Skip to main content

Eberly Scholars

Our Eberly Scholars are committed to scholarship, leadership and service. Meet this year's cohort and learn how they've made the most of their college experiences.

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Ayah Aldebyan

Ayah Aldebyan

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Morgantown 

Growing up, health class was always my favorite class, especially when the topic of mental health was discussed. I was in middle school when the importance of mental health was being discussed not only in school, but in the media as well. These discussions drew my interest in psychology and mental health. I started reading more about psychology and exploring more about the subject. I was fascinated with the information I learned about psychology. I knew that I wanted to study psychology before entering high school. I was also extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful AP Psychology teacher in high school. I learned so much from her and her class encouraged me to continue with my decision to pursue psychology as a major in college. 

Read full profile for Ayah Aldebyan

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Laura Rose Atkinson

Laura Rose Atkinson

Major: Political Science, AOE- Pre-Law and Legal Studies
Morgantown, WV

I originally came into WVU as an undecided major in the honors program. It was through the assistance of my 191 seminar to utilize the tools to learn about myself, my goals, and my expectations for my future that allowed me to consider the social sciences as a major. Once I enrolled in POLS 102, I fell in love with the major and couldn’t wait to learn more!

Read full profile for Laura Rose Atkinson

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Allison Barr

Allison Barr

Majors: Biology (B.A.) and Animal & Nutritional Sciences (B.S.)
Hometown: Moorefield, WV

I chose Biology as my primary major because I wanted to delve further into the wonders of the life sciences. Thanks to the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, I had many options as to what I wanted to focus my studies on within this broad major. I chose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Biology because it afforded me the flexibility I desire to explore both science and the arts, both of which I am extremely passionate about. Because it is both comprehensive and flexible, the program allowed me to take on a second major, Animal & Nutritional Sciences, to diversify my education experience even further.

Read full profile for Allison Barr

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Raeanne Beckner

Raeanne Beckner

Major: Journalism and Multidisciplinary Studies
Areas of Emphasis: in Political Science, Leadership Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies
Hometown: Bridgeport, WV

I chose both of my majors because I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the world around me. I also wanted to challenge myself as an individual and increase my versatility. My fields of study allow me to learn more about myself and better who I am as a person. Additionally, my majors are helping provide me with the critical thinking and logic skills necessary to assist me in preparing for law school.

Read full profile for Raeanne Beckner

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Nathaniel Beer

Nathaniel Beer

Major: Communication Studies
Hometown: Buckhannon, WV

I have always had an interest in social sciences such as psychology, sociology, communications, etc. So, I always was considering majoring in one of those fields, but it was really attending my sister’s award banquet for the communication department here at WVU that made me want to major in Communication Studies. I attended her award banquet one year and I saw what she and everyone else had done and were going on to do through majoring in Communication Studies and that really inspired me, and I decided to pursue a major in Communication Studies after that.

Read full profile for Nathaniel Beer

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Emily Budik

Emily Budik

Major: Psychology; Art Therapy
Hometown: Weirton, WV

I chose my major because I have always gravitated to psychology and understanding the human psyche! I love getting to know the cognitive changes that come with experiences and development within age groups. Because I have enjoyed art and self-exploration since middle school / high school, I realized that art therapy was the perfect major to add on to my current education. This aspect explores the potentially nonverbal cues and deeper understanding that can arise from a subconscious level. I love it! These majors together feed my desire for knowledge and freedom of creation.

Read full profile for Emily Budik

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Gabriel Cardella

Gabriel Cardella

Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Belcamp, Maryland

While math was my favorite subject throughout my years in elementary and middle school, I chose my mathematics major because of the magnet program I was in in high school, the Science and Mathematics Academy. It was then that a discovered my passion for mathematics, and realized that it was a field that I wanted to learn more about and potentially pursue a career in. As a high school senior applying to colleges, I found it very interesting that WVU has several areas of emphasis that mathematics majors can choose from, which was another huge reason for choosing my major here in college.

