A project of
Generation West Virginia

2017-2018 Impact Fellows

December 18th, 2016 by GWV Staff

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Chelsea Bricker, Vaught, Inc.

Even before Chelsea Bricker graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in strategic communications, she knew she wanted to find a way to work and do good in the state that raised her. And then Generation West Virginia’s Impact WV Fellowship came along and with its work-four-days, volunteer-one-day-a-week structure, Chelsea knew she found what she was looking for. A native of Oak Hill and now a resident of Fayetteville, Chelsea is the proud mom of Holden, who just turned 5 and loves Legos.


Sara Cottingham, Downstream Strategies

Since growing up in Texas, Sara Cottingham’s lived in almost every corner of the country. But she’s never had a place or its people, grab her like West Virginia did. In 2012, Sara signed on to work for one year as a VISTA volunteer at the Coal River Group based out of St. Albans, West Virginia. She ended up staying here for four and a half years. Since then, for the last year, Sara’s lived in Vermont helping nonprofits, but she’s been looking for a reason to come back to the Mountain State. And Generation West Virginia’s Impact WV Fellowship gave her a reason she couldn’t refuse.


McKenzie Greer, EntreEd

When McKenzie Greer first entered the University of Charleston, she didn’t have a clue what she wanted to do. She took some business classes, but those weren’t her cup of tea. So, she talked to a department chair at the university about her predicament. McKenzie told her she liked creating things as well as marketing them. The chair introduced her to the world of communications. And McKenzie hasn’t looked back since. A native of Elkview, West Virginia and recent graduate of the University of Charleston with a degree in integrated communications, McKenzie will serve as the communication specialist for EntreEd, a nonprofit focused on entrepreneurial education.

Jacob Howell, Core 10

Jacob Howell had no idea what he was going to do after graduation. Try to work for a game development company. Probably move to California. With a degree in computer information technology concentrating in game development from Marshall University, Jacob was almost certain that if he wanted to find a good job in his field, he’d have to leave his home state. But then his department chair at Marshall University told him about Generation West Virginia’s Impact WV Fellowship. Now, as an Impact fellow, Jacob is working in his field doing backend web development in Huntington, West Virginia – just 30 minutes from his home in Hurricane.


Elisabeth LaFond, Vaught, Inc.

Elisabeth LaFond chased a soccer ball and her dreams all the way to the Mountain State. The Wisconsin native played on the West Virginia Wesleyan College women’s soccer team, while completing her bachelor’s degree in business administration. This May, she received her MBA and although she applied to a number of jobs across the country, her top choice was always earning a fellowship with Impact WV, because it meant she’d get to stay in the Mountain State.


Corey Shetler, WesBanco

Corey Shetler still remembers the day he first learned about investing. He was in the eighth grade. It was the middle of the Great Recession and a giant snowstorm had just hit the east coast. In need of some help, Corey’s uncle offered to pay Corey if the eighth grader could find a ride down to his northern Virginia home and help him shovel. Bundled up outside, shoveling paths for his relatives, Corey was captivated by a big house across the street. “What does he do?” Corey asked, pointing at the house. “He’s a stockbroker,” his uncle replied. “What are stocks?” Corey returned. Corey’s questions soon turned into action. Before he even graduated from high school, Corey successfully bought and sold shares from his local bank. Since attending West Virginia University to study finance, Corey’s interest in the world of finance – the numbers, the statistics, the history and the human-decision making it requires – led him to Impact WV, where he’ll be bringing his passion for finance working as a fellow for WesBanco in Wheeling.


Veronica St. Clair, Core 10

Since moving to West Virginia from her home in Colombia four years ago, Veronica St. Clair’s struggled to find a good job. Although she holds a degree in industrial engineering from a university in Colombia, convincing possible U.S. employers of her skills and capability proved much more difficult than she ever expected. And it’s not like most employers were going to pick up the phone and dial one of her references in South America. So, instead Veronica’s jumped around from job to job, trying to find her place in the Mountain State. She worked as a babysitter. At a call center. In a restaurant or two. But finding a job that matched her potential? That didn’t happen until she found Impact WV.