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WVU women nominated by WVU for Goldwater Scholarship

Goldwater nominees 2021
Pictured left to right. Abreanne Andlinger, Rylee Cisney, Teagan Kuzniar and Bethany Wager

Four Honors students have been nominated by WVU for the Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s most prestigious award in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

The University is proud to endorse the following students this year:

●  Abreanne Andlinger from Moundsville

●  Rylee Cisney from Blairs Mills, Pennsylvania

●  Teagan Kuzniar from Morgantown

●  Bethany Wager from Waverly

The scholarship provides as much as $7,500 for tuition, fees, books and room and board for students who demonstrate their aptitude through coursework and their own original research.

Abreanne Andlinger, a biology major, researches the relationship between the transcription factors genomic screen homeobox 1 and 2 and the genes distal-less homeobox 5a and 6a in zebrafish. Andlinger is also a WVU Beckman Scholar.

"I am honored to have been nominated for such a prestigious scholarship,” Andlinger said. “This nomination shows me that I have successfully built upon my skills as a researcher and that I have a chance at a great research career ahead of me."

Rylee Cisney’s research focuses on discovering basic immune checkpoints of chronic inflammation in autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis (MS). Cisney is an immunology and medical microbiology major.

“Being able to make my parents proud is one of the best parts of being nominated for Goldwater, especially so my mother, who has been diagnosed with MS for my entire life, knows I am trying my best to help find a better treatment for her,” Cisney said.

Teagan Kuzniar, an environmental microbiology major, researches how environmental conditions alter microbial communities and how these community alterations affect the ecosystem.

“My nomination is an affirmation of my hard work as an aspiring career scientist. I am appreciative of the ASPIRE Office for its constant support and assistance,” Kuzniar said.

Bethany Wager conducts research in fisheries science studying brook trout populations in 25 headwater streams throughout eastern West Virginia, looking at adult sex ratios, environmental drivers, the production of offspring, and the size structure of adults present during spawning. Wager is a wildlife and fisheries major with minors in conservation ecology and statistics. She is also a recipient of the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship.

Wager recognized her experiences in research as integral to her trajectory. “Students should get involved in undergraduate research; it can change your life and open up so many doors and opportunities,” Wager said.

The Goldwater Scholarship Foundation plans to announce recipients later this spring.

"We are proud to nominate four women for the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship competition,” said Michelle Richards-Babb, Goldwater campus representative and professor of chemistry. “They are products of Appalachia and exemplify its values — industry, curiosity and discipline —  as they expand their research to address societal issues."

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, please visit or email