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Jessica Cunningham, M.D./Ph.D. Candidate

Jessica Cunningham, M.D./Ph.D. Candidate at WVU, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Mary Catherine Buswell Award for her commitment to women and leadership at WVU and the community. 

The Mary Catherine Buswell Award was established in 1978 and recognizes a faculty, staff member or student who demonstrates excellence in their field as it relates to the advancement of University women, community and civic activities that serve and advance women or significant pioneering activities that improve the status of women. The recipient of the Mary Catherine Buswell Award receives a $1000 gift to be used for travel, supplies, salary supplement, or any other use commensurate with WVU policies.

Cunningham completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Mercyhurst University in 2011 where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. During her time at WVU she founded Graduate Women Advocating Science, an organization which seeks to advance women in the field of science and promotes outreach in the community to inspire young women to pursue scientific studies. In addition to her work at WVU, Cunningham has also worked closely with organizations such as Girl Scouts and the Morgantown Public Library to promote women in science. 

From her nomination, colleague Connor Ferguson acknowledge that, “Most recently, Jessica led a group endeavor to create blankets for donation to the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center in West Virginia. This semester, she has united the Health Sciences Center graduate and medical programs through the development of a Women’s Empowerment Series, incorporating the Health Sciences BeWell Program. Additionally, Jessica has developed a network of female scientists on the health sciences campus- creating opportunities for camaraderie, personal growth, and empowerment.”

Cunningham has made a commitment to serving women throughout her academic career both at WVU and within the community. The Council for Women’s Concerns is honored to present her with the 2020 Buswell Award. For more information on the Council for Women’s Concerns, please visit

As the recipient of the Mary Catherine Buswell Award, Cunningham will receive a $1,000 award to be used for travel, supplies, salary supplement or any other use commensurate with WVU policies, and she will be formally recognized during the WVU Weekend of Honors.