MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Five West Virginia students, including Daniel McDonald from Morgantown High School, have been selected as West Virginia University Foundation Scholars.
Laasya Chennuru from Martinsburg High School, Lilah Coe from Herbert Hoover High School, Emily Escue from South Charleston High School, Isaac McCarthy from Musselman High School were also named as scholars.
“I am energized each spring as I meet our latest cohort of Foundation Scholars,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “They inspire me with their dreams. And at West Virginia University, we will give them the tools to achieve their aspirations to build successful careers and make breakthroughs that will extend beyond the borders of our state to the rest of the world.”
McDonald has a goal of developing assistive technology to improve mobility for patients suffering disease or injury. McDoanld will blend robotics and and biology by majoring in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering. McDonald will continue his work with the Appalachian Prison Book Project and hopes to use his stipend to develop exoskeletons and orthoses at the IHMC Robotic Lab in Pensacola, Florida.
Chennuru has learned about the value of the patient doctor relationship through volunteering at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center. She wants to pursue a degree in biochemistry and ultimately become a pediatrician. She will minor in psychology and medical humanities and health studies and plans to join the WVU Global Medical Brigades and serve as a counselor at Camp Kesem.
Coe watched her younger brother suffer from a congenital brain disorder and her running coach deal with Parkinson’s disease. She will pursue a degree in biology. She is a statewide semifinalist for the 2021 National Merit Scholarship, the high school winner of the Third Annual Pearl S. Buck Writing Competition for her poem titled “West Virginia Is” and has earned a varsity letter in track and field. Coe looks forward to joining the WVU Track Club and Baskets of Love and plans to study abroad at the University of Trento in Italy.
Escue will major in biochemistry and seeks to help transform primary health care for women and other underrepresented patients as an obstetrician-gynecologist. She plans to use her stipend to serve as an intern with Health Care for the Homeless in Louisville, Kentucky, to gain insight that will enable her to advocate for and break down barriers to advanced health equity.
McCarthy is a second generation WVU Foundation Scholar and will pursue a degree in music and health. He plays more than a dozen instruments and is most proud of his 5th chair 2020-21 All-State Band placement. McCarthy plans to join the Concert Band and other WVU ensembles. Once pandemic restrictions lift, he would like to use his stipend to study music abroad such as The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland.
To qualify, students must be residents of West Virginia, have a minimum GPA of 3.8 and achieving a minimum composite score of 31 on the ACT or the equivalent SAT score. The value of the Foundation Scholarship, when paired with the state’s PROMISE Scholarship, is more than $90,000 over four years.
Twenty of the applicants who interviewed for the Foundation Scholarship were named Neil S. Bucklew Scholars.