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2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Heather Woolridge

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.

Heather Woolridge
Hometown: Chesapeake, Virginia
Majors: History and Philosophy
Minor: English 

How did you choose your major?

I think that a vast knowledge of the past is essential to be a good leader because you can make judgement calls based off of knowing what has worked in the past. At the same time, making ethical decisions that are in the best interest of others increases morale and motivates people to work hard every day. For these reasons, I chose to major in history and philosophy because I believe what I learn in the classroom will help me lead as an officer in the military.

Heather Woolridge at ROTC

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

Studying history is like learning everything you wish you teachers had a chance to tell you in high school. Very often, history classes from grades 6 to 12 cover only major events and still leave out important information about the culture and leaders of the era. Luckily, there are so many specific history courses at WVU that you really get to become an expert on what you study.  

How has your major prepared you for your future career?

I believe that my focus on ethical philosophy and military history has changed how I see the world and helped improve my leadership skills. My goal is to commission in the United States Marine Corps, and I think that understanding the U.S.’s previous conflicts is crucial to understanding the climate we live in today.

How have you changed since your first year at WVU?

WVU is a large university, so it did feel overwhelming at first. Over the years, I became more and more involved with my academic departments, as well as clubs and organizations on campus. Because of all of my involvement in more recent years, I would say that what really changed is my confidence level in knowing that WVU is the university for me.

What was your most memorable moment at WVU?

As a resident assistant, my most memorable moment was helping with move-in day last year. It is a really exciting time for all of our new students, and I always enjoy meeting my new residents.

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

History 484, the history capstone, was the most difficult course I have ever taken. The course required that you read around 300 to 400 pages a week for the first seven weeks—which was pretty intimidating at first. The second half of the course was writing the capstone paper, and I fell in love with my topic and spent at least three hours a day perfecting my work during the last month. Even though the work was demanding, it showed me how much I am capable of, and I’ll always be thankful that I took this course.

Heather Woolridge working out

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

In the past three years, I made so many friends from all over the world. Knowing WVU is what brings all of us together is what makes me feel so connected. I think that the key to success is understanding that everyone else around you is writing papers, studying for exams and looking for internships, too. Realizing that everyone else is going  t hrough the same thing really strengthens the bond and makes you feel like you’re never going through something alone.  

Why would you recommend WVU to a sibling or friend?

WVU is the best of both worlds in so many ways. WVU has all of the luxuries of a large university, like having a huge recreation center, hundreds of clubs and modern facilities. At the same time, with the way that the campus is organized, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as most universities with our enrollment do. The location is also nice because Morgantown is a genuine college town and a weekend trip to a larger city is never out of the question.  

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

I donʼt think I can choose! I will say that Dr. Robert Blobaum, Dr. Rosemary Hathaway and Dr. Brian Luskey are all very special to me.

What does it mean to be a Mountaineer?

Being a Mountaineer means that you “go first” and that you stand up for what is right, always.

Describe the best thing thatʼs happened to you at WVU.

The best thing that has happened to me at WVU was when I joined the WVU weightlifting team and met all of my best 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?

This is the highest academic honor I have ever been awarded. Receiving this title really set in stone that I am on the right path in my studies and that I am exactly where I need to be academically. I cannot wait to see how this opportunity will make a difference for me!