David Laub, a junior at West Virginia University, is an advocate for increased access to resources for all students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As someone from a low-income background himself, David is attuned to the vast disparities between the opportunities and resources available at high schools throughout the state of West Virginia. To support students from disadvantaged communities in our state and help them seek a college education, David developed a club and mentoring program called Mountaineer Mentors. He invited the top 20 internal scholarship winners at West Virginia University to join the club and piloted the mentoring program this past year. As members of the club, the WVU students returned to their high schools and provided mentoring and guidance to high school students in their own communities. David plans to recruit more high-achieving students who come from particularly under-resourced parts of our state next year.
All people, regardless of their circumstances, deserve equity with regards to education and opportunity. Unfortunately, this sentiment is not true in practice for many people across the nation. Society often overlooks people of low socioeconomic standing, failing to afford them the same chances to excel that we give to the affluent. I'll never forget how little faith was placed in myself and my peers to succeed in our small town, and how little access we had to the developmental experiences afforded to some of my university classmates. Since enrolling at West Virginia University, I've founded Mountaineer Mentors, an outreach and counseling service for West Virginia high school students. We aspire to give our region of Appalachia the information they need to break barriers and improve the environment they grew up in. This involves traveling to high schools throughout the state to present on standards of professional development and supply 1-on-1 counseling opportunities to students. Only by bettering our educational attainment can we collectively push the state forward. After graduating, I plan to enroll in an M.D./M.P.H. program and someday work to create beneficial, holistic health policy in West Virginia.