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About Us

Our Mission

ONIA’s mission is to encourage and assist all Western Carolina University (WCU) students to apply for major national and international scholarships and fellowships and in the process to help all applicants develop self-awareness, improve writing and critical thinking skills, and create a vision for their future as leaders and innovators.

ONIA is committed to providing equitable access to information about national and international scholarships and fellowship opportunities to all WCU students. We regularly hold information sessions open to all students, actively reach out to academic departments and student groups, as well as engage in direct outreach to students.

ONIA is committed to promoting scholarship and fellowship opportunities that are accessible to applicants from all backgrounds. When opportunities are limited to a particular applicant pool by eligibility criteria (e.g. US citizenship) we actively seek to provide alternative opportunities whenever possible.

Finally, ONIA is committed to the principle that the application process itself is a noble endeavor that prepares students for life after graduation. Despite the outcome of the scholarship application, ONIA is committed to mentoring and encouraging students to reflect about their values and goals and assist whenever possible in articulating their post-graduate plans and future professional careers.

Our Staff




Dr. Ingrid Bego is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of International Studies Program at Western Carolina University. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree triple majoring in Political Science, German, and Spanish from Washburn University. She then went on to earn an MA and PhD in Political science from Washington State University. Her research focuses on issues of democratization, gender and politics, global governance and public policy. . Her book, “Gender Equality Policy in the European Union,” was published by Palgrave in 2015 and she is currently working on finishing her second book project with Routledge examining the role of gender on executive appointments in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe.

ONIA Council

ONIA Council Members help identify candidates and, as needed, mentor candidates for national and international awards. Typically, ONIA Council Members: 

  • Direct potential candidates to meet with the ONIA Director.
  • Forward information from ONIA to potential awards candidates.
  • As needed, review draft application materials for revision / improvement.
  • As needed, help in mock interviews.
  • Regularly meet to provide direction for ONIA.

For more information on ONIA Council Members or to become one, please contact Dr. Ingrid Bego.

ONIA Council Members, 2022-2023


Risto Atanasov

Department Head and Associate Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science


Christopher Cooper

Robert Lee Madison Distinguished Professor, Political Science


Mary Fischer

Associate Director, Advising Center


Jill Granger

Dean, Honors College


Luiz Felipe Lima Da Silveira

Assistant Professor, Biology


Wes Milner

Director, International Programs and Services


Theresa Cruz Paul

Director, Center for Career and Professional Development


Brian Railsback

Professor, English


Ben Steere

Director, Cherokee Studies, and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology


John Whitmire

Associate Professor, Philosophy and Religion


Bill Yang

Professor, College of Engineering and Technology

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