The group included more than 350 undergraduate and 90 graduate students. They received degrees in a variety of disciplines and emphases, from bachelor’s degrees in biology, political science, psychology and everything in between, to a Master of Legal Studies degree, to Ph.D.’s in chemistry, forensic science, English, sociology and more.
Among the graduates were Marisa Organiscak, Erica Cottrill and Adebola Akintounde.
Organiscak graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Chemistry and approximately three years of laboratory-based research experience.
“My years as a student at WVU have been some of my favorite.
I am going to miss the community and positive environment,” she said. “The
students are enthusiastic to be here and make events so much fun – I have made
so many great friends in my time at WVU and while I’ll miss seeing them around
campus, I know I have built some lifelong friendships because of this school!”
Organiscak joined WVU's Research Apprenticeship Program as a first-semester freshman, and she went on to conduct research under faculty supervision as part of the Chemistry 497 course. In Summer 2022, she was selected for the competitive WVU Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program and did 8-weeks of full-time research in the Dudley research lab in the C. Eugene Bennet Dept of Chemistry.
In Spring 2023, she was honored by the Northern WV Regional Section of the American Chemical Society as an Outstanding Chemistry Junior.
Erica Cottrill is graduated with degrees in English and Acting and has spent her time at WVU expressing her creativity through performance and writing. The Harrison County, WV native plans to move to New York City after graduation to pursue a career in publishing and/or performance.
"I'll miss the community at WVU the most,” she said. “My professors and classmates are wonderful resources, it's been a blessing to have them all in one place for immediate advice, suggestions, or feedback for whatever issue I'm working through. I'll come back to visit as often as I can and carry my Appalachian pride with me through the rest of my journey.”
During her time at WVU, Cottrill won creative writing contests in the Department of English for her fiction and poetry, performed in University-run plays and short films and toured with West Virginia's only professional Shakespeare troupe, The Rustic Mechanicals.
She is the English Dept.’s 2023 George Bird Evans Scholar and was a finalist two years in a row for the Broadway Licensing New Works Grant, which is allows student playwrights to develop a workshop or full production of an original work in the Creative Arts Center.
Adebola Akintounde, an international student from Nigeria, graduated with a master’s degree in TESOL – Teaching English as a Second Language. Her degree has opened up job opportunities in public schools across the United States.
“I can say without a doubt that I am well-equipped and ready to share all the knowledge and experience I have gleaned from my professors, colleagues, and students with everyone I meet,” she said. “My degree in TESOL has paved the way for me in the educational industry. It equipped me with the best practices in the field and has also provided an opportunity for me to learn and teach learners for whom English isn’t their first Language.”
Akintounde came to WVU during a four-month professional
exchange program and returned years later to pursue her master’s degree.
Throughout her time at WVU, she worked as a graduate teaching assistant at the
Intensive English Program (IEP) while balancing life as both a student and a
Watch a video of the 2023 December Commencement ceremony on the WVU graduation website.