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Meet the Grads

More than 1,000 students from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will walk across the stage on Sunday, May 13 as they graduate from West Virginia University, ready to take on the world.

As Commencement is upon us, several of our Eberly College graduates reflect on their time at WVU and their plans for the future.

Morgan Stemler

Nestorville, West Virginia, native Morgan Stemler’s passion for traveling motivated her to major in international studies and Chinese studies for her love of traveling. Despite not knowing the criteria for the major and jumping in blindly, she fell in love with both majors instantly.

“The major is diverse with what you can study,” Stemler said. “I am proud that this major allows you such flexibility.” 

Stemler enjoys the diversity international studies offers students at WVU. Students are able to study not only regional emphases but also topics including diplomacy, development and security. Stemler realized early on in her college career that she wanted to work for the U.S. government, and she believes her liberal arts degree has prepared her for that.

“With my liberal arts degree I’ve been able to strengthen my foreign language and communications skills, which has definitely helped me prepare for my future career,” Stemler said.

Stemler chose to concentrate on intelligence and national security with her major, which she chose to focus on East Asia and added a second major of Chinese studies. Stemler will be pursuing a master’s degree in international studies in Taiwan in September 2018 as one of 10 WVU Fulbright Scholarship recipients, a new record for WVU. In 2016, she received the Christopher Belfoure Chinese Studies Travel Abroad Fund to travel to study abroad in China for the spring 2017 semester.

Stemler“WVU is home,” Stemler said. “While college in general gives you a place to explore yourself and become who you are, WVU gives you so many opportunities to excel academically and socially. It also has the best people. I have made lifetime friends at WVU and still consider it to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Meet Morgan.

Michael Conroy

Michael Conroy, from Cincinnati, Ohio, started his WVU career as a mechanical engineering major because he loves to solve problems and math was always his strong suit. However, after two years in the program, Conroy realized he was not going to make the kind of difference he wanted to make in the world if he stayed with that major. He eventually changed his major to criminology to prepare for a career in criminal justice or law.  

After completing a course with other students and inmates located at a federal prison, Conroy recognized a need for psychologists in the prison system. He then decided to add a second major of psychology.  

“I recognized the need for psychologists to help ex-convicts re-enter society effectively,” Conroy said. “This was definitely not a direct path to get where I am today, but I am far happier having followed my passion.”

Conroy enjoys that the criminology major will lead WVU students on a path toward working with the police or FBI, political action or as a stepping stone to law school.  

“This major will open your eyes to countless social issues and teach you the research and theories behind them so that when you graduate, you can become a part of the criminal-legal system and help change it for the better,” Conroy said.

He is a co-founder of the Voices United Think Tank at the Women’s Medium Security Federal Prison in Hazelton, West Virginia, a teaching assistant for the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program and a behavioral therapist at the  Center for Excellence in Disabilities’ Intensive Autism Service Delivery clinic. Following graduation, Conroy plans to pursue a Master of Social Work to tackle community and familial problems on a micro and macro scale.  


“When you go here, get involved,” Conroy said. “You have access to a lot of opportunities. Having time set aside in your life to get hands-on experience like this made all the difference in the world when it came to figuring out what path I want to take and knowing what I like to do.”

Meet Michael.

Zoe Dobler

San Francisco, California, native Zoe Dobler distinctly remembers filling out her application for WVU. As she was prompted to choose her prospective major, Dobler selected biology without much of a second thought.

“Life sciences has been such an intrinsic part of my life and how I see the world, so it made sense for me to pursue it for my bachelor’s degree,” Dobler said. “It has been a constant in my life and I reasoned that anything that remains an interest so consistently from childhood all the way through adolescence must be significant to me and a promising path to pursue.” 

Dobler enjoys that her major focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying life and all living things while allowing students to explore the world through large scale contexts, from ecosystems to molecules. 

Her advice to incoming students? Start networking early. 

“Many students are often under the impression that in freshman year, it’s too early to be able to successfully obtain positions in labs or snag other important opportunities, but this is not the case,” Dobler said. “Communicate with your professors; ask for help or connections. There are many more opportunities for involvement in those first years than you think.”

Dobler also studies the French and German languages and has enjoyed her brief time with the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. She encourages incoming students to be involved with the WVU Amnesty International and Model UN student organizations. 

For the 2018-2019 year, Dobler will conduct neuroscience research in Austria as one of 10 Fulbright Scholars recipients at WVU, a record-setting number. Following her year in Austria, Dobler plans to enter graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in neuroscience. 


“When I applied for graduate schools, the people within this department were my support system, willing to provide me with advice based on their own experiences, writing letters of recommendation for me and helping me make connections,” Dobler said. “My department has had a primary role in my scientific and professional development, and it is the reason that the department is the best thing I’ve experience at WVU.”

Meet Zoe.

McKenna Williamson

Daniels, West Virginia, native McKenna Williamson felt excited when she received her acceptance letter to WVU prior to her freshman year because she was proud to join the University and be part of the Mountaineer community. 

“I feel that I am connected to WVU and always will be because of the vast network of alumni,” Williamson said. “To be a Mountaineer means more than just having attended WVU; it means that you are part of a large network of hardworking people.” 

She entered WVU as a biology major before discovering her passion for history and changing her major. Williamson believes learning another language is important because it broadens horizons and breaks down barriers, so she decided to add a second major of world languages, literatures and linguistics with a concentration in Spanish and a minor in Latin American studies. 

“Learning about history is incredibly valuable because it teaches about the world around you and how we got to where we are now,” Williamson said. “History teaches you not only events, but the context of the events and the effects that come from them.”


During her time at WVU, Williamson has learned valuable leadership and organizational skills by being involved in student organizations, such as the History Club, Phi Alpha Theta, Sigma Delta Pi and the Raleigh County Historical Society. 

Following graduation, Williamson plans to further her education by attending the WVU College of Law and will then prepare to engage with the world and contribute in a meaningful way. 

Meet McKenna.