Meet Shelby.

Shelby Thomas
Shelby Thomas
Bachelor of Science Program, Morgantown Campus

During her research in the Fall 2022 semester, West Virginia University School of Nursing student Shelby Thomas saw a need to help address the mental health and well-being of WVU students.

“The goal was to implement and evaluate an intervention as a response to the issue we found,” explained Thomas, a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. “I knew I wanted my intervention to be interactive and different from other methods seen to address mental health issues on our campus. This led me to the idea of journaling and deep breathing practice before finals.”

With the help of WVU Health Sciences BeWell and the Collegiate Recovery Program, Thomas invited students to take a break from finals Dec. 9, 2022, for a three-hour timeframe in the Health Sciences Pylons area. Attendees were invited to receive education on stress-relieving interventions, an opportunity to practice deep breathing, and to design a journal to take home.

“BeWell was amazing at helping me access crafting supplies, journals, and HSC services to set up a table in the Pylons,” Thomas said. “I was very pleased to see people’s positive reactions to the deep breathing techniques and their excitement about getting their own journal. It was a great experience!”

Thomas, a native of St. Charles, Illinois, is set to graduate in May 2023.

“I fell in love with the idea of the medical field when my mom was diagnosed and battling breast cancer when I was in 5th grade,” Thomas shared. “She always talked so highly of the nurses specifically, and after reflecting I felt myself being drawn to the profession.”

Thankfully, Thomas’s mom is now healthy and cancer-free. Thomas also shared that she was diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism in middle school, so she was even more drawn to the nursing field during doctor appointments of her own.

“After passing the NCLEX, I plan to start working at UPMC Presbyterian in a preparation to travel program they recently developed,” Thomas said. “I am excited for this new journey but will absolutely miss and never forget my fantastic experience at WVU. I feel that I have so much hands-on experience, and am prepared for this next step in my life thanks to our great program and all the staff involved.”