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2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Laura Curry

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.

Laura Curry
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Major: History
Minor: Business Administration

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

History is about understanding the world of the past and present in all of its complexities. As a history major, I connect material I learn in my classes to present-day events and understand them through that context. I would encourage a future history student to ask questions and pursue subjects that inspire curiosity. There is a lot of flexibility in the history major to study and research topics that you are interested in. Also, try out at least a few non-western history courses!

Laura Curry

How has your major prepared you for your future career?

As a history major, my researching, writing and communication skills can be used in a variety of fields. I believe that most unique and important to a history major is the cultural understanding, curiosity and open-mindedness that we bring to the table. I personally plan on pursuing a career in immigration and applying to law school in the fall.

How have you changed since your first year at WVU?

I have become much more confident since my first year at WVU. When I received the invitation to join the Honors College, I actually wanted to decline it at first because I believed I would fail out in the first semester. It is surreal to think of that now, writing this as an Eberly Scholar. I continued to try new things and surprise myself throughout college. My most daring adventure was definitely spending seven months in Tanzania on the Boren Scholarship with no previous experience with either international travel or Swahili. But I think that fits the credo that “Mountaineers go first.” We continue to grow and pursue new opportunities.

Laura Curry hiking in the woods

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

The hardest class that I loved was the History of Africa Since Independence taught by Dr. Robert Maxon. Dr. Maxon, who has now retired, specialized in Kenyan history and shared many interesting stories from his time living in Kenya with the class. The class itself covered the history of an entire continent, so we focused on key events and themes. Dr. Maxon challenged us not to simply learn history but to challenge misconceptions and biases we held.

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

I have been lucky to have many great professors at WVU. My favorites are Dr. Hal Gorby and Dr. Robert Maxon. They both opened my eyes to the history of regions of the world which I had never studied before. Additionally, they challenge students to think critically about the modern-day effects of history.

Laura Curry near a waterfall

Describe the best thing thatʼs happened to you at WVU.

The best thing thatʼs happened to me at WVU has been connecting with the ASPIRE Office. I went to an ASPIRE Office study-abroad fair where I first learned about different scholarships available to me. I actually was not interested in the Boren Scholarship at the time, but later I began researching it and decided to apply. The ASPIRE staff were extremely supportive and edited countless drafts for me. The most important step is simply knowing the opportunities available to you, and I believe the ASPIRE Office is essential to helping more Mountaineers learn about and apply for national scholarships.

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 excited and honored to learn that I had been selected as an Eberly Scholar. I know that there were many qualified applicants and exceptional students competing for this opportunity. The Eberly Scholar distinction will help me when applying for jobs or graduate school. Additionally, the scholarship will help fund my last year at WVU.