UNC Asheville Commencement to Honor 263 December Graduates
Tue, 12/10/2013 - 11:55am
UNC Asheville will hold its December 2013 Commencement, with 263 graduates receiving diplomas, at Kimmel Arena in the Sherrill Center on campus. The commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and is free and open to the public.
The commencement address will be delivered by Mary Lynn Manns, professor in the Department of Management and Accountancy. A member of the faculty for more than 30 years, Manns received two prestigious honors in 2013: UNC Asheville’s 12th Annual Distinguished Service Award, and the UNC Asheville Alumni Distinguished Faculty award. She is the co-author of Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas which made the “Books that Changed My Career” list on Amazon.com, and which has recently been translated into Chinese and Japanese. Her second co-authored book, More Fearless Change, is scheduled to be released in 2014.
This will be UNC Asheville’s third December commencement to be held in Kimmel Arena. In December 2011, some 222 graduates received diplomas and 243 students graduated in December 2012.
Among this year’s December graduates are five veterans or active members of the U.S. armed forces, who will wear red, white and blue cords. Nine students will receive graduate degrees – UNC Asheville’s Master of Liberal Arts.
Profiles of some distinguished December 2013 graduates:
- Katherine Culatta of Boone, North Carolina is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biology with a double major in art. Culatta conducted undergraduate research on plants found in high elevation rock outcroppings to study their acclimation to changes in cloud base height due to climate change. She presented her preliminary findings at the 2013 meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists and will submit her work soon to a peer-reviewed journal. She is applying for internships and plans to pursue graduate studies in botany.
Culatta also incorporates biology as a theme in much of her art work. Her recent lithography exhibition, “Symbolization of Species,” included a striking drawing of a plant not involved in her research – ginseng – on a background of legal tender. “At UNC Asheville, I was able to major in two totally disparate topics,” said Culatta. “That would have been difficult or impossible at a university with separate themed schools.” Culatta became familiar with ginseng when teaming with Andrew Watson (see next profile) and other biology students to share responsibilities for the treatments and observations involved in their botany research.
- Andrew Watson of Annapolis, Maryland earned a Bachelor of Science degree, double majoring in mathematics and biology. During his undergraduate research at UNC Asheville, he developed a mathematical model to predict the impact of harvesting upon wild ginseng populations, a topic important to the area’s economy and environment. This research project requires data to be gathered for many years into the future and will be continued by new UNC Asheville students. Watson also conducted undergraduate research in theoretical mathematics last summer after gaining entrance to a very competitive internship program at NC State University.
“I found that the professors at UNC Asheville, both in math and biology, were really invested in their students,” said Watson. “I got lot of support.” Watson is now seeking a graduate school program in applied mathematics.
- Peter Doyle of London, U.K. is an award-winning journalist who has worked for PBS’ NOVA, CBS and NBC News, Discovery Science and other broadcasters. He came to UNC Asheville specifically for its certificate program in “Climate Change in Society,” and earned a Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) degree. As part of his studies, Doyle worked with the federal National Climatic Data Center and UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center to produce a series of video shorts using animation to explain climate changes on a global scale.
“The MLA program is very valuable, especially for someone who already has a specialty,” said Doyle, who earned a degree in chemistry in the U.K. before beginning his U.S. broadcast career. “I’m now very interested in teaching and the Liberal Arts give me that broad base … a breadth of understanding about things.” Doyle is in discussions with MIT, Wake Forest and other universities about possible teaching posts.
- Laura Gardner of Cincinnati, Ohiowill graduate after only three and a half years of study with a Bachelor of Science in health and wellness promotion and a minor in environmental studies. She already has accepted a job as area marketing manager with Community Health Network, a health management firm offering health coaching and workplace wellness consulting. Gardner gained the experience and connections she needed to land this position through her role organizing and directing the university’s fourth annual health fair at Kimmel Arena earlier this fall, by working part-time for the N.C. Center for Health & Wellness, by serving as coordinator for the Sherrill Center Wellness Ambassadors, and through her undergraduate research, which focused on the relationship between exercise and the “work/family interface.”
For complete information about arrangements for December 2013 commencement, visit news.unca.edu/commencement