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Student and Alumni Spotlight

Elizabeth Labuda - May 2019 Graduate

Upon starting the Masters of Health Science program I was unsure of the new adventures such a program could unwind. Not only did this program help me achieve my ultimate goal of acceptance into Dental school, it allowed me to grow as a student and provide the opportunity to give back to the community. Not only giving back by means of community service, but also allowed me to build my own research project from start to finish, which was a clinical study on dry mouth. The gratification was instant once I started the research study, hearing the participants thank me for helping and introducing them to a new product that they never knew existed. The program flew by creating a lot of great memories with new friends as well as opening new doors to my next adventure at WVU School of Dentistry.  This program allows you to show your full potential as a student, to get you to where you want to go and reach your ultimate goals!

Patrick Kane – August 2018 Graduate 

Patrick currently works in a lab in Baltimore conducting research. He recently shared how the MS in Health Sciences program is helping him to succeed every day. “Really understanding biochemistry, biostatistics, and physiology from my courses in the master’s program are really paying off already; the post-docs and my PI always seem impressed with the knowledge of material I brought with me from WVU. I am very grateful for Dr. Vona-Davis encouraging us to explore all kinds of opportunities that many people may not think of when initially planning for their future, because it led me to this job I am at now where I’ve gained so many skills and connections to others in my field with similar interests.”

Stuart Clayton - MS in Health Sciences Rising Star 2018

 As a former member of the WVU Student Government Executive Board, Stuart has always had an interest in government and science. He recently attended a workshop on Capitol Hill at the American Association for the Advancement of Science to learn about science policy and advocacy. Stuart has published two abstracts while engaged in research and logged numerous hours of volunteer and shadowing experience. He has been accepted into the WVU School of Medicine and will start in fall 2018.


Kate Bolyard - 2017 Kenneth D. Gray Award for Outstanding Student Leader

August 2017 Graduate

Kate Bolyard was humbled and honored to receive the 2017 Kenneth D. Gray Award for Outstanding Student Leader. Named in honor of the retired WVU Vice President of Student Life, the award is designed to recognize exemplary leadership on behalf of the students at WVU. This award is one of WVU’s most prestigious student honors and spotlights those who demonstrate problem-solving and consensus building; commitment to the Division of Student Life and student programs; fosters collaborative and critical-thinking; a strong, positive influence with other students; pursues and achieves high academic standards; and inspires, through example, for others to act with integrity and high professional standards.

Kate is a 4th generation Mountaineer from Martinsburg, WV. She is a graduate student in Health Sciences and a 2016 WVU graduate with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology. She has been involved with a number of service oriented organizations and projects during her time at WVU, but her efforts over the past year are what led to her being presented this prestigious award. She serves as the Falling Run Trail Project Volunteer Coordinator. The Falling Run Greenspace is accessible, vibrant urban oasis with the potential to become a central park for the heart of Morgantown, forging a connection between WVU’s Organic Farm and Main Campus. The project has involved over 1,000 student volunteers and crew leaders that helped build hiking trails over the past 9 months.

“We had around 500 student volunteers - mostly freshman, participate during Welcome Week. We had a lot of good feedback from students and they have continued volunteering on this project throughout the fall and the spring,” Kate said.

“Kate’s leadership to this effort has been crucial,” said Julie A. Robison, Senior Advisor to the Vice President for the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance. “She always goes above and beyond; always keeping in mind how to create the positive experience for student volunteers and rewarding experiences for crew leaders.”

Kate looks forward to continue leading the effort to recruit volunteers with similar projects as she finishes her Master’s in Health Sciences and starts the Master’s in Safety Management program in August.

Kate said, “Growing up I knew I wanted to be a Mountaineer and ever since arriving in Morgantown, I have been giving back to the local community through service and will continue to do so long after I leave.”


Huntar Shank - "Rising Star" in the MS in Health Sciences Program

May 2017 Graduate

Huntar Shank was recognized as the 2017 “Rising Star” for the Health Sciences graduate program. He is a May 2016 graduate of West Virginia University-Parkersburg. Huntar served as the Chief Medical Scribe at the Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. He was able to gain clinical experience and leadership in this role as he oversaw twenty scribes. Huntar applied to the Master of Science in Health Sciences program to gain knowledge in graduate level science coursework and research experience to strengthen his application to a professional program. In June of 2017, Huntar will enter the Physician Assistant Studies Program at Marietta College in Marietta, OH.