Lillian Rhinehart, from Elkins, will graduate with a degree in environmental, soil and water sciences with an emphasis in assessment and reclamation and a minor in geology. She has served as a WVU Peer Advocate for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a student ambassador for the LGBTQ+ Center and a mentor for the WVU Honors College.
She is a Foundation Scholar who has maintained a 4.0 while actively engaged in rigorous coursework, conducting research and volunteering her time to promote social equity. Rhinehart has also devoted her time to inspiring interest in STEM education among rural, underrepresented students in West Virginia.
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, she has conducted research in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, an experience that enabled her to hone her XRF Spectrometer Technology skills and work to broaden geoscience education through the creation of easily digestible environmental educational modules for high school teachers and students in West Virginia. Her modules focused on air quality, acid mine drainage specific to Appalachia and deciduous forest ecosystems.
Rhinehart was also enrolled in the Peace Corps Prep Program, where she has completed courses in intercultural competence, performed more than 70 hours of community service and traveled to her hometown to present a science learning module to middle school students to help encourage them to purse STEM degrees.
She notes that one of her most valuable experiences at WVU was serving as the co-director of Kesem at WVU, supporting children in West Virginia who has a parent with a cancer diagnosis. In this leadership role, she has helped lead fundraising initiatives, recruit and execute summer camps, and provided support through changing diagnoses.
A Fulbright English teaching assistant finalist, she hopes to teach in Indonesia after graduation and ultimately work as an environmental professional before joining the Peace Corps.