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WVU names 2024 Foundation Scholars

Ama Ackon-Annan

Ama Ackon-Annan, a planned biomedical engineering major who grew up attending STEM camps facilitated by her engineer mother, was inspired at a very young age to work in the health care industry. She said WVU feels like a “home away from home” and she looks forward to joining intramural sports and getting involved in DEI initiatives. 

Five exceptionally talented incoming West Virginia University freshmen whose academic interests span the fields of humanities, medicine and science are eager to use their curiosity, creativity and problem-solving skills to generate new ideas and innovative solutions for a better future as the 2024-25 WVU Foundation Scholars, the highest academic scholarship the University awards. 

Story by WVU Today
Photos by WVU Today


The new cohort of scholars includes Ama Ackon-Annan from Woodrow Wilson High School, Isaac Brown from Clay County High School, Liam McCarthy from Musselman High School, Clare Talbott from Elkins High School and Zadie Worley from Liberty (Raleigh) High School.

“Our five Foundation Scholars represent the best of West Virginia and I look forward to officially welcoming them to the West Virginia University family this fall,” President Gordon Gee said. “During their time at WVU, Ama, Isaac, Liam, Clare and Zadie will be challenged as they pursue their passions. I have confidence they will all find success along their chosen paths of purpose.”

The group is among 20 high school seniors — all Bucklew Scholars — who competed last month for this prestigious scholarship for West Virginia students. 
The scholarship covers college costs for four years of undergraduate studies, including tuition and fees, room and board, and a book stipend. Each Foundation Scholar will also receive a $4,500 stipend to help diversify their academic journeys through study abroad, internships or research.

Ackon-Annan, a planned biomedical engineering major who grew up attending STEM camps facilitated by her engineer mother, was inspired at a very young age to work in the health care industry. She said WVU feels like a “home away from home” and she looks forward to joining intramural sports and getting involved in DEI initiatives. An avid fan of professional soccer, she would like to eventually study abroad in England or France. Ackon-Annan is excited to bridge her passion for biology and technology as a path to becoming a family physician. 

Brown, who discovered his career passion while volunteering his time to local political campaigns, will major in political science and mathematics. While exploring his college options, Brown decided to pursue his degrees where he wants to make a difference — his home state of West Virginia. He plans to join the Student Government Association, Model United Nations and eventually serve as legislative intern in Charleston or study comparative law in Europe. His longer-term goal is to attend law school and/or teach mathematics.

McCarthy will major in political science and jazz piano. He said he believes he will feel like “a big fish in a small pond and thrive at WVU.” A French horn and piano player, he plans to join the WVU Jazz Ensemble, participate in youth music outreach programs and become a Presidential Student Ambassador. Eventually, he would like to study politics in Germany and fulfill his dream of studying music in the Caribbean. A second-generation Foundation Scholar, he hopes to become a music professor or attend law school.

Talbott is planning to major in environmental, soil and water sciences. A project on global warming in elementary school propelled her passion for sustainable development focused on protecting the ecosystems of the Appalachian Mountains. She would like to become an active member of the LGBTQ+ community and get involved with Sustainability at WVU. Talbott, who took a gap year to work on an organic farm in Italy, also has plans to study abroad in a country with stringent environmental policies as a path to finding innovative solutions to preserve the planet for future generations. 

Worley will major in neuroscience. After watching a young family member suffer from epilepsy, she plans to use her degree to become a pediatric neurologist in West Virginia. Worley said her priorities align well with the top health care professionals at WVU, which include generating innovative ideas and helping others while pursuing her passions. She plans to join the Medical and Dental Brigades and hopes to have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking research at the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.

To qualify for the Foundation Scholarship, students must meet a rigorous set of criteria, including holding West Virginia residency, possessing a minimum grade point average of 3.8 and achieving a minimum composite score of 30 on the ACT or the equivalent SAT score.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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