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2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Tristen Nichols

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.

Tristen Nichols
Hometown: Elkview, West Virginia
Majors: English and Interdisciplinary Studies
Minors: Psychology, Philosophy and Italian 

How did you choose your major?

Choosing a major was a complicated process for me. By the time I'd finished high school, I still hadn't pinpointed what direction I wanted to take. So, I applied to WVU as undecided and remained undecided until New Student Orientation when I switched  to psychology. The field was interesting, and it led me to a few incredible friends and professors. However, after taking a few English classes for my general education requirements, I was quickly captivated. Since then, I've changed my major to English with a creative writing area of emphasis, and I kept psychology as a minor.  

Tristen Nicholas

How has your major prepared you for your future career?

I've changed my mind about dream careers since I was young, from archaeologist to petroleum engineer. However, once I entered college, I thought I should reverse-engineer the career I want; I should focus on my interests and talents first and  fi nd careers that suit them. Once I decided that English was my shtick and that I wanted to continue my education after undergrad, it seemed like law school would be a great fit for me. In fact, law schools often favor students with a myriad of courses and interests, which was really encouraging. I have lofty dreams of being a judge, but I'd like to take things one step at a time for now.  

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

One of the most challenging and enjoyable classes I've had thus far was my course on Shakespeare. I took ENGL 263 with Dr. John Lamb last year, and I had no idea what to expect. I was exposed to Shakespeare in high school, and we memorized a few soliloquies, but it was never intensive. I partially wanted to take the course to decide, with some finality, whether or not I was a "fan." When I first began the class, I immediately found myself struggling. The readings and analyses we did were much more involved than what I expected. I found myself meticulously reading plays while listening to an audio recording to absorb more information. Dr. Lamb is an excellent lecturer, which helped to solidify what I learned. The readings became easier, I picked up some new vocabulary, and I even understood a few jokes enough to get a genuine chuckle. All in all, I'd say I'm a fan now.

Tristen Nichols at a basketball game

Why would you recommend WVU to a sibling or friend?

I'd recommend WVU to someone looking to go to college based on the sense of community alone. Despite both of my parents being alumni, I was determined to explore other options, so we visited several other universities before I made my decision. While they each had their perks, once I stepped foot in Morgantown, it was evident that I was in the right place. The city is bright, the people are lively, and the memories are plenty. WVU manages to be big enough to get lost in but small enough to feel like home.

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

Honestly, my favorite instructor would be my Italian professor, Beatrice Malvisi. Not only is she a talented professor, but she truly makes me eager to come to class every day. I've had her for a couple years now, and her knowledge, jokes and tidbits know no bounds. She helps to nurture us when the material is difficult while allowing us to be independent when it benefits us. She has exposed me to a language and culture that I never knew before, and I thank her for everything!

Tristen Nichols with friends

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

I was initially a little stunned. I have confidence in my work, and it was already an  honor to be considered for the scholarship, but I didn't really expect to be chosen. However, I was floored and flattered when I found out I was selected to be an Eberly Scholar. With the support from this scholarship, I plan to continue my ambitions at  WVU with a new sense of security. Hopefully I can utilize the opportunity to study abroad in the near future! Either way, I'm immensely pleased and grateful with my selection.