Read full profile for Gabriel Cardella

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Rachel Cundey

Rachel Cundey

Major: Forensic Biology
Hometown: Ashburn, Virginia

I have always been passionate about science, finding the facts, and helping others. I love the idea that forensic biology is at the intersection of the things I am most passionate about. With forensic biology, I can use science and technology to help give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

Read full profile for Rachel Cundey

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Alexander Dean

Alexander Dean

Major: Political Science and International Studies
Hometown: Morgantown, WV

When I first came to WVU, I was a history major. But I quickly realized after the first political science class that I took, Introduction to International Relations, that, while I adored learning about history, I wanted to make a career out of understanding, researching, and explaining political behavior and our political system.

Read full profile for Alexander Dean

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Michael DiBacco

Michael DiBacco

Major: English and Biology
Hometown: Elkins, WV

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.

Read full profile for Michael DiBacco

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Wenjuan Gu

Wenjuan Gu

Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Charles Town, Jefferson County WV

I could not pick between chemistry and biology, so I picked biochemistry on a whim. As reckless as it sounds, now I cannot imagine being any other major!

Read full profile for Wenjuan Gu

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Patrick Hassen

Patrick Hassen

Major: Political Science & Multidisciplinary Studies
Hometown: Morgantown, WV

I was always interested in politics, however coming into college I wasn’t sure of the career path I wanted to follow. I began freshman year undecided and tried to take a variety of courses, my first semester ma political science course piqued my interest, so I took another one, this time geared to law. The rest was history, after taking my first law related course at WVU I was certain I wanted to major in political science with an emphasis in law and legal studies.

Read full profile for Patrick Hassen

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Olga Hawranick

Olga Hawranick

Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Fairmont, WV 

I chose to major in mathematics because of how my parents grew my love for mathematics from a young age. We would conduct fun experiments and dive deep into some math topics that were relatable and that could explain the things around us. Also, I couldn’t imagine putting a stop to learning math after high school (that was where things started to get interesting), so I decided to rise up for the challenge and see where the curriculum would take me. It’s been extremely fun and enlightening so far, but not without a struggle.

Read full profile for Olga Hawranick

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Sarah Heilman

2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Sarah Heilman

Major: Political Science and Finance
Hometown: Wheeling, WV

I started at WVU only majoring in finance, and while finance is a great major, I knew I wanted to go to law school. Therefore, I added political science as a major with an area of emphasis in pre-law. My political science classes, like constitutional law and criminal law, have helped me prepare for law school by introducing topics that I will cover in law school.

Read full profile for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Sarah Heilman

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Bryan Hill

Bryan Hill

Major: Anthropology and History
Hometown: Princeton, West Virginia

I always wanted to travel when I was younger and I love archaeology. I saw that WVU had an anthropology program and I thought it was the best choice.

Read full profile for Bryan Hill

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Sydney Hogarth

Sydney Hogarth

Major: Psychology
Minors: Criminology and Forensic & Investigative Science
Hometown: Catonsville, MD

I’ve always felt the drive to help people. In high school, I took an AP psychology class and fell in love with it. I knew right then and there that psychology was a great way that I could make a difference in others’ lives. However, I was also interested in law and the criminal justice system. When researching different specialties in psychology, I came across forensic psychology and knew that was the perfect career for me. So, I decided to do a double minor in criminology and forensics as well.

Read full profile for Sydney Hogarth

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Wren King

Wren King

Major: Anthropology, Women’s and Gender Studies, Geography
Minor: Native American Studies
Hometown: Morgantown, WV

I was admitted as a history major and took HIST 179 through high school access my senior year of high school. I enjoyed the class, but often lamented to my partner at the time about how I wish I could focus on studying the current human condition. I hadn’t ever heard of anthropology, but he had been taking SOCA 105 that semester and he gave me his notes, commenting on how eerily similar my ideas were to the concepts he was discussing in his class. The next semester, I was taking SOCA 105, and I changed my major three days before NSO.

Read full profile for Wren King

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Giana Loretta

Giana Loretta

Major: Political Science; Philosophy; Communication Studies
Hometown: Shinnston, WV

Long before I knew what I wanted to major in, I aspired to attend law school. Thus, I picked the majors that I felt would be the best preparation for a legal career. Originally, I came in as a Communication Studies major, and I fell in love with Philosophy and Political Science along the way.

