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Meet the Grads: Jordan Nistendirk

Students from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will  celebrate Commencement virtually on Saturday, May 16 as they graduate from West Virginia University, ready to take on the world.  

As Commencement is upon us, several of our Eberly College graduates reflect on their time at WVU and their plans for the future.


For Charleston native Jordan Nistendirk, attending West Virginia University has been a journey toward confidence. 

Jordan Nistendirk

“I started college as a shy, anxious teenager who was nervous to be away from home and absolutely terrified I wouldn't find my niche at WVU,” he said. “Instead of finding one niche, I found several. I studied anything that interested me, joined any club

I thought might be fun and met so many brilliant people who inspired me. If someone told me freshman year that I'd figure out how to balance two majors and two minors, several student organization commitments and dozens of friendships, I would have been absolutely dumbfounded to learn about the personal challenges I would overcome in four years.”  

As a political science and history major with leadership roles in several student organizations, he even conquered his worst fear – public speaking.

“Public speaking was the bane of my existence until I came to college. Regularly speaking at student government meetings and student panels, sometimes with hundreds of people watching me, cleared that right up!” Nistendirk said. “I have become so much more confident and assertive than I ever would have dreamed.”  

Jordan Nistendirk doing community service with friends

Nistendirk has even gone to present at several conferences and research symposia. He attributes mentorship from Professor Katherine Aaslestad for motivating him to pursue undergraduate research.

“Dr. Aaslestad works tirelessly to help her students succeed and always encourages us to strive to be better. I was nervous to face this new challenge, but she never stopped supporting me. She invested so much effort into helping prepare me for all these opportunities, but I was completely unprepared for how much fun I would have,” Nistendirk said. “Working on my undergraduate research made me so much more confident, and I will take these experiences with me for the rest of my life. I could not be more thankful to have worked with Dr. Aaslestad during this incredible, transformative time.” 

Jordan Nistendirk with Student Government Association members

Though May Commencement will take place virtually this year, Nistendirk will not let that stop him from celebrating.  

“Since freshman year, I've been dreaming of walking across the stage with my cap, gown and the tassels from all my favorite student organizations,” Nistendirk said. “While the in-person ceremony is postponed until December, I won't let that keep me from wearing my gear in May! I'm going to take photos in my cap and gown at some of my favorite spots in Morgantown before I leave. These special ‘last’ memories on campus may not be what I planned, but I will still be able to look back on them with nothing but fondness and pride.”