Fifteen of West Virginia’s top high school seniors were recently offered Bucklew Scholarships to attend West Virginia University next fall.

Bucklew Scholarships, valued at more than $20,000, provide students with $4,500 toward educational costs per year for four years and also include a book stipend each year. The awards are named for former WVU President Neil S. Bucklew, who established the WVU Scholars Program during his tenure as the Universitys 20th president.

The recipients are:

  • Mark Biedler , Home School, Gerrardstown, Berkeley County
  • Paul Biedler , Home School, Gerrardstown, Berkeley County
  • Daniel Carrier , University High School, Morgantown, Monongalia County
  • John Estep , Tyler Consolidated High School, Sistersville, Tyler County
  • Jason Gianola, Nitro High School, Cross Lanes, Kanawha County
  • Douglas Funk, Hedgesville High School, Hedgesville, Berkeley County
  • Brent Hardman , Parkersburg Catholic High School, Parkersburg, Wood County
  • Hillary Homburg , Capital High School, Charleston, Kanawha County
  • Ashley Jenkins, Preston High School, Newburg, Preston County
  • Allison Lastinger , Morgantown High School, Morgantown, Monongalia County
  • Kristina Lebedeva , University High School, Morgantown, Monongalia County
  • Sarah Lovell , Martinsburg High School, Martinsburg, Berkeley County
  • Matthew Miller , Charleston Catholic High School, Charleston, Kanawha County
  • Lori Reber , Parkersburg South High School, Washington, Wood County
  • Steven Williams , The Linsly School, Moundsville, Marshall County

The scholarships are supported, in part, by the WVU Foundation Inc. and are part of the Universitys comprehensive awards program. Since 1987, the WVU Scholars Program has committed more than $30 million in scholarships ranging from one-time, $1,000 awards to full, four-year awards valued at more than $45,000.

These 15 students will now compete for WVU s top academic award, the Foundation Scholarship, which will be announced in May at the state Capitol in Charleston. Each year, five Foundation Scholarships are awarded solely to West Virginia resident students.

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p. Mark Lavely Biedler is the son of Russell and Cynthia Biedler of Gerrardstown, Berkeley County.


  • p. Videographer, web developer and strawberry farmerMark Biedler has worn all of these hats, at just 17 years of age.

His interest in computers and technology is evident in most of his academic, extracurricular and community activities. For the last two years, Mark has created slides and graphics for his church’s annual missions festival using PowerPoint computer software. During his ninth-grade year, he developed web sites for the Musselman-South Berkeley Community Library and the Martinsburg Rotary club. This academic year, he created videos for several community groups, including the Hedgesville High School Listener Program and the Independent Fundamental Churches of America.

In addition, Mark and his twin brother, Paul, also a Bucklew Scholar, created a web site to promote their strawberry farm business, Didera Inc., a business the two have operated since 1998.

A home-school student at Panhandle Family Academy, Mark has garnered numerous academic honors, including competing on the Bible Quiz team that placed first in the Midwest Winter Tournament this year. He has represented Berkeley County in Regional Math Field Day and competed three years on the national level of Academic Games competitions. He was also selected to attend the Governor’s Honors Academy hosted by WVU last summer.

Mark plans to study computer or electrical engineering at WVU .

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p. Paul Matthew Biedler is the son of Russell and Cynthia Biedler, Gerrardstown, Berkeley County


  • p. Aristotle once said,”We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”Paul Biedler has learned to excel not only in school, but has made a habit of excelling in his community and beyond.

Biedler, a National Merit Finalist, and his brother co-own a strawberry business that requires yearly attention and dedication and have designed a website for Didera Inc.”To me, these jobs have been more than just tasks for financial gain,”Biedler wrote in his application essay,”but rather opportunities to develop management and business skills that can be applied to any job or any activity.”

While being home-schooled in Berkeley County, Biedler has been active as a coach for Cross Trainers, a weekly ministry targeted toward children of low-income families that develops moral values and character development. Bielder enjoys being a role model for children.”It has allowed me the opportunity to change lives, and few endeavors have potential for such a lasting impact.”

Besides work and community involvement, Bielder has made a habit of winning various awards, including prizes for both social studies and science fair projects, Academic Games, Math Field Day and Bible quizzes. He was also selected to attend Governors Honor Academy and is an Advanced Placement scholar. In addition, Bielder won an Army award in the category of botany and a Navy award in science.

Biedler plans to study mechanical engineering at WVU and plans to return to his fathers business, Electric Motor Repair, upon graduation.

