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Natalie Wonsettler

A portrait of Natalie Wonsettler who has shoulder-length brown hair and is wearing a plaid jacket.

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Natalie Wonsettler, a member of the Honors College from Morgantown, will graduate with a degree in biology and minors in English and medical humanities and health studies.

She has served as a New Student Orientation Leader and an ambassador for WVU Admissions while volunteering her time to the No One Dies Alone program at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Wonsettler also serves with the Court Appointed Special Advocate for Kids of Monongalia County Program, a volunteer-based organization where she works to provide recommendations to the court based on the best interests of the child.

Named a 2023 Mountaineer of Distinction, she has maintained a 4.0 cumulative grade point average while advocating for foster children in West Virginia who are “often overlooked and underserved” through outreach projects and undergraduate research.

With a deep passion for helping foster children in West Virginia, her purpose is to address the disparities and challenges associated with health care in this population through narrative medicine. Wonsettler said she believes identifying issues and solutions through lived experiences and stories is critical for medical providers working with this vulnerable population.

As part of her Honors EXCEL research project, she merged her interests in social services and medicine to study the use of narrative medicine to better meet the unique needs of children in foster care. Wonsettler also created and led workshops designed to increase the awareness of this diagnostic approach that weaves patient storytelling into health care.

Another component of this project included the collection of stories for the “Unheard Voices: Art from the Heart of Youth in Foster Care in West Virginia” exhibit, which was on display in the Health Sciences Center Library. For the project, Wonsettler visited group homes and shelters to distribute blank canvases and art supplies inviting children to authentically tell their stories as a creative and emotional outlet.

She cited her opportunity to study classical mythology and the Italian language while exploring Northern Italy through the CIMBA summer program as one of her most enriching experiences.

Wonsettler also worked alongside faculty as part of the Summer Undergraduate Vision Research Fellowship Program to study a mutation that causes blindness in humans and its physical manifestation in a mouse model.

Wonsettler is a two-time Eberly Scholar and recipient of the Department of English Jon Scott Nelson First-Year Writing Award.

An aspiring pediatric oncologist, she will attend the WVU School of Medicine in the fall.