National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Western Carolina University has established itself as a national leader in undergraduate research and has a long-standing tradition of acceptance and participation in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. 

Students accepted to NCUR have the opportunity to present their undergraduate research along with peers from across disciplines. Since 1987, NCUR has been a flagship conference for undergraduate researchers to share, celebrate, and promote their research achievements. 

Eleven abstracts from WCU students were accepted to NCUR for the event scheduled April 8 – 10, 2024 conference. The conference will be held in Long Beach, California this year. Primary student presenters are acknowledged below by the College and Department they will represent. Congratulations to these students and their faculty mentors!


College of Arts & Sciences 

Anthropology & Sociology

Contributing Factors to Natural Human Mummification
Presenter: Alex Vacca
Faculty Sponsor: Kaleigh Best


Investigating the effects of urban noise on communication in birds: an experimental approach
Presenter: Emily Francis
Faculty Sponsor: Barbara Ballentine

Chemistry and Physics 

Microwave assisted synthesis of strontium fluoride nanoparticles.
Presenter: Elvis Perez Galarza

Faculty Sponsor: Channa De Silva

Computational studies of uranium terpyridine derivatives for potential nuclear waste applications
Presenter: Hayden Privette 
Faculty Sponsor: Channa De Silva

The Diffusion of Limonene through Paraffin Wax Using Infrared Spectroscopy
Presenter: Taylor Gregory  
Faculty Sponsor: Scott Huffman

English Studies

An Ethnographic Sociolinguistic Approach to Vowel Breaking in ‘Smalltown,’ NC
Presenter: Wyatt Wilson
Faculty Sponsor: Erin Callahan

A Lesson on Sexism: Saunder’s Unintentional Gender Discrimination in Liberation Day: Stories
Taleigh Verrault
Faculty Sponsor: Brian Railsback


Only Murders in the Paper: How Publications Enthralled Chicago, Elevated America’s First Serial Killer, and Evaporated Public Interest
Presenter: Emma Roy
Faculty Sponsor: Alexander Macaulay

Philosophy & Religion 

Definition Through Distance: Animals as the Sartrean Other
Presenter: Jared Ross
Faculty Sponsor: Katharine Mershon


College of Business 

School of Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, and Business Law

The Association Between Bank Account and Routing Number Online Payments and Six Consumer Assessment Characteristics
Presenter: Steven Hudspeth
Faculty Sponsor: Gary Curnutt

School of Economics, Management, and Project Management 

The Economic Effect of Food and Music Festivals on the Local Economy
Presenter: Emma Pope 
Faculty Sponsor: Steve Ha