Read full profile for Giana Loretta

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Marleah Knights

Marleah Knights

Major: Biology
Hometown: Morgantown, WV

When deciding on a major, I had not decided on a specific career. Instead, I wanted to focus on what specific problems I wanted to address, and how I would help enact change. As a first-generation African American and an Appalachian, I was acutely aware that healthcare discrimination is a prevalent issue in our society, in which minorities and socially-disadvantaged individuals often receive less-than-optimal healthcare. I was also aware of how important meaningful relationships and communication with our healthcare providers are in achieving the best health outcomes. Following my passion, I realized that my career path would be in the field of healthcare. Therefore, I chose to major in Biology with a minor in Medical Humanities and Health Studies. This way, I could learn the science behind medicine as well as how to communicate this science effectively to my patients.

Read full profile for Marleah Knights

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Mary Linscheid

Mary Linscheid

Major: English (AoE Creative Writing)
Minors: Appalachian Music and Appalachian Studies
Hometown: Morgantown, WV

I chose my English major because it allows me to pursue my many passions through reading, writing, and creativity while also giving me a strong disciplinary foundation to build on.

Read full profile for Mary Linscheid

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Makaela Quinn

Makaela Quinn

Major: Biology
Minor: Child Development and Family Studies
Hometown: Wheeling, WV 

I chose to major in biology for a multitude of reasons. First, I enjoyed each of my science classes throughout primary school as I found science to be most interesting. I was afforded the opportunity to conduct many cool projects within my science classes. In middle school, I completed a research project examining the presence of photopigments in evergreens. I presented this research at science fairs and received first place at every level of competition. I also had amazing science and mathematics teachers during high school that made me enjoy the subject more. Second, my mom fostered in me a love of science because she, herself, was a biology major who went on to become an anatomy and physiology professor. As a young child, I was immersed in the college experience. I was around large textbooks on subjects that I could not even pronounce at the time, exposed to her anatomy dissection lab, and social with other scientists and researchers in her university. My mother surrounded me with anatomists, botanists, chemists, biochemists, and biologists. My mother’s passion for her job and love of science aided in my interest in science. Finally, I want to go into the healthcare field and help others, specifically, children. As a biology major, I can pair my love of science with my passion for healthcare in meeting the pre-requisite courses for medical school.

Read full profile for Makaela Quinn

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Maggie Robertson

Maggie Robertson

Major: Biology
Areas of Emphasis: Neuroscience, Genomics, and Advanced Cellular & Molecular Biology
Hometown: Cairo, WV

Growing up, I was always fascinated by the small details of life, such as the color of the sky, the changing seasons, and the wide variety of animals found on our wonderful planet Earth. Very early on in life, I pondered the mechanisms behind such details and realized that science could answer most, if not all, of my questions. This realization sparked a lifelong passion for science, specifically biology, and it pushed me towards pursuing this major in college in order to develop an even deeper understanding and love of life. 

Read full profile for Maggie Robertson

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Natalie Wonsettler

Natalie Wonsettler

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

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.

Read full profile for Natalie Wonsettler

Article thumbnail for 2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Donovan Weekley

Donovan Weekley

Major: B.S. Biology
Hometown: Lexington Park, Maryland

Ever since elementary school and throughout high school, my favorite subject had always been the life sciences, whether it was ecology, genetics, molecular/cellular biology, and other more specific fields of biology. During an internship with the St. Mary’s County Health Department near my hometown, I had also developed an interest in both epidemiology and the mechanism by which pathogenic infection presents as disease. Upon learning about the biology undergraduate program at West Virginia University, I saw that there was an opportunity to pursue my myriad of interests in biology without having to focus on one specific field of biology. In other words, the biology major allows me to pursue a wide range of interests without having to sacrifice other curiosities regarding the secrets of life.

Read full profile for Donovan Weekley

Article thumbnail for 2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Jordan Pugh

2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Jordan Pugh

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.

Read full profile for 2020-2021 Eberly Scholars: Jordan Pugh