Tiffany Strange (left) and Alaina Eavenson (right)
With their undergraduate degrees from the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design as well as their recently awarded scholarships from the H.E. “Doc” Kidder Memorial Trust, two West Virginia University alumni are prepared to further their education and bring about a brighter future for West Virginia.
This year’s recipients are Morgantown native Alaina Eavenson and Tiffany Strange from Newport, Tennessee.
Eavenson graduated from WVU in December 2022 with a degree in animal and nutritional sciences. Her goal is to become a veterinarian and give back to West Virginia for all the support she’s received over the years. She was accepted to Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and is on her way to realizing her dream. Eavenson was awarded $6,000 a year from the trust, which will lessen the loans she’ll need for the annual $50,000 tuition.
“I want to be able to help with overpopulation issues to improve the quality of life for both the humans and animals in the area,” she wrote in her application.
Her nominators, Teaching Professor of Veterinary Medicine Margaret Minch and Associate Professor of Animal and Nutritional Sciences Eugene Felton, agreed that she is “absolutely all that her transcripts show and more.”
“Alaina already makes great contributions to her community and looks forward to the day when she can make an even greater impact as a member of the veterinary profession,” Minch noted in Eavenson's nomination letter.
The memorial trust honors the late H.E. “Doc” Kidder, professor emeritus of animal and veterinary sciences in the Davis College, who enjoyed seeing students fulfill their potential to become veterinarians and other professionals. Strange is one of those other professionals he hoped to support even after his passing in 1989.
Strange, a nontraditional student, worked for 10 years in the food service industry before deciding to pursue her bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and foods at WVU. She graduated in May of this year and was accepted to the Nutritional and Food Science Master’s Program and Dietetic Internship at WVU. To help with cost of tuition and fees, Strange was awarded the $4,000 a year from the trust. Strange was also recently awarded the Hazel Ruby McQuain Graduate Scholarship, which supports outstanding West Virginia residents to pursue and complete graduate degrees.
In her application for the H.E. Kidder Memorial Trust, she said she hopes her master’s education and the dietetic internship will prepare her to help children in West Virginia make healthy food choices throughout their lives.
“Growing up in rural Appalachia, I’ve experienced firsthand the impact that food insecurity can have on individuals and communities,” Strange wrote in her application. “I believe the field of nutrition and dietetics can make a meaningful difference by providing proactive solutions.”
Professor of Human Nutrition and Foods Janet Tou has worked with Strange and says her former student found her true passion – “ensuring that wholesome nutritious foods are accessible and affordable while also preserving the environment and supporting local communities.”
For 30 years, the trust has provided students with thousands of dollars for each year of their post-baccalaureate instruction. Kidder had a distinguished career at WVU as a researcher and educator, serving from 1954 to 1988. After his death in 1989, his will established the trust to support Davis College students in their graduate or professional education. Selection is based on academic performance with added consideration for leadership and financial need.
“This trust is crucial to students because it helps take the cost burden off those wanting to pursue a master's or doctoral degree and wanting to make West Virginia a better place through the nutritional sciences, either animal or human,” Strange added. “I have had to work full-time my entire undergraduate career, and now with this scholarship, I can focus more on my classwork and lab work in graduate school.”
The Kidder Trust is under the stewardship of the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit corporation that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of the University.