WVU has endorsed three students and one recent graduate for prestigious graduate school fellowships. These students’ applications highlight the expansive potential of education at WVU, with proposals that include studying the interdisciplinary topics of queer and feminist studies from a Middle East perspective; analyzing social inequality through the historic systems of white supremacy and economic structures; and implementing rural policies through a feminist lens.
Adam Craig and Myya Helm have both been endorsed for the Marshall Scholarship, which funds two years of graduate study at institutions in the United Kingdom.
WVU has endorsed Abbigail “Abbi” Davis” for the Mitchell Scholarship, which funds students to study at one-year graduate programs in Ireland.
Elizabeth Rockwell has been endorsed for the Rhodes Scholarship, which funds two years of graduate study at the University of Oxford.
Adam Craig, a 2021 WVU graduate in international studies who also minored in political science and economics, was a Foundation Scholar and Honors Foundations student. From Wheeling, Craig developed their international competency as an undergraduate as a Critical Language Scholar and Boren Scholar.
They hope to work for an international development agency, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development or the United Nations Development Programme, or to research the role of LGBTQ+ people in development work at a think tank, like the Center for Global Development, and to later pursue their PhD.
If awarded the Marshall Scholarship, they would use the scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts in transnational queer and feminist studies with a focus on the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, followed by a Master of Arts in development studies at the University of Sussex in affiliation with the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton.
“My favorite aspect of my education at WVU was the academic flexibility of my degree,” Craig said. “I was able to take courses on topics from African literature to advanced calculus, while also having the opportunity to travel to three different continents to work or study. Anything I wanted to learn or try, WVU was able to accommodate.”
Myya Helm, an Honors senior from West Union, is majoring in political science and international studies with a minor in Arabic studies. Passionate about social justice work and research, Helm is interested in the intersections of working-class Black history and critical theory, such as race critique and Black Marxism. Helm is a Gilman Scholar and Boren Scholar.
Helm plans to pursue this interest through the Marshall Scholarship and has proposed studying at Cardiff University for a two-year research Master of Philosophy in history with a focus on the Welsh history of Black working class coal miners.
“Black history is a critical subject that has been largely repressed, rewritten, and condensed due to the worldwide discrimination and marginalization of people of African descent. Because of this, I want to study the legacies of Black working class people in their own right, as opposed to accepting the fragmented account provided in broader overviews of American and British history,” Helm said.
After graduate school, Helm plans to return to the United States to earn both her Master of Arts and doctoral degrees in sociology from Howard University, one of the nation’s most prestigious historically Black universities, studying social inequality to analyze historic systems and structures of white supremacy, global capitalism and economic exploitation.
“I'm excited to see what these two remarkable young people will do for our community, our university, our state, and our world,” Dr. Lisa Di Bartolomeo, Marshall Scholarship faculty advisor, said. “Adam Craig will bring a wide-ranging experience to their prospective study program in the UK, having traveled the world, studied Arabic, worked on a farm in West Virginia, and proven themselves a scholar committed to working in responsible, just, and sustainable development. Myya Helm has proven herself a rising star in West Virginia social justice work, as well as a scholar to be reckoned with; her scholarly plan should she be awarded a Marshall, which will enable her to connect under-served communities in the UK and in West Virginia.”
Abbigail “Abbi” Davis is a dual-degree student in social work and multidisciplinary studies with minors in leadership studies, women and gender studies and sociology. From Morgantown, Davis plans to study Ireland’s implementation of rural policies using a feminist lens, hoping to bring examples of successful feminist rural policymaking back to the United States. If selected, she plans to pursue a Master’s in public policy at the National University of Ireland: Galway. Upon completing her degree, her goal is to begin a career as a foreign policy analyst in Washington, DC or abroad, studying rural initiatives worldwide.
“Having the addition of a multidisciplinary degree to my bachelor’s in social work has allowed me to adapt my education to where my passions lie and gain valuable experience that I will utilize in Ireland. My involvement as a Milan Puskar Leadership Scholar has inspired me to pursue opportunities like the Mitchell Scholarship where I can continue to develop my leadership capabilities and serve as a change agent,” Davis said.
“One of the most compelling aspects of Abbi’s future plans is her desire to blend feminist advocacy and rural policy in her graduate study and her career. It will be exciting to see what she learns, and I hope she brings it back home to West Virginia,” Dr. Jay Cole, Mitchell Scholarship Advisor, said.
Elizabeth Rockwell from Hopwood, PA, is a senior double major in women’s and gender studies and music with a minor in world music and an Honors Foundations and Honors EXCEL student. If selected, she plans to combine these two interests in her work through a Master of Studies in musicology and a Master of Science in social anthropology, both one-year programs at the University of Oxford.
She then plans to pursue a PhD in ethnomusicology, also studying museum studies or library sciences. Her career goals include teaching university ethnomusicology or world music-centered courses while conducting research and working with percussion students.
“Without participating in the undergraduate research programs offered at WVU, I would have never known I could apply for a scholarship as prestigious as the Rhodes Scholarship. Between doing musicological research and participating in student organizations such as SAI, the WVU Percussive Arts Coalition, and the Mountaineer Musicological Community, I was supported by faculty and peers who helped me solidify my plans for graduate school,” Rockwell said.
“I hope that with the endorsement of Liz to the next phase of this application that the national committee understands the value of the Arts that we hold here at WVU. Liz’s clear passion to learn and help others are cornerstones for a successful career and we are proud to endorse her for this prestigious award,” Dr. Yoav Kaddar, Rhodes Scholarship faculty advisor, said.
The ASPIRE office prepares students for highly competitive scholarships. Students who are interested in applying should email email@example.com to set up an appointment.