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WVU Parkersburg welcomes inaugural class of Ascend students

Parkersburg, W.Va. (August 12, 2020) – “The world can take away many things from you, but one thing it can never take away is your education. Once you earn it, it is yours forever. Each one of you is special, and we are so very proud of your determination to earn an education and a great career.”

West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Dr. Chris Gilmer recently addressed the college’s inaugural class of Ascend students during the program’s Summer Institute, offering words of advice and commending their academic drive as they begin the semester.

The Summer Institute, held over the course of two days and four sessions to accommodate for public health and safety guidelines, served as an orientation for 56 individuals participating in Ascend.

Ascend (Accelerating Student Completion: Encouraging New Dreams) was created to help more students earn certificate and associate degrees within three years by increasing financial, academic and personal supports. Funded by a $1.7 million, five-year grant from Arnold Ventures, Ascend is modeled after the Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs (ASAP) at City University of New York’s (CUNY) colleges. WVU Parkersburg is one of only two colleges chosen by the Arnold Foundation for financial support this year.

“There is no better time, in recent memory, for WVU Parkersburg to launch this excellent program and welcome the first class of Ascend students,” WVU Parkersburg Provost Dr. Chad Crumbaker said. “The program is uniquely designed to individually support and benefit students in every way possible to ensure successful and on-time completion of their degrees. It was my pleasure to meet our Ascend students and I could sense their excitement about starting the school year and being a part of such a valuable and enriching program.”

During the event, students met with Ascend staff and faculty who offered information about special class registration options, career assistance, tutoring, tools to be successful in the classroom and more.

At the conclusion of the Summer Institute, students were formally recognized for their admission into the program with a signing ceremony. A photo gallery of the signing ceremony can be found at

“I am extremely pleased to welcome our first cohort of students into Ascend,” WVU Parkersburg Ascend Director Jennifer Forster said. “Our goal is for all students in the cohort to complete their certificate or associate degree within three years with the help of additional academic advising, tutoring and career guidance.”

WVU Parkersburg is pleased to announce its inaugural class of Ascend students:

Chad Albright
Savannah Anthony
Zachary Ball
Sydney Barker
Jenna Barnhart
Jakeb Bertram
Kylee Bethel
Brittany Brady
Julian Brady
Brian Buck
Samantha Chandler
Heavenly Chase
Julie Coberly
Hunter Coull
Isaac Cutright
Mattyson Darling
Ethan Drinkwater
Kaitlyn Fox
Brook Freeland
Caden Fryman
Addison Garner
Savannah Hedgepath
Karly Henderson
Adam Hill
Adam Hoschar
Logan Jackson
Natalie James
Robert Jarvis
Zachary LeClain
Stormie Mahone
Taylor Marks
Jasmine McClure
Travis McDonald
Sierra Mcelwain
Christopher Miller
Jessica Mosier
Kylie Myers
Teddi Northrop
Sydney Nuckolls
Brayden Pfaff
Nachelle Probst
Alexandra Queen
Katelynn Rhodes
Nevada Richards
Noah Richardson
Zachary Silvia
Nathaniel Simonton
Trinity Smith
Tanner Snodgrass
Amauri Tillman
Raynah Wagoner
Amber Ward
Jacob Watson
Levi Westfall
Ethan Wix
Brooke Young

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