Cristin Dolan ‘19
“I want to be someone who designs an accessible, approachable version of a prosthetic that is available to rural communities that don’t have access to hospitals.”
Cristin Dolan, a third generation Mountaineer, always knew she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her family by attending West Virginia University. Although she’s proud to be carrying on that legacy, Dolan is also excited to be paving her own way through one-of-a-kind opportunities at WVU and around the world.
A sophomore chemical engineering major from Wheeling, W.Va., Dolan is a 2015 WVU Foundation Scholar. In her first year at WVU, she was given the opportunity through scholarships to travel out of the country for the first time, serving in Nicaragua with the WVU Public Health Brigades.
“It completely changed my outlook on the entire world,” Dolan said.
While in Nicaragua, the group witnessed a motorcycle accident. Dolan said she was surprised when the individuals involved in the crash weren’t transported to a hospital. Instead, they were cared for in the ambulance that arrived on scene, which served as the main center for medical care available in the area.
“Seeing the rural poverty and how similar that was to some of the counties in West Virginia really opened my eyes to the fact that poverty is truly everywhere,” Dolan said.
Her experience serving abroad and learning more about global poverty influenced her future career thoughts, and her plans of becoming an engineer evolved.
“Now, either the energy field or the prosthetics field is really where I want to end up,” Dolan said. “I want to be someone who designs an accessible, approachable version of a prosthetic that is available to rural communities that don’t have access to hospitals.”
In spring 2017, Dolan will again travel abroad, but this time for a semester of studying at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. While this experience abroad will be vastly different from her time in Nicaragua, Dolan is looking forward to a new sense of independence and living in an urban area for the first time.
Still curious about the greater world, Dolan’s passions also lie within the state boundaries of West Virginia and serving the Mountaineer community. She is a member of Engineers Without Borders, which carries out community service projects and educates young students about the STEM fields.
Dolan is also a member of the WVU Marching Band, a group she finds particularly important for the representation, promotion and support of West Virginia. She enjoys sharing music and art with West Virginia residents from all over the state.
“One of the most touching things was going down to the flood-stricken counties to the state fair to perform with the band,” Dolan said. “We performed at a local concert and there were so many people in the crowd who hadn’t ever seen the Pride and perhaps they wouldn’t ever see the Pride if we hadn’t had the chance to perform down there.”
Dolan attributes her ability to focus on her studies and extracurricular involvement to all of the WVU supporters who contribute to the success of students. She says that words cannot truly describe the gratitude she has for those who give to scholarships.
“These are opportunities I potentially would not ever explore without any type of funding. I’ve received other scholarships from the University outside of the Foundation Scholarship and each one of them just solidifies the fact that I am able to take the Mountaineer spirit and show it to everyone,” Dolan said.
“Someone else has seen me as someone who is valuable enough and is worth their time enough to be someone who is almost a pioneer for the University. Being a recipient of private funding is really meaningful because it means someone has invested in my life.”