UNC Asheville is an award-winning university (way to go, Bulldogs) that prides itself on a talented faculty and staff + specialized programs that attract students from all walks of life. The stories of the university’s impact can be told through students on campus and staff members making a difference throughout the local community — and beyond.
Meet three professors contributing to the university’s initiative to make a positive community impact — and the exciting projects they’re currently working on.
Kathleen Lawlor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics
What happens when a community is destroyed by urban renewal? Kathleen and a team of UNC Asheville students are working diligently to find answers to this question by analyzing 170+ boxes of historical documents now housed in UNC Asheville’s Special Collections and University Archives.
Kathleen hopes some of the answers can be found in maps, images, and detailed documents of ~1,240 Asheville homes, lots, and businesses that were demolished or repurposed during the city’s urban renewal campaigns from the 60s to 90s — campaigns that predominantly impacted Black communities. See what the project is uncovering. 📖
Landon Ward, Ph.D., Lecturer of Environmental Studies
Landon teaches environmental studies with a specialty in herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians. He works with several local organizations, including the Asheville City Schools Foundation and My Daddy Taught Me That, to empower youth + to bring STEM-focused programs to local students who wouldn’t usually have access to hands-on experiences.
You’ll find Landon visiting classrooms, after-school programs, and out in the community discussing the importance of environmental awareness; showcasing the flora and fauna that can be found in our backyards right here in Asheville; and sparking an interest in STEM for students who might not have been interested in science before.
Amanda Wray, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
60+. That’s how many students and volunteers who are currently working to help build the LGBTQIA+ Archive housed in the Ramsey Library at UNC Asheville. Led by Amanda Wray, Ph.D., the project focuses on collecting the history of the LGBTQ+ population in and around Asheville with the help of Blue Ridge Pride.
“I am intentional to pair LGBTQ+ youth with LGBTQ+ elders, so that they can interview one another,” Amanda told the Mountain Xpress in 2021, noting the importance of intergenerational dialogue to deepen the community’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, identity and history. “If you aren’t talking to your elders now, what the hell are you waiting for?” *