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2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Lauren Young

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.

Lauren Young
Hometown: Huntington, West Virginia
Major: Biochemistry

How did you choose your major?

I actually came to WVU completely undecided. I had many interests from high school, but no real subjects or extracurriculars particularly jumped out at me when it was time to decide what I wanted to study. I took an introductory level biology class for STEM students, Biology 115, because I was in the Honors College and I was so focused on only taking things that caught my interest instead of worrying about making a decision right away. I ended up really loving that class, not only because I had an amazing instructor, but because of what the course meant to me. It was an opportunity to explore STEM in a way that I had not found previously accessible. I loved the content of the course. It taught me that it was wonderful to ask authentic questions, even if they were beyond the scope of the course. I first decided on a biology major because I loved that course so much, but quickly after switched to biochemistry. I primarily made this switch because while I loved my chemistry classes (and still very much do), I was particularly interested in the application of what I was learning in my chemistry classes on a molecular and cellular level. Honestly, I just chose what I liked the most, and so far have been extremely satisfied with my decision. I later decided to join the WVUteach program, which has made as impactful a mark on my education as my biology and chemistry courses. The courses within WVUteach have made me a better leader and teacher, and the program has provided structure and definition to my college career. It has shaped both my career goals and my personhood.

Lauren Young

How would you explain your major to a new WVU student? What advice would you give them?

Those pursuing a major in biochemistry typically have interests in the fields of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. Oftentimes, people pursuing this field of study are particularly interested in the chemical processes that guide cellular and molecular processes. This lends itself to a plethora of interests and career goals. A lot of students pursue careers in the medical field or are interested in conducting research on a variety of topics. I love the freedom of choice that comes with this degree program. As with every program, there are classes you must take but a lot of different ways that you can fulfill your degree requirements. If I had any piece of advice to incoming students, I would tell them to embrace that freedom and empowerment that comes with your education. It is a privilege to study what we can, and the freedom to choose what you want to study is something to embrace.

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

I loved organic chemistry. Not only did I find almost everything riveting and was excited to go to an 8:30 a.m. class, but organic chemistry was where I could directly make ties to the mathematics and biology content that I had learned in other courses, and that added a layer of depth to the questions that I asked to myself, my professors and in

the research I was completing. While I, frankly, would have loved the course anyway, there was an undeniable sense of purpose that I had felt for the first time in that class. I could see how it made me a better student, thinker, tutor and future teacher.

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

There is an undeniable support system at WVU created by all those who are involved with the University that has been fulfilling. It is nice to know that there are facets of support for everyone. I am connected through the people I’ve met – professors, roommates, coworkers, tutors, mentors, researchers, leaders and friends. There are so many connections that I have made with those here at WVU, and they are truly the keys to success and happiness. To become close to people is a special thing, and the closeness that I have been able to achieve with those at WVU keeps me connected even as I encounter challenges.  

Lauren Young

What does it mean to be a Mountaineer?

I really love the idea of the Mountaineer and the representation of ascension. It means to love what you are pursuing and climb straight toward it – not only to rise to the challenge of completing your own goals, but to encourage others to do so as well. Mountaineers support one another, no matter if their dreams seem as tangible or as  close to their fingertips as the stars.  

Describe the best thing that’s happened to you at WVU so far.

The best thing that's happened to me by being at WVU has been the culmination of moments and experiences that I have had and how they have changed me. Self-growth is so important to me, and the comparison between who I was upon first coming to WVU and who I am now is crazy in all the best ways. I came to WVU as an anxious 18-year-old who felt as though she had no direction, who felt like she had to prove herself and her worth to people. I am now almost 20, halfway finished with college, and that perspective has shifted. Having no specificity in direction allows one freedom to grow, change and determine one's path, and my time so far at WVU has definitely allowed me to see and live through these very perspectives. The experiences one has at WVU is transformative in many ways: the self-discovery that these experiences at WVU have guided, such as being a first-year trip leader for Adventure West Virginia, a researcher in the Research Apprenticeship Program, a teacher with the WVUteach program and a tutor. These are all experiences that have changed my perspective of myself and the world around me. They give me direction, and they would not have been possible without WVU and its community.

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 genuinely shocked that I was a recipient of this award, as there are so many wonderful students in the Eberly College. It is an honor and relief to have some of the financial burden of college lifted by receiving this award. I am glad that I have people at WVU who believe in me and all that I hope to accomplish, and this award has definitely made me one step closer to the change that I hope to bring about in the world.