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2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Michael DiBacco

Major: English and Biology
Hometown: Elkins, WV

How did you choose your major?

I’ve always loved to read and write, and so pursuing an English degree seemed like the best way to enhance these skills. My decision to pursue biology came later on, as I took classes in the subject during high school and fell in love with the complexities of how living systems operate. I started to read more about the advances in Genetics that have been taking place over the last few decades and all of the ways that this discipline would come to be integrated into our lives in the future. I decided I wanted to be on the frontlines of these exciting developments.

  • Michael DiBaccio, Profile
  • Michael DiBaccio group photo with pumpkins

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

I think that both of my majors are extremely flexible and provide incoming students with a great opportunity to find out what it is that they are passionate about. There are also great faculty within both departments who can serve as valuable mentors throughout your college education. I would say to not be afraid to take risks with your schooling, as it’s here that you are trying to figure out what you love enough to dedicate yourself to.

How has your major prepared you for your future career?

Having both a STEM and humanities background will help me immensely, not only in my future career, but in being able to be an informed citizen about various issues that affect my community. As I plan to go into Genetic Counseling, I hope that I can employ narrative medicine to help treat my patients physically and emotionally.

How have you changed since your first year at WVU?

Coming into WVU, I had a general sense of who I wanted to be, but not how I could get there. After getting to know the WVU community, making close friends in Morgantown, and exploring the university’s resources, I feel like I have gained confidence in knowing that the path that I am currently walking is the one for me. Before arriving here, the “Mountaineer Family” had always seemed like a bit of an abstraction, but now I see how meaningful and life changing it can be to be included in this group.

What makes you feel connected to WVU?

I think that the community here is unlike anything else that I’ve found. There are so many friendly, motivated, and overall wonderful people that walk the halls of WVU. This university has given me the opportunity to form friendships that will last a lifetime, as well as discover things about myself that might have never been possible without its support.

What does it mean to be a Mountaineer?

Being a Mountaineer means bettering yourself in order to have a more positive impact on your community and the world at large. It also means appreciating the places, people, and possibilities that make WVU feel like home.


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

Two of my biggest mentors during my time at WVU have been Dr. Nancy Caronia (English) and Dr. Jennifer Gallagher (Biology). They have helped me pursue my love of research in ways that have challenged me and expanded my horizons. I don’t know what my education would have been like without the opportunities that they have provided me, and I am incredibly grateful to both of them.

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

I first felt extremely grateful to the Scholarship Committee as well as all those that have helped to make my time at WVU as special as it has been. Coming to this university has honestly been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made and I feel honored to represent it to the best of my abilities as an Eberly Scholar.

About Eberly Scholars

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.