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2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Natalie Wonsettler

Major: Biology
Minor: English and Medical Humanities and Health Studies
Home town: Morgantown, WV

  • Natalie Wonsettler Photo
  • Natalie Wonsettler Poster Presentation
  • Natalie Wonsettler with unicef group

How did you choose your major?

I chose biology because I didn’t want to limit myself. I have an interest in going into medical school after college, and possibly getting an MPH as well, and I knew biology was going to be a great foundation and springboard for my future goals. While I’m interested specifically in cellular and molecular biology, I didn’t want to stop there. I wanted to be able to then apply this knowledge to the larger scope of our world. How do these things play roles in ecology and biotechnology? How has this knowledge affected everyday life? Biology is a great springboard if you’re interested in science because of the vast opportunities it offers from its broad range of subspecialties. It will give me the tools I need for medical school, while also providing me a lens with how to view such things in a larger sense and scope of the world.

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

American Poetry (English 343), with Dr. Winant was one of the hardest courses I’ve taken, but definitely one of my favorites. I recommend this course to everyone I know. Dr. Winant taught us not to be afraid of poetry, since many of us in the course were excited to learn but had hesitations about our abilities to fully and effectively dissect and analyze poems. Prior to this class, I had never really been taught how to properly analyze or approach a poem, and it had always seemed like this slightly daunting and overwhelming task (which I think is what many people’s experience with poetry is). And it is difficult work, but so is calculus, chemistry, physics, linguistics–anything. But you practice and you get better; you develop the skills necessary to do it.This course really tested and honed my critical analysis skills, made me approach writing in a different way, gave me the confidence that I have what it takes to analyze poetry, and introduced me to some remarkable poems. I tell everyone I know to take this course with her because of what it's done for my perception of the world and my perception of myself.

What has been your keys to success?

A large key to my success has been taking advantage of office hours and taking any opportunity I have to meet with my academic advisor, and with other advisors on campus (like from pre-health, ASPIRE, etc.). Getting to know my professors and my advisors, and building strong relationships, has given me so much support in my first two years at WVU, and allowed me to really reflect and grow on the time I’ve spent here at the university.There are so many things I wouldn't have even been exposed to or even considered if it weren't for them, their help, and their guidance.

Why would you recommend WVU to a friend?

I love that WVU has both the feel of a small, close-knit community, while also having the advantage of a larger college with a broad range of activities, classes, and organizations that make opportunities feel endless. There’s a chance to find your niche and to become a part of something bigger than yourself. One of the best things about my experience here is that it gives me the opportunity to not only explore my known interests, but to explore my unknown interests–all of the things I had yet to learn about or get involved with. WVU offers you the chance to get involved in communities centered around your specific interests, and also allows you the chance to explore, collaborate, and engage with other students, organizations, and disciplines. You get to become an integral part of smaller, more concentrated communities around campus, while still feeling like one large, encompassing family with support from all sides.

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

I have two! The first is my academic advisor, Dr. Dana Huerbert-Lima. She is really my rock here at WVU. I meet with her frequently, and she is always available and so willing and ready to talk with me, even when she herself is so extremely busy with her own work. She is extremely helpful, wonderfully compassionate, and has my back for all of my decisions that I make and the things I invest my time in here at WVU. I’m not really sure what my first years of college would have looked like without her, and I feel very grateful to call her my advisor. The second is Dr.

Winant, a professor in the English department with whom I’ve taken several courses. Dr. Johanna Winant has been extremely critical to my perception of how I see myself in my studies, how I perceive my personal self, and how I look at my role in this world. She inspires me to think deeper and to not put limits on myself. She is so dedicated and passionate about her work and her students, and it makes every class that much more rich. She is also extremely compassionate and genuinely cares about the well being and academic growth of every single one of her students, and I feel so very lucky to have had the opportunity to have her as my professor. Her courses feel so very rich, and I walk away everyday from class with a new perspective on the world, which I think is about the greatest thing anyone can take away from any course.

What was your reaction to being an Eberly Scholar? How has this opportunity made a difference in your life?

I was ecstatic and also in disbelief. I know that there are so many wonderful students here at WVU, especially within Eberly, and even applying for the scholarship was an honor. I feel so honored to have been selected to become an Eberly Scholar, and to find myself in the company of so many students who are so bright, talented, and hardworking. This scholarship will be a tremendous help with my tuition for the next academic year, and will give me the support critical to making my college experience very rich. It will be a foundation for me to continue my growth and academic experimentation within my courses here at WVU.

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.