Presidential Scholarships awarded to three incoming freshmen

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For the 11th consecutive year, three West Virginia high school seniors have been named as recipients of Fairmont State University’s premier academic scholarship, the Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholarship.

The following students have been selected as 2019 scholarship winners:

  • Mackenzie Sorton of Morgantown, W.Va.
  • Amber Meadows of Ghent, W.Va.
  • Katie McDaniels of Bridgeport, W.Va.

“Fairmont State University continues to offer opportunities for high-achieving students, including our three scholarship winners. I am happy to welcome them to the Falcon family,” said Fairmont State President Mirta Martin. “We take our commitment to give our students exactly what they need to be successful in our changing global economy seriously.”

Mackenzie Sorton is a graduate of Morgantown High School. She will be majoring in architecture when she attends Fairmont State in the fall. She is the daughter of Eric and Shelly Sorton.

“Along with the low cost to attend Fairmont State due to the Presidential Scholarship and my athletic scholarship, I chose Fairmont because it offered the perfect combination of my major and continuing my athletic career at the collegiate level,” she said. “As an aspiring architect who was looking to play tennis in college, the school options were limited due to the demand of the major and the time commitment to the sport.”

Sorton is looking forward to becoming part of the Falcon Family and getting involved on campus. She is excited to join clubs and make new friends as she starts this new chapter.

“This scholarship means so much to me. It means and proves that all of my hard work and determination to succeed through all aspects of my life has paid off,” she said. “I can attend college and earn a degree without having a financial burden over my family or me.”

Amber Meadows is a graduate of Shady Spring High School and will be double majoring in biology and chemistry. She is the daughter of Shawn and Theresa Meadows.

“I chose Fairmont State University because I felt as if I was home. I was welcomed by such friendly students and staff members who focused on getting to know me personally, providing me with the confidence that I would be surrounded by individuals who were concerned with my future success, who cared about me,” she said. “I knew that I would be more than just a number at Fairmont State University while still receiving an excellent education to ensure I am a competitive candidate in applying for medical school.”

Making connections, getting to know her professors, and meeting new friends are what Meadows is looking forward to. She is also excited to continue serving the community as a volunteer and challenging herself academically.

“To me, this scholarship is a blessing. Because of the presidential scholarship, I will be able to enter medical school debt free and pursue my passion of serving others by becoming a pediatrician,” she said.

Katie McDaniels will be majoring in business administration with a concentration in finance when she arrives on campus in the fall. She is the daughter of Raube and Lee McDaniels.  

“One thing that drew me to Fairmont was that they had the major I was interested in, as well as good internship and job placement opportunities within it,” she said. “I really liked the smaller class sizes and campus, allowing me to feel comfortable within the school. On each of my visits to the campus, the faculty and administrators welcomed me and never made me feel as if I were out of place.”

McDaniels is excited to be getting a great education where she will be able to go straight into the workforce. Building relationships with professors and getting active in her classes, she is looking forward to meet new people and create new experiences outside the classroom.

“Receiving this scholarship gives me a sense of fulfillment as it allows me to achieve one of my goals. I take pride in my accomplishments and know that much of my hard work throughout high school has paid off,” she said. “Through my selection as a Presidential Scholarship recipient, I know that I can be a positive leader and role model for others on campus and provide an outlet for support and help to those in need.”

The competitive scholarship includes tuition, room and board and a book stipend. The high school of each of the winners was presented with a plaque featuring its student during the school’s spring awards assembly.

The deadline to apply for the Presidential Scholarship is in February each year. To compete for the Presidential Scholarship, named by the Fairmont State Board of Governors in honor of Dr. Charles J. McClain who served as interim president from 2008-2009, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a West Virginia student who is a member of the Class of 2019.
  • Be a PROMISE Scholarship recipient.
  • Submit a Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholarship application and essay.
  • Complete an admissions file (general application, high school transcript, test scores) prior to the deadline.
  • Have a cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Have an ACT composite score of 26 or higher or 1190 SAT (combined Critical Reading and Math scores taken prior to March 2016) or 1260 SAT total score (taken March 2016 and after).
  • Participate in on-campus interviews.

First-year recipients must maintain an overall GPA of a 2.75 at the end of their first year. An overall GPA of 3.0 is required for renewal during subsequent years. A minimum of 30 credit hours must be obtained in a year of enrollment for renewal. The Charles J. McClain Presidential Scholarship can only be awarded up to eight semesters.