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*Daniel Carrier is the son of Daniel and Dawn Carrier of Morgantown, Monongalia County

Dan Carrier learned early on in his high school years that one of the most important lessons in his young life was to set goals and abide by those goals. One of his chemistry teachers at University High school once used the phrase,”Its not the destination that matters, it is the ride to the destination.”

After trying out for his high school junior varsity baseball team and not making the cut, Daniel Carrier dedicated himself to working out for the following yearlifting weights, running and jumping rope until he finally secured a spot on the team.

On his Bucklew scholarship application Carrier said,”The experience taught me that if you set goals and pursue them with dedication and perseverance you will reach them.”

Carrier plans to achieve his goals at WVU in mechanical engineering and then attending medical school.

While at University High, Carrier served as student body president and captain of the football team. A member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta math honorary, he was a representative to Mountaineer Boys State and a member of student council and the ski club. For the past three years, he has been a recipient of the United Way Presidents Service Award.

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*John Phillip Estep is the son of Phillip and Carmen Estep of Sistersville, Tyler County

As 2002 class valedictorian at Tyler Consolidated High School and student body president, its obvious that John Estep isnt new to the idea of being a leader. As student body president and charter member of the schools radio station, Estep had the opportunity to interview Gov. Bob Wise last year during a visit to his high school.

“I was very pleased to have the opportunity to represent my classmates, my school and my county in front of the leader of our state,”Estep commented on his Bucklew scholarship application.

As a political science major at WVU , Estep hopes to pursue a law degree and a career in politics one day. His ultimate goalachieving the governorship of the state of West Virginia.

Estep, a member of the National Honor Society, was named an All-American Scholar and represented his school at the Governors Honors Academy and American Legion Mountaineer Boys State. He also served as vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America, vice president of Hi-Y and captain of the Varsity Golf Team.

In his spare time, Estep has dedicated hours of his time to community service projects such as Energy Express, Project America, and collection and donation of teddy bears to the Ronald McDonald House.

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*Jason Anthony Gianola is the son of John and Lynne Gianola of Cross Lanes, Kanawha County

This”sandwich artist”has big plans for the future. As a two-year employee at his hometown Subway restaurant, Jason Gianola has the right attitude about life and success.

Although most would scoff at his minimum wage job, Gianola insists that a job is not always about making the most money, but about performing interesting work with people you like. Hes had the opportunity to see how a business works from behind the scenes and plans to incorporate the strengths into his own business someday.

A future finance major at WVU , Gianola hopes to be a chief financial officer of a global company one day. He owes his success to parents who instilled in him a good work ethic and taught him to be well-rounded.

As a student at Nitro High School, Gianola has participated in many extracurricular activities and leadership roles, including serving as president of the Key Club and Mu Alpha Theta and vice president of the Drama Club. Ranked first in his class and a member of the National Honors Society, Gianola won a Bausch and Lomb Science Award in 2001 and attended Mountaineer Boys State and the West Virginia Governors Honors Academy.

Conquering challenges has become his forte. Diving into as many honors courses as he could, many friends and teachers asked why he is so hard on himself, to which Gianola replied, in Robert Frosts words,”Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”

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*Douglas Scott Funk is the son of Janet S. Funk of Hedgesville, Berkeley County

Throughout his years at Hedgesville High School, Scott Funk has acquired a number of honors that any student can be proud of.

Funk is a National Merit Finalist and Presidential Scholars candidate. A member of the National Honor Society and Art National Honor Society, he attended the Governors Honors Academy, the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and participated in the Marsh Institute Student Citizenship Program. He also served as student body vice president, president of the Latin Club and captain of the English Team as part of the Academic Competition for Excellence.

Douglas Funk hopes to obtain a degree in both physics and philosophy while at WVU and perhaps obtain a law degree. Through an intricate system of investing, invention patenting and freelance writing, Funk hopes to eventually reach financial independence one day.

“The future is too mercurial to pin down and examine, but the daunting possibilities form a swirling horizon to which I look with only an eager smile of anticipation,”wrote Funk on his Bucklew scholarship application.

Funks personal interests include oil painting, military history, public speaking and reading anything by Ayn Rand or H.P. Lovecraft.

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*Brent Steven Hardman is the son of Steven and Teresa Hardman of Parkersburg, Wood County

Unlike many of his classmates, Brent Hardman doesnt mind family chores. In fact, he enjoys being the lone handyman in a house of the technically impaired.

In the Hardman household, he has the important task of fixing just about anything and everythingfrom electric guitars to wood furniture.”I actually like it,”Hardman explained on his scholarship application.

