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Olivia Dowler

A portrait of Olivia Dowler who is standing in front of Woodburn Hall wearing a black jacket, black top and brown pants.

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Olivia Dowler, a member of the Honors College from Weirton, will graduate with degrees in in history, philosophy and Spanish.

She has served as a Presidential Student Ambassador, a Visitors Center tour leader, a New Student Orientation Leader and a member of Students for Reproductive Justice.

This 2020 Foundation Scholar has maintained a cumulative 4.0 grade point average while serving as a student leader and change agent focused on sexual assault victim advocacy and support and Title IX protection.

Coming to WVU as a first-generation college student amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she was inspired by the motto, “When everyone else goes back, Mountaineers Go First,” words Dowler continues to replay in her mind to help overcome obstacles.

A champion for sexual assault survivors, her purpose is to empower underserved and marginalized communities and revitalize her hometown.

If elected in November, she plans to continue working to address these issues as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates for District 2. Beyond politics, she plans to eventually attend law school and work as a public defender.

Dowler’s most gratifying undergraduate experience has been serving as the president pro tempore in the Student Government Association, where she had the opportunity to initiate change on the local, state and federal levels.

In this role, she created the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee. As chair of the committee, Dowler used her influence to advocate for the expansion of support services on campus and across the Mountain State and to revamp the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website to help increase student awareness and understanding of their Title IX rights.

In addition, Dowler, along with a fellow senator, led the charge to meet with U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to discuss the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which resulted in co-sponsored legislation to expand efforts to combat domestic violence and sexual assault in West Virginia.

As part of her Honors EXCEL project, she wrote legislation to lift the ban on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families for individuals with prior felony drug convictions — aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders.

She also conducted independent research on the comparison of how Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are taught in K-12 public schools. Dowler presented her findings at this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.

During an opportunity to study abroad, Dowler honed her Spanish language skills in Santander, Spain, and also traveled to Panama as part of the Global Medical and Dental Brigades, where she helped translate patient needs to other students while learning about global health care disparities.

Named a 2023 Mountaineer of Distinction in recognition of her academic achievement and campus involvement, she was also a finalist for the Truman Scholarship and a two-time Eberly Scholar.