Student wins scholarship to participate in international conference

Casey Icenhour works with testing equipment in a laboratory at The Kimmel School.

Casey Icenhour works in a laboratory at The Kimmel School.

Western Carolina University student Casey Icenhour will attend the international Student Technology Conference at Yale University in June on the Senti-Merriman Scholarship, which is awarded to one student across the country each year.

Icenhour, a junior from Lenoir majoring in electrical engineering, works with the student computing team at WCU and will assist his colleagues with two WCU presentations at the conference.

He will join Andy Voelker, manager of the student computing team in Technology Commons, and Brad Semma, a technology support analyst with the student computing team, in a presentation about WCU’s collaboration in developing the Technology Commons. Technology Commons, which opened in Hunter Library in the fall, brings together a large computer lab, help desk, software training, computer repair, equipment checkout and several other Information Technology services.

“Great effort went into combining these services and sharing resources and personnel between teams,” said Voelker.

Their second presentation at the conference will be centered on successful efforts to reduce WCU malware by 75 percent in the last year.

At WCU, Icenhour is the recipient of the T. Ray and Frances Louise Gibbs Endowed Scholarship, which is a full, four-year scholarship to WCU.

“I was looking for a computer or electrical engineering program at a state school,” said Icenhour when he spoke at the WCU Foundation’s recent annual scholarship lunch. “Being from the mountains myself, WCU’s location was already making it look attractive to me. I was offered a four-year scholarship, so Western Carolina seemed an even better and better idea. What sealed the deal was when I talked to the department head, who specifically remembered my name and who I was, just from my application.”

Icenhour is the son of Gary and Cindy Icenhour of Lenoir and was a 2008 graduate of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.

“Western Carolina University has given me an environment where I could learn and pursue my interests freely, not as a number in a 300-student class, but as an individual person,” he said. “Rather than being instructed by teaching assistants, I learn directly from experts and professionals in the field. Western Carolina emphasizes the individual, rather than trying to fit me into a rubric or curriculum.”