From Bridgeport, Grant DuVall is a senior biology major with a minor in addiction studies. He grew up in Destin, Florida. He loves exploring, hiking and camping, and is always looking to try new things. So this summer, he decided to pursue something completely new to him and joined the rowing team.
“I decided that I had done all these things throughout college, things that I wanted to do but that still furthered my academic goals. This time, I wanted to do something just for fun,” Grant said. “It’s a good break from home and school, going out on the river, meeting new people.”
His experiences with the Honors College have also helped make WVU feel like home.
“WVU has a lot of students — it’s a very large school. But at Honors it never felt that big,” Grant said. “I feel like I’m able to take advantage of opportunities that aren’t readily available at other universities. Honors definitely encouraged me to pursue things beyond the classroom and championed that mindset.”
He said some of his most impactful experiences throughout his time at WVU haven’t been directly related to his future career goals. First, as an incoming freshman, Grant went on an Adventure WV trip. He said he met people he’s still close with today. Next, he became an Honors Ambassador. Through this leadership opportunity, he got to not only help introduce prospective students to WVU, but also to watch as they grew during their time at WVU. Grant also works as a co-lead tutor for the Honors College’s testWELL Learning Center. He said he’s loved being able to take the opportunity to grow his mentorship skills.
Another experience that had a big impact on Grant was volunteering with Camp Kesem, a free summer camp for children whose parents have cancer. Through his involvement with the camp, he was able to develop an expected skillset: nonprofit fundraising.
“I didn’t know it was possible, that I could raise several thousand dollars,” Grant said.
But the experience that’s had the biggest impact on his professional plans is getting involved in research. Grant first researched with a multidisciplinary weight loss clinic, experimenting clinically with different methods to help tackle weight loss from different angles, working with dietitians and clients to use Instagram to help with food journaling. He later researched with the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), studying drug abuse. He specifically studied medication for opioid use disorder and their effectiveness, as well as telepsychiatry, therapy groups, and more. Now, he’s working on a research internship with New York University on ADHD adherence.
“It has shaped where I want to go in my career. I’ve gotten to talk to a lot of people around the world I never thought I would connect with,” Grant said.
These research experiences, as well as other experiences in his life, have led him to his Honors EXCEL project, creating an education curriculum to implement in the federal bureau of prisons to teach staff about medically assisted treatment for opioid abuse. Grant said there are a lot of misunderstandings about how medically assisted treatment works. His goal is to develop and improve his training design through a combination of surveys and quantitative analysis.
“With misunderstandings come a lot of barriers and stigma,” Grant said. “And if they don’t have any treatment, when they leave incarceration, they’re more than 12 times more likely to overdose.”
In the future, Grant plans to go to medical school to pursue neurosurgery or pediatrics and hopes to continue to work in research to pursue community-specific interventions. He said wherever he ends up, getting involved in the community is important to him.