This National Merit finalist and National Honor Society member realizes the importance of being a role model for his siblings. While his main duty is chauffeuring his siblings around to various events and activities, he understands that his No. 1 responsibility is providing a good example for his younger brother and sister.”Setting an example for others to follow is one of the strongest tools for showing a child which way to take: a good road or a bad one,”wrote Hardman.

As a student at Parkersburg Catholic High School, Hardman served as junior class president, a DARE Program role model and blood drive coordinator. He is a member of the varsity tennis team, captain of the varsity soccer team and has won several awards from his participation in the Odyssey of the Mind competition, Math Field Day and Social Studies Fair. He has also volunteered at a YMCA summer youth camp and St. Josephs Hospital and served as a Big Buddy Volunteer.

Hardman plans to study engineering at WVU , but his ideal goal is to work as a patent attorney for a law firm.

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*Hillary Homburg is the daughter of John and Kay Homburg of Charleston, Kanawha County

Hillary Homburg has learned that being a graceful dancer and musician has given her the opportunity to define her leadership style. Serving as president of the 2001-02 Capital High School dance company has been one of the most challenging and important leadership roles of her young life so far.

Patience, understanding and friendship are several of the qualities that Homburg has developed while leading the dance troupe.”I feel that by always giving 100 percent, knowing my routines and being respectful to choreographers and my fellow dancers, I set the standard for new members to follow,”she wrote in her application essay.

Homburg has excelled creatively and academically. Both a member of the National Honors Society and International Thespian Society, she has defined her leadership style as a trombone player in the West Virginia Youth Symphony Orchestra and Capital High School Marching Band. She was accepted to the West Virginia Scholars Academy, named to Whos Who of American High School Students and has published a pamphlet entitled”Women in the West Virginia LegislatureA History.”

Homburg plans to volunteer at West Virginia HealthRite, a non-profit clinic, during the summer of 2002, offering her help as a filer, pill counter and receptionist. In fall 2002, she plans to attend WVU , where she will study both biology and chemistry. Her career goal includes medical school, where she plans to become an ophthalmologist serving rural communities in West Virginia.

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*Ashley Renee Jenkins is the daughter of Ralph and Rhonda Jenkins of Newburg, Preston County

While at Preston County High, Ashley Jenkins has discovered a talent for conducting, filing papers, writing poetry, fixing instruments, dancing, making copies and playing piano and clarinet.

As drum major of her high school marching band, Jenkins has had to learn a little bit of everything. This member of the National Honor Society and National Merit finalist is the glue of the marching band and an exceptional”jack of all trades.”Jenkins won the Fred J. Miller Outstanding Achievement Award and received best drum major award at the West Virginia Forest Festival for her efforts as conductor and student leader of the band.

When not involved in her marching band endeavors, Jenkins has used her free time to offer her assistance as pianist for the Birds Creek United Methodist Church, choreographer for the West Preston Middle School majorettes and tutor at her school guidance office.

Jenkins was a Math Field Day and National Geographic Geo Challenge participant, member of the chess, theology and poetry clubs and member of the student council.

Jenkins plans to study music at WVU in the fall.

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p. Allison Marie Lastinger is the daughter of Michael and Valerie Lastinger of Morgantown, Monongalia County


  • p. The name Allison Lastinger may already be quite familiar to Morgantown area residents. The Morgantown High School senior has penned a column for The Dominion Post this academic year.”Writing about sisterhood, friendship and cultures, I hope to reassure my readers,”Lastinger wrote on her Bucklew Scholar application.”We as teenagers of a new generation are still burdened by the same conflicts as our parents and grandparentsracism, prejudice, pain.”

Among her numerous academic honors are a first-place finish in Monongalia County for the West Virginia Young Writer’s Contest in 2001, first-place regional and state finishes in Science Bowl, first place in the region and state in the Junior Engineering Technical Society’s Team competition and a President’s Student Service Award for community service. She serves as captain of the FIRST Robotics team.

In addition to her school activities, Lastinger has volunteered over 200 hours of community service, including work at the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center and the Ronald McDonald House.

She plans to major in both biology and chemistry at WVU .

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p. Kristina Annah Lebedeva is the daughter of Larisa Lebedeva and Anders Lennerhag of Morgantown, Monongalia County.


  • p. Making beautiful music is a key part of Kristina Lebedeva’s life. The University High School senior has played oboe in the All-State Orchestra and was invited to tour Europe with The Sound of America. Also an avid dancer, Lebedeva is active in her church’s music ministry and has performed with the handbell ensemble at several musical conventions and assists the director of the St.Theresa’s Children’s Handbell Ensemble.

