West Virginia University’s newest class of Foundation Scholars wants to change the world.
WVU President Jim Clements said the high-achieving students must continue to strive for greatness as they have throughout their lives.
“When you meet these young men and women, all of whom have accepted this prestigious scholarship to attend West Virginia University, you see that they are simply some of the most gifted young people our state has to offer,” Clements said at the announcement on Tuesday at Blaney House.
The newest recipients of the Foundation Scholarship, the University’s most prestigious academic honor, are:
Eric Kinney, Bridgeport, Bridgeport High School
Tess McCloud, Bluefield, Bluefield High School
Clara Beth Novotny, Falling Waters, Hedgesville High School
Emily Vandevender, Smoot, Greenbrier East High School
Joy Wang, Charleston, Capital High School
“We need you to continue achieving great things. In fact, we are counting on you. You are the next generation of leaders,” Clements told the scholars. “Our newest Foundation Scholars will be welcomed into a learning community that will challenge and excite them as well as open their minds to new ideas and prepare them to reach their goals.
“That is what WVU’s mission is all about. As a land-grant university, we open the doors to knowledge and improve the lives of West Virginians.”
Clements, along with Provost Michele Wheatly, WVU Foundation President and CEO R. Wayne King and former Student Government Association President and Foundation Scholar Jason Bailey spoke at Tuesday’s event.
Click below to hear WVU President Jim Clements illustrate where former Foundation Scholars have succeeded.
The award which provides full tuition and fees, plus room and board and books for four years is valued at approximately $75,000 when paired with the state’s PROMISE Scholarship. In addition, the scholarship includes a $4,500 stipend for academic enhancement, which is commonly used for study abroad, internships and other advanced learning opportunities.
The Foundation Scholarship is the most prestigious award offered by WVU’s undergraduate scholarship program, which annually benefits more than 5,500 students in excess of $10 million. Since the Foundation Scholarship program was established in 1987, 130 of the state’s brightest high school students have been awarded the University’s most selective scholarship.
“I join my colleagues at the WVU Foundation in saluting these exceptional students and their families. Each scholar has excelled in academics, leadership and community service, and we are excited that they will be attending WVU,” King said. “The Foundation stands committed to providing scholarship opportunities for students through private support.”
The five WVU Foundation Scholars are chosen from a pool of 20 students awarded the Neil S. Bucklew Scholarship, valued at more than $26,000 for four years. After being offered the Bucklew Scholarship, students are invited to campus for a day of rigorous interviews.
Click below to listen to former Student Government Association President Jason Bailey, a 2007 Foundation Scholar, discuss his successes at WVU.
The students must be from West Virginia, possess a minimum 3.8 GPA and achieve a minimum composite score of 30 on the ACT or 1,340 on the SAT college entrance exams.
Meet WVU’s 2012 class of Foundation Scholars:
During high school, Eric Kinney shadowed a local nuclear pharmacist and found his calling. In fact, he said 20 minutes into the experience, it had changed his life.
“I loved the work he was doing. That’s exactly what I could see myself doing,” he said. “I’d really like to get into pharmacy school and then specialize in nuclear pharmacy. I knew that I wanted to do pharmacy because I have an aptitude for chemistry. I enjoy it and have worked in a chemistry lab and make all the stock solution for class.”
Kinney, of Bridgeport, plans to participate in the exchange program between the University of Strasbourg and WVU for more than just his pharmacy studies.
“I saw that WVU was highly ranked in pharmacy schools across the nation, so I decided this was the right place for me,” he said. “I’ve been to campus a lot because my sister goes here. I’ve been here for sporting events and Governor’s School.”
Kinney, who was ranked second in his class at Bridgeport High School, has been recognized in the state as an AP Rising Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the WVU Presidential Scholarship. He was among those in his high school with a perfect Honor Roll record and a four-year Academic Letter. He was awarded first place in the junior engineering team in the region and state levels.
Kinney was the captain of his high school’s tennis team, and his soccer team won multiple section titles. He was named an all-conference and all-county soccer player. He also enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee. He can play the piano and the alto, baritone and tenor saxophones.
“I’m excited to get to represent the state,” he said. “I would love to show that you can be proud of West Virginia. My father, mother, grandfather and grandmother all went to WVU, so I’d love to continue that tradition.”
Kinney has taken advanced coursework in calculus, chemistry, English and psychology. He is the third Foundation Scholar from Bridgeport High School.
He is the son of Jonathan and Patricia Kinney.
Tess McCloud was the senior class president at Bluefield High School and has a slew of other achievements and honors to her name. She said being named a Bucklew Scholar earlier this year was her highest honor yet.
She is the first Foundation Scholar from her high school.
“I felt like anything I worked for all my life was finally recognized,” she said.
“That’s something that I can say for the rest of my life anywhere I go in the state of West Virginia they will recognize that I’m a Bucklew Scholar.”
Now, she can call herself a Foundation Scholar. She has spent more than 200 hours at her local community center volunteering with the aquatic physical therapy program. That experience, she hopes, will help her most when she begins at the University. McCloud said that experience inspired her even more to go into that field of work.
McCloud will study exercise physiology at WVU in the fall and already plans on going to graduate school for physical therapy in the future.
