Foundation Scholar Jessica Hogbin came to WVU with high ambitions, but she’ll be graduating with even more – three degrees that include history, Italian studies and religious studies. In addition to her three majors, she also completed a minor in medieval and renaissance studies and learned three new languages. She served as president for the Italian Studies Club, the History Club, WVU’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, Helvetia and Chimes.
She now serves as the vice president of the Undergraduate Research Association, where she’s proud to be the voice of humanities research. She worked regularly at the Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Museum, a regional history museum, and also as an Italian tutor at the World Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Support Center.
“Being a Foundation Scholar has meant the world to me,” she said. “It has given me the opportunity to study what I want and to study as widely as I want. I'm certain that, without the Foundation, I would've never been able to be a triple major or to study three new languages. The Foundation gave me the opportunity to study abroad in Italy as a mere freshman, which gave me the chance to get a step ahead on my language studies that would prove invaluable to my academic career.”
Hogbin’s favorite memories come from studying abroad in Italy in 2018, thanks to the stipend included in the Foundation Scholarship. The experience allowed her to strengthen her language skills as a freshman, which helped her in the remaining three years of her undergraduate experience.
“I had never been to Europe before that trip, and the entire study abroad experience felt otherworldly. I got to turn 20 years old while I was in Verona, the setting for Romeo and Juliet. Eating gelato on my birthday after getting to go to museums all day long has to be a top highlight of my college experience!”
Hogbin’s dream to study Renaissance Italy in graduate school has finally become a possibility thanks to the support from her professors. Her time in the Honors EXCEL program allowed her to develop a research project that she presented at five conferences and symposia, which helped her become the best possible candidate for graduate school.
“WVU gave me opportunities time and time again to affirm my belief that I am on the right path and that researching in history is what I am passionate about,” she said.
Hogbin has been accepted to several graduate schools and Ph.D. programs, and she’s currently deciding on where she will head for the fall of 2021.