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Thrasher, King among five endorsed for nation's top scholarships

Photos of Ginny Thrasher and Morgan King.

Virginia "Ginny" Thrasher and Morgan King were among five young women from the Honors College to be endorsed by West Virginia University to compete for three prestigious awards: the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships.  

“Watching these talented students flourish as scholars and citizens makes me optimistic about the future of our country,” said Ken Blemings, dean of the Honors College. “At WVU, they found their calling and I have no doubt that they will continue to impact their chosen fields.”

Thrasher was endorsed the Rhodes Scholarship, which provides full financial support to pursue a degree at the University of Oxford.

biomedical engineering major in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources Thrasher developed a deep interest in the field of psychology through her experience with the WVU Rifle Team. After winning a gold medal in the women’s 10 meter air rifle at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she began contemplating how having a growth mindset—a belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — can be expanded to other fields. A native of Springfield, Virginia, Thrasher is a nine-time All American and national champion in her sport. She credits the growth mindset philosophy to much of her success.

“I am interested in conducting research to see how a growth mindset can be taught on a larger scale and in other areas outside of athletics such as addiction and leadership studies,” Thrasher said. “It would be incredible to explore this topic at a university like Oxford.”

A Charleston native, King graduated with a degree in civil engineering in May and is currently teaching English in Spain as a Fulbright Scholar. She will also be volunteering at a non-governmental organization focused on women’s empowerment. The Marshall Scholarship, which is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, would enable her to pursue two master’s degree programs in environmental systems engineering and public administration in science, engineering and public policy at the University College London.

“There is vast opportunity between the United States and the United Kingdom to deploy scientific diplomacy as solutions for consensus building globally,” King said. “The University College London promotes the development of future scientists and policymakers which aligns with my goal to work in the field of environmental policy and leadership.” 

Also nominated for the Rhodes Scholarship were Emily Harrison from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and Andrea Pettit from the School of Medicine, while Karen Laska from Eberly was nominated for the Mitchell Scholarship.

These young women will learn in the coming months if they are named as finalists for these scholarships. The ASPIRE Office prepares students who want to compete for nationally competitive scholarships like these. Students who are interested in applying can email to set up an appointment.



For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:


Phone contacts:
College Relations office: 304-293-4086
Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157
Other College administrative and department offices: Administration