“I always wanted to go to WVU,” she said. “It has the best physical therapy school out of any of those I’ve looked into. The campus is absolutely beautiful here. I’ve really fallen in love with it. I’m looking forward to meeting new friends, being able to join clubs and attend the basketball and football games. I’m really looking forward to it all.”
She wants to study abroad in Italy, as well.
“The study abroad stipend would be a wonderful experience, something I’d remember for the rest of my life. It would truly be incredible,” she said.
She is a four-year member of the National Honor Roll, the cross country team and art club. She has also won three different honors in the Laurel Leaves Writing Awards.
McCloud has taken advanced classes in biology, calculus, chemistry, language, literature and U.S. history.
She is the daughter of Barry and Jean McCloud.
It’s understandable why Clara Beth Novotny uses the word “curious” to describe herself. The Hedgesville High School senior is all about research.
“I am most looking forward to the medical research opportunities available when I get to WVU,” said Novotny, a Falling Waters native. “The laboratory is my domain. I truly believe that my desire to delve into the world’s medical mysteries and my commitment to connecting and utilizing knowledge will allow me to greatly benefit humanity.”
Novotny plans to major in biochemistry at WVU, and hopes to one day be “a world-class scientist” with a focus on infectious diseases.
“You can accomplish anything you put your mind to at WVU,” she said. “I know so much about it already, as my dad, brother and sister attended the University.”
Graduating at the top of her senior class, Novotny has been active in National Honor Society, Spanish National Honors Society, Kiwanis Key Club and the student newspaper. She also has been a member of the cross country and track and field teams.
She has taken advanced courses in U.S. government and politics, Spanish, history, English language and literature, chemistry, calculus and biology.
Novotny has been recognized with several awards for her work at local, state and national science fairs. She competed in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and also was chosen to participate in the NASA Summer Research Academy and the Governor’s School for Math and Science.
Novotny says it was her sixth grade science teacher, Michelle Adams, who got her interested in science and research.
“She shared her experiences and made it very interesting,” Novotny said. “She helped me realize this is what I want to do.”
In her spare time, you might find Novotny enjoying the outdoors running, camping, hiking and backpacking. She is the third Foundation Scholar from her high school.
She is the daughter of Michael and Beth Novotny.
Emily Vandevender’s parents and grandparents went to WVU. Her sister, a Bucklew Scholar herself, currently attends the University as well.
Now, Emily will follow in their footsteps this fall when she starts at WVU.
“We’ve been to campus a lot growing up,” she said. “It feels like home here. That’s my favorite part.”
Vandevender, who graduated second in her class from Greenbrier East High School in Smoot, will major in biochemistry and would eventually like to become an environmental scientist or go to medical school. She hopes to stay in West Virginia after she graduates.
“West Virginia is so beautiful, and I’d like to keep it that way,” said Vandevender, the first Foundation Scholar from her high school. “If I go into medicine, I know I’ll enjoy it, because I liked anatomy, and I’d like to be ultimately able to help people.”
Vandevender would like to join the Mountaineer Maniacs and is excited to live with her best friend in the Honors Hall.
Vandevender achieved several honors in the state in 2011: placing first in management principles in the Concord University Business Challenge, first in the psychology competition at the Marshall University SCORES Academic Competition, and being selected to attend the Governor’s Honors Academy. She is a recipient of an AP Scholarship, the 4-H Teen Citizenship Award and Pin, 4-H Teen Leadership Award and National I Dare You Leadership Award. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society.
Activities throughout high school include the Central Willing 4-H Club, Student Government Association, National Honor Society, Science Quiz Bowl Team, Future Business Leaders of America, Spartan Spirit Club, girl’s track team and soccer team, among other things.
She has taken advanced courses in biology, calculus, composition, government and politics, language, literature, psychology and U.S. history.
She is the daughter of John and RuthAnn Vandevender.
Joy Wang admits she probably didn’t take school very seriously until she was in fourth grade. Now, she can’t stop learning.
Wang, a Charleston native, learned a lot from her experiences in her high school’s marching band and quiz bowl team.
“It requires a lot of dedication and commitment. The feeling of being in both is truly amazing, because it’s a community and a family,” she said. “You feel like you’re part of something other than yourself. The amount of responsibility at the end made me realize all the work and beauty of it. Now that it’s all over, it makes me miss all of it.”
Wang hopes to become a neurological researcher to try to find a chemical cure for Alzheimer’s.
“If I go into a path like this, I will never, ever stop learning. I want to take that desire to learn and use that to find a cure,” she said. “I am blessed, because so many other people are qualified for these scholarships. Many are just as deserving, and the fact that I was lucky enough to earn this scholarship truly makes me feel accomplished and will prepare me for the next step of my life to achieve my ultimate goal.”
First in her class at Capital High School, Wang plans to study abroad in South America to experience a rich culture and history, and to observe how other cultures are utilizing medicine.
Wang was recognized statewide as a representative to the legislature at the Governor’s Honor Academy, All State Band member, MENSA member, winner of the MSAC quiz bowl and received first place titles in world geography, history and Spanish at the S.C.O.R.E.S. Competition. She was also nationally recognized as an AP Rising Scholar with Honor this year.
Wang has completed advanced coursework in biology, calculus, chemistry, English, music history and appreciation, Spanish, U.S. government and politics, U.S. history and world history. She is the second Foundation Scholar from Capital High School.
She is the daughter of Stuart and Angela Humphreys.
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