Marleah Knights from Morgantown will graduate with a degree in biology.
She has served as a Presidential Student Ambassador, facilitator for the DEI Honors Students of Color Affinity Group, a college senator for the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and a student ambassador for the Honors College.
She is an Eberly Scholar who has immersed herself in undergraduate research and other experiences focused on bridging the health care gap in rural areas of West Virginia and around the word, while participating in rigorous course work, working as a teaching assistant and traveling abroad.
Knights worked alongside faculty from the Department of Biology as a participant in the Research Apprenticeship Program to study the transmission of African sleeping sickness by the tsetse fly to better understand, treat and ultimately prevent fatal vector-borne diseases. She won first place in the biological and biochemical sciences category for her poster presentation on this research at the 2021 Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium.
As a member of the first cohort of AGE-ADAR scholars, Knights studied the negative correlation between unhealthy behaviors, more specifically smoking and binge drinking, and pneumonia immunization rates among individuals ages 65 and older living in West Virginia.
She also worked with faculty from the Department of Communication Studies as a member of the Honors EXCEL Program to study the effective delivery of human papillomavirus vaccine campaigns to African Americans in Appalachia to examine health communication strategies for underrepresented groups.
She cites an opportunity to shadow a family medicine practitioner at the Coalfield Health Center in Chapmanville, as a participant in the Rural Undergraduate Shadowing Program in Healthcare, as key in solidifying her career aspirations of working as a family medicine physician in rural West Virginia.
Knights traveled to Italy during spring break to explore Rome and France, and last year, she studied the design and architecture of Western Europe while making her way through the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.
Knights will attend the WVU School of Medicine in the fall.