 

Gary Grindstaff

“Success and happiness means different things to different people. I've strived to be the best husband, father, now grandfather, boss, and caring dentist I can be.”

George Pankiw

“Embrace the opportunity to get the best out of your curriculum. And don’t let anyone discourage you in your ideas and goals.”

Harry Nolan

“It’s just like the guy who stays late to shoot three-pointers. Nothing replaces you staying late in the laboratory when everyone else goes home.”

Irene Van Hoff

“Whether you take your education to the next level or not, be mindful to take each hurdle you encounter as an opportunity to develop proficiency. Obstacles can be unpleasant because they take us out of our comfort zone. Once overcome, we usually come out more experienced, smarter, and better prepared for the next jump.”

Janine Keever

“My professors made me what I am today. I would not change anything about my education or time at WCU.”

 

Jason Ward

Jason Ward

Jason Ward

“You can’t get niched in just one thing. You have to be diverse, work extremely hard, and create your own path. The history professors at WCU taught me that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Doyle-Corn

Jennifer Doyle-Corn

Jennifer Doyle-Corn

“Take advantage of the expertise, experience, and guidance that the English faculty has to offer. They are invested in their students; that fact, coupled with the smaller teacher-to-student ratio, truly gives Catamounts an advantage over students at other universities.”

 

 

Jennifer Veilleux

“Don’t listen to those who tell you that a degree in English is useless. It might take creativity, hard work and time, but it’s possible to make a living pursuing what you love.”

 

Jeremy Finison

Jeremy Finison

Jeremy Finison

“While WCU has grown by leaps and bounds since I graduated, that ‘small town’ mindset is still valued. Professors care that you understand the basic concepts. You get to know them, and they know your name.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Davis

John Rogers

“Geology students at WCU are just now going down their paths. And new discoveries are just ahead. Who knows where this will take them.”

Julia McLeod

“The graduate English Department is both academically challenging and of the highest quality, laying a solid foundation for anyone who hopes to pursue a path in English higher education.”

 

Keith Ramsey

Keith Ramsey

Keith Ramsey

“Don’t chase the money. Find something you’re passionate about and pursue it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly Holder

“Listen to your professors and find a true passion. Then apply your heart, mind, and soul to being a good student so that you can go forward into the future with optimism.”

 

Kortney SchumannKortney Schumann

Kortney Schumann

“There will be many times when you are ready to be done; when you're ready to stop the continuous work that never gives the results you want. It will require a lot of time and effort even when you feel like you no longer have it in you, but you will be amazed at what you can achieve.”

 

 

 

 

Kristin Cooke

Kristin Cooke

Kristin Cooke

“Load up on research. It will help you earn experience and will make you an asset to future employers.”

 

 

 

Laura Lauffer

“My time as a student allowed me to create sustainable technologies and enjoy the outdoor area. It was the best time of my life.”

Lucile Teague

“Learn and soak up all you can from your professors. They are there to teach and do research with students, so take advantage of the time they spend with you.”

Lynda Morgan

Michael Shepard

“Though growth once bought the new lab equipment, I don’t want WCU to lose sight of the opportunity for a close relationship between teachers and students. It can’t lose the personal touch that made a difference in my education.”

 

Mike Blackmon

Mike Blackmon

Mike Blackmon

“Be imaginative and pursue what interests you. Life is not a linear path.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike McCloy

Mike McCloy

Mike McCloy

“Network with other students, professors and professionals in your field. Take advantage of summer internships; they will help you obtain a job when you graduate by contributing to your resume.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy Butkovich

“When I graduated from WCU, I had absolutely no idea I’d end up making librarianship my career. But that’s what happened, and I like to think I’ve been successful in it.”

 

Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome

“If you stay in STEM as a career, get ready for a lifetime of learning. WCU will give you a solid foundation, but it will be up to you to determine out how best to chart your path.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salvatore Lettieri

Salvatore Lettieri

Salvatore Lettieri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Rockett

Stephanie Rockett

Stephanie Rockett

“Sometimes our mentors can spot in us the strengths we cannot readily see for ourselves. So listen carefully, learning to then become your own best spokesperson.”

 

 

 

 

Stephen Gheen

“Aim very high for your life.”

Sue Bridgers

“One of the most important things anyone can do is teach. That is a great stepping stone for any career.”

Thomas "Ted" Meigs 

“Fred [Coyle] once told me of the joy he experienced watching his research students launch into productive, successful careers. And now I have a career in which I experience the same thrill as I observe the triumphs of my students.”

 

Timothy Gillespie

Timothy Gillespie

Timothy Gillespie

“Not only did WCU give me the scientific building blocks for a career in healthcare, but a well-balanced liberal arts education as well. I was able to balance the requirements for a bachelor's in chemistry with other coursework which helped expand my worldview.”

 

 

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