Lebedeva has gotten a head start on a career in medicine by working since January as a research assistant at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. During the summer of 2001, she also volunteered approximately 250 hours in Dr. Reuben Simoyi’s physical chemistry lab at WVU .

Her academic honors include being named an Advance Placement Rising Scholar and an invitation to attend the Governor’s School of the Arts for visual art. She achieved the highest score attainable on the West Virginia Statewide Writing Assessment.

Lebedeva will major in biology at WVU .

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p. Sarah Kathleen Lovell is the daughter of Randall and Susan Lovell of Martinsburg, Berkeley County


  • p. Sarah Lovell is the perfect role model for her three younger siblings. As a National Honor Society and Art Honor Society member, Lovell excels in school, sports, community service and life.

At Martinsburg High School, Lovell is president of student council, a peer mediator, member of the soccer and basketball teams, a runner on the track and field team and 4-H member. She represented her high school at Rhododendron Girls State, West Virginia Teen Institute and the West Virginia State Government Leadership Conference.

Lovell has also been a leader in her community, offering hours of her time organizing blood drives, delivering holiday baskets and bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, organizing canned food drives and tutoring students as part of the P.A.S.S. (Providing Academic and Self-Esteem Support). During the summer of 2001, Lovell participated in Mountain Tennessee Outreach Project repairing and improving homes of low-income families.

Lovell will study both computer engineering and biometric systems at WVU in the fall. After college, she plans to pursue a career at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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*Matthew Ryan Miller is the son of Rebecca Jones and Michael Miller of Charleston, Kanawha County

As an Eagle Scout and 10-year member of Boy Scouts, Matthew Miller has acquired more skills than most 18-year olds. As assistant Scoutmaster and member of the Order of the Arrow, Miller is a member of the Native American dance and chant team, has collected items for food drives and has backpacked through New Mexico.

In addition, Miller is a National Merit semifinalist, student body president and letterman on the Charleston Catholic High School swim team. He represented his school at Mountaineer Boys State and as an intern for Attorney General McGraw at the Consumer Protection Division. Miller, a National Honor Society member, fires up the CCHS fans for games as the schools leprechaun mascot at various sporting events. He is a member of the Service Club, Model United Nations, Appalachian Service Project, Pep Club and Spanish Club.

Miller has intentions of running for the House of Delegates while pursuing a political science degree at WVU and hopes to attend the WVU School of Law.

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*Lori Leigh Reber is the daughter of Larry and Shirley Reber of Washington, Wood County

From cheerleading and swimming to dancing and running, Lori Reber is one of the most active students at Parkersburg South High School.

Its no wonder that this National Honor Society member was given the Presidents Award for Educational Excellence. She has excelled not only athletically, butalso in the classroom. She has represented her school at the Hugh OBrien Youth Leadership Seminar, Herff Jones Leadership Seminar and Local School Improvement Council and is a member of the Junior Engineering Technical Society and Student Council.

Athletically, Reber has excelled in track and field as a state champion and record holding member of the 4�800 relay team and was selected to represent the state at the Parkroyal Down Under International Games in Australia in February of 2002. She is also co-captain of the award-winning Parkersburg South Southern Belles dance team.

Reber offers her spare hours traveling on mission trips to underprivileged areas with her churchs youth group, where she has worked on housing projects, taught vacation bible school and volunteered in soup kitchens.

Reber will study computer science and computer engineering at WVU in the fall.

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*Steven Charles Williams is the son of Terry and Linda Williams of Moundsville, Marshall County

As Prefect at the Linsly School, a lot if expected out of Steven Williams. As a representative of the schools administration, he is expected to provide a good example to his fellow underclassmen by arriving to class on time, obeying school policies and encouraging others to do the same. He serves as a line of communication between student body and the administrationoffering student complaints, suggestions and comments to faculty members.

Being a good example is something that Williams has definitely done during his high school years. He is a National Merit finalist, Presidential Scholars candidate, Advanced Placement Rising Scholar, member of the National Honor Society and winner of the West Virginia Latin Cup.

Williams served as a Hugh OBrien Youth Leadership ambassador and is webmaster of the schools website, and a member of the schools newspaper staff, Key Club, Math Club and Classics Club. In his spare time, he has squeezed in tennis, basketball, golf and track into his schedule. As a computer programmer, he created a computer program designed to tabulate student cafeteria charges.

He will attend WVU , where he plans to study civil and environmental engineering.