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2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Adia Kolb

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.

Adia Kolb
Hometown: Mannington, West Virginia
Majors: Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology
Minor: Appalachian Studies and Anthropology 

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

Many people may think that women's and gender studies is just learning about notable women or feminism. While this is definitely one aspect of it, the women's and gender studies major provides so much more! Women's and gender studies gives students and scholars a diverse toolkit they can use to approach issues of equity and equality. So, not only do we consider feminism and gendered oppressions, women's and gender studies gives you the framework to understand things such as racial or class inequality and then provides tools that can be used to fight them. This is invaluable, as it can be applied to any other discipline or area of study. I feel that the women's and gender studies major has changed how I think about the world and enabled me to be somebody capable of making positive change!  

To incoming students, I would say to choose a major that makes you happy. When telling people that one of my majors is women's and gender studies, I often get remarks asking, "Well what are you going to do with that?" or "Is that even a real major?" Even though some may not take it seriously, I recognize the importance of what I am studying, and it fills me with passion! So, as long as you are happy with what you are studying, it does not matter what other people think!  

Adia Kolb abroad

How have you changed since your first year at WVU?

I think the biggest change from my first year to now (ready to start my junior year!) has been my comfort level at WVU. Coming in as a freshman, I was incredibly nervous to get involved on campus and anxious about finding a place where I felt I belonged. However, through my involvement in my majors and minors, multiple student organizations and a fellowship program, I have found a place where I feel at home. These opportunities have given me a sense of purpose and meaning here at WVU, and I truly feel that I am enabled to my fullest capacity, something that I didn't think was possible my first year!

Adia Kolb and classmates

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

The Women's and Gender Studies major has given me the opportunity to take some of my favorite classes, including Feminist Theory and Queer Theory. These classes were also some of the most academically challenging and thought-provoking ones that I have taken thus far. They were my first times reading theory, which is a challenging endeavor in and of itself, but they also provided a space for me to critically consider my beliefs and restructure the way I think about these topics. I loved the opportunity to study different theorists and scholars while also exploring my own thoughts and opinions. These classes were incredibly formative in my education and in my personal growth, and Dr. Charlotte Hoelke, who taught both of them, made them an incredible experience for all of her students.  

Adia Kolb with student government

What makes you feel connected to WVU?

I feel that my deepest connection to WVU comes through my involvement on campus. I've been a part of multiple student organizations, including Student Government Association, and have participated in various opportunities, such as the Community Leadership and Social Action Fellowship through the Center for Resilient Communities. These things have given me the chance to make real, tangible change at WVU and in my communities, which would not have been as feasible without my involvement in them. I think that this connectedness comes from knowing that the things I am doing have impact and can positively affect those around me.

Adia Kolb hiking with friends

What have been your keys to success in college so far?

My key to success has been reaching out to others. The world of academia can be intimidating, and there have been several times where I've felt too overwhelmed to continue what I'm doing. However, these moments have been resolved by reaching out to others, making connections, having conversations and realizing that we're all likely in the same boat. Whether it was with professors, other students, coworkers or friends, connecting with other people has made my success possible even when it felt overwhelming. There's nothing wrong with expressing your concerns to others or asking for help when you need it!

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

My first reaction to learning that I was selected as an Eberly Scholar was pure excitement! It was exciting to realize that I was being recognized and validating to know that my efforts were valued. I'm also excited for the opportunities that this program will continue to provide me moving forward.