Skip to main content

2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Kalynn Spaid

In association with the ongoing generosity of the Eberly family, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board established the Eberly Scholars program in 1988. Each year, up to 25 students majoring in the arts and sciences are designated as Eberly Scholars. They are provided with scholarship support in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement. This award is the Eberly College’s most prestigious scholarship honor for undergraduate students. Meet all of this year's Eberly Scholars.

Kalynn Spaid 
Hometown: Oakland, Maryland 
Major: Social Work 
Minor: Addiction Studies

How did you choose your major?

I have always had a desire to spend my time helping others. My college journey has been filled with obstacles, triumphs and surprises. It took me longer than desired to name and claim a major. Coming to WVU as a transfer student, I thought I was 100% certain psychology was my destiny. Then, a former professor planted the idea of social work in my mind. When I began the transferring process, I quickly realized psychology alone would not substantiate the qualifications I would need to fulfill my career desires. I immediately contacted WVU’s School of Social Work. As soon as I walked into Knapp Hall and engaged in discussion with the School of Social Work faculty, I knew social work was the career for me.

Kalynn Spaid and classmates in the WVU Mountainlair

How would you explain your major to an incoming student? What advice would you give them?

Social work is not just advocating or alleviating the conditions of those in need. Social work is a gift, a gift that is priceless. It is an honor to serve humanity. Social work is about being “good” for the greater good. The advice I would give to an incoming student would be to ensure you have a good support team, time to care for yourself and spend as much time as you can with the other students in your cohort. These things ensure success, and, after all, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

How has your major prepared you for your future career?

Kalynn Spaid and friend

So far, my major has prepared me by introducing me to professors who instill within me the core values, foundations and implementations of social work. My major has also prepared me by not only teaching me the detailed principles of social work but also guiding me to put these skills in action.

How have you changed since your first year at WVU?

I have changed greatly since my first year at WVU. It is important to note that change is usually accompanied by growing pains. This journey has been painful at times. However, the joys of the journey outweigh the rest. Since my first year at WVU, I have become more open-minded, empathetic, courageous, independent and ready for the next phase of my journey.

Kalynn Spaid and friends with Bob Huggins

What was your most memorable moment at WVU?

My most memorable moment so far was meeting Coach Bob Huggins in the Mountainlair. This made me feel like a true Mountaineer.

What was the hardest (Eberly College) class that you loved? Why?

Hands down, the hardest class I have taken and loved so far at WVU has been Families and Society, a course in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology with Professor Lee Thorpe. To this day, I can’t wrap my head around the reason this class was so challenging. Although it was tough, this was one of my favorite courses. Professor Thorpe made it engaging, exciting and memorable. I still refer to the study skills and foundational content I learned from SOCA 221 as a tool in my current courses.

What makes you feel connected to WVU? What have been your keys to success?

There are a few special ways that make me feel connected to WVU. One that touches my heart a little extra and creates a deeper drive for success in me is what my accomplishments at WVU would mean to my late great-grandpa. Poppy “Slim” Arnold was an early Mountaineer Mascot and stellar student. Next, I have had the opportunity to work as a federal work study student in WVU’s Career Services Center. The faculty and staff there have provided me with endless support and guidance. In addition, the School of Social Work has encouraged me and gracefully pushed me to be successful. Serving as the president of the Bachelor of Social Work student organization, I have felt a deeper sense of belonging. I am also involved in a Bible-based study group through my church in Morgantown that has supported me. I know, without a doubt, that I have been successful because of my faith, my family and my cohort.

Kalynn Spaid hiking in the Appalachian Mountains during fall

Why would you recommend WVU to a sibling or friend?

I would recommend WVU for the unique experience that challenges you to be the best for yourself. WVU encourages you to achieve great things for the benefit of others, but mainly to become the best you can be.

Do you have a favorite professor or instructor here? What makes them special?

As a transfer student, I have been honored to learn from so many amazing professors and instructors. The School of Social Work professors and instructors have been equally amazing. As a team they are my favorite. I could not imagine any of them without the others.They have all correspondingly influenced me as a student.

Describe the best thing thatʼs happened to you at WVU.

I am a firm believer in “the best is yet to come,” but I have experienced so many great things already. The best thing that has happened so far at WVU is becoming friends with others in my cohort. I canʼt imagine traveling this journey without them.

What was your reaction when you heard you were selected as an Eberly Scholar? How has this opportunity made a difference in your life?

When I heard I was designated as an Eberly Scholar, I was filled with amazement. I was stunned, excited, honored and humbled all at once. This recognition helped me to alleviate a financial burden and has boosted my confidence.