As a first-generation college student, David Laub is attuned to the disparities in opportunities for students like him especially if they come from a low-income background. For his efforts to connect top West Virginia University students with high school students, he has been awarded the Newman Civic Fellowship.
Laub, who is a 2016 WVU Foundation Scholar, created Mountaineer Mentors, a group of top scholarship students at WVU who want to connect with students at their high schools to help them seek a college education.
“I got the idea for Mountaineer Mentors after talking to some of my Bucklew and Foundation Scholarship classmates,” Laub said. “Many of them were significantly more qualified than me, but I noticed that it wasn’t because they were just astronomically smarter or more talented. Often, they were more aware of the opportunities available to them as well as what it took to become a competitive applicant to colleges and scholarships.”
Laub is one Honors College student who has made the most of the opportunities here at WVU while giving back to the community and the University. A junior majoring in biology and English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Laub is very involved in Global Medical and Dental Brigades, traveling to Nicaragua, Honduras and Ghana for public health work. He is an executive board member of Starts with Soap, a non-profit to promote healthy habits in at-risk youth. He has also worked as tutor in the testWELL Learning Center.
Laub believes fellow students connecting with their high schools can open up more opportunities for students like him. He piloted the program with his alma mater, Martinsburg High School, and the Mountaineer Mentors presented the program at Wheeling Park, Hurricane, Winfield and Shady Spring high schools.
“I’m confident these students would take advantage of these opportunities if they knew about them, so we strive to provide information that many might not have access to otherwise,” Laub said. “This includes everything from opportunities like GHA or knowing how to take initiative in the community to just knowing how to work the Common App. We also offer one-on-one counseling to help students develop concrete plans to reach their personal goals rather than offering solely general advice.”
“David knows that near-peer mentorship programs like the one he has created are such an important way to level the playing field for students considering college. We’re proud of his work and excited to see the results of his program,” said Amy Cyphert, director of the ASPIRE office,
The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth for students who have demonstrated a capacity for leadership and an investment in solving public problems. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities. The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.