Women of WVU announces grant recipients, celebrates 10 years

Women of WVU is supporting three West Virginia University programs and three student-led projects with its latest round of grants as the giving circle marks 10 years.  

Women of WVU was established by the WVU Foundation in 2014 to empower and inspire women as leaders, philanthropists and advocates for the university.  

The group’s members contribute to the Women of WVU Enrichment Fund, which provides small grants to support projects led by female students and programs benefiting women at WVU and in West Virginia. One-to-three-year program grants worth up to $5,000 and one-year student project grants worth up to $2,500 are available.  

The 2024-25 grant cycle awarded $32,500 to new projects and programs, and an additional $25,000 to four programs on a multi-year funding cycle.  

“We’re so proud of the grants we are able to give to these women, and to the many others we’ve been able to support in the last 10 years,” Alexis Pugh, chair of the Women of WVU Leadership Council, said. “Our membership is growing, and as we continue to grow, we will have more funds available to invest in deserving women on campus. The beauty of a giving circle is that a group of women collectively can make quite an impact for a common good. There is strength in numbers, and the power of women coming together to help other women has been inspiring to us all.” 

Recipients of $5,000 program grants for 2024-25  

Samantha Thompson, to support a professional development event at the Health Sciences Center and STEM outreach to high school students in rural West Virginia. 

Melanie Page, to host speakers, educators and coaches as part of the WVU Women’s Leadership Initiative. 

Courtney Shimek, Allison Swan Dagen and Aimee Morewood, to support the College of Applied Human Sciences Literacy Education program by developing a video collection of literacy leaders across West Virginia. 

Page, professor of psychology and associate vice president for creative and scholarly activity at the WVU Research Office, said the Women’s Leadership Initiative appreciates the support, which will allow the program to recruit new members and continue its programming during a time of transition.  

“WLI has been a lifeline to so many women at WVU, and we are pleased to be able to continue to offer this support,” she said.  

Student recipients of $2,500 project grants for the 2024-25  

Sharon Phillips, for a community-engaged research project that aims to improve the health and well-being of West Virginia women and their children by evaluating and correcting gaps in clinical psychology treatment. 

Ibukunoluwa “Abigail” Olaosebikan, for an event and presentation associated with an outreach program that encourages young women in West Virginia to pursue STEM careers. 

Alexa Sowers, for research focused on using artificial intelligence to reduce antibiotic-resistant infections, while promoting bone-healing properties, and to present her findings at a national conference. 

Sowers is thankful for the funding to support her research efforts.  

“I am grateful to receive this grant from the Women of WVU. It holds significant value for my research and educational experiences,” she said. “As a woman in research, this funding not only acknowledges the value of my work but also provides essential resources to propel my research projects forward.” 

For more information about Women of WVU, visit wvuf.org/womenofwvu. Faculty, staff and alumni interested in joining or supporting the group can contact Jena Prokopchuk, executive director of leadership annual giving, at 304-282-4703 or [email protected]