West Virginia Universitys top 30 graduating seniors will be honored with the WVU Foundation Outstanding Seniors Award at 7 p.m. Friday, May 11, during the WVU Commencement Honors Convocation at the Coliseum.
The students were selected based on their achievements in scholarship, leadership and service. The award was established to commemorate the Foundations 40th anniversary in 1995. Eight of these seniors will then be conferred into the Order of Augusta, the Universitys most prestigious student honor, during a surprise announcement that same evening.
The Order of Augusta recognizes a highly select group of students based on superior scholarship, demonstrated leadership and record of community and public service. The award was named for it historical significance in the state. Augusta was among the original names considered by the Legislature when the state seceded from Virginia in 1863.
This years WVU s Outstanding Seniors for 2007 come from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Maryland.
They are: Samuel Blatt, New Martinsville, W.Va.; Carrie Cecil, New Martinsville; Amy Jo Christy, Ravenswood, W.Va.; Wesley Crouser, Charleston, W.Va.; Daniel Funk of Hedgesville, W.Va.; Elizabeth Gebhard; Moon Township, Pa.; Jeffrey Genda, Berryville, Va.; Andrew Gentilin, Charleston, W.Va.; Jay Henry, Tulsa, Okla.; Dirk Kelley; Brownsville, Pa.; Catherine Koontz, Lexington, N.C.; Emily Lapisardi, Brownsville, Pa.; Allison Lastinger, Morgantown; Nathaniel Lee, Elkins, W.Va.; Rebecca McCauley, Morgantown; Brian McMillan, Princeton, W.Va.; Tirzah Mills, Morgantown; Ryan Murphy, Philippi, W.Va.; Molly Rakes, Fayetteville, W.Va.; Jennifer Riggie, Westover, W.Va.; Matthew J. Schessler, Charleston, W.Va.; Britni Schoonover, Procious, W.Va.; Justin Stover, Maben, W.Va.; Aaron Stonebraker, Ridgeley, W.Va.; Brandon Stump, Kingwood, W.Va.; Hannah Swecker, Beverly, W.Va.; Rachael Warden, Vienna, W.Va.; Anna Warner, Manchester, Md.; Brian Watkins, Morgantown; and Carmella Wright, Parkersburg, W.Va.
Brief biographies follow:
Samuel Blatt lives by the motto,Dare to be different, and most importantly, dare to be yourself.A petroleum and natural gas engineering major, Blatt maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, but believes it is his individualism that sets him apart.
Sam Ameri, chair of the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, wrote,Sam Blatt is a dedicated individual who achieves his success through qualities of commitment, enthusiasm, good judgment, motivation and resourcefulness.
Named the Outstanding Junior Student, Blatt has interned for Dominion Exploration and Production in Houston, Texas, and has already been hired as an associate engineer, starting June 1.
In addition to his academic and professional achievements, Blatt has been involved in the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), where he served as vice president, student recruiter and participated in the North American SPE Conference Petro Bowl Team competition, advancing into the quarterfinal round.
He also served as a teaching assistant for Forestry 140, played flag football intramurals, participated in Relay for Life, volunteered at Ruby Memorial Hospital and was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Pi Epsilon Tau, the petroleum and natural gas engineering honorary.
He is the son of Joe and Janet Blatt.
Carrie Cecil will graduate with a trifecta of three degrees, in history, geography and German. To get ahead of the race, she began her college career with credit hours earned in high school, which allowed her to develop her interests in a variety of areas.
When I arrived at West Virginia University, I had the benefit of 30 credit hours earned in high school. These credit hours gave me the flexibility to develop fully my interests in history, economics, globalization, politics and foreign relations,Cecil wrote in her application.
Cecil has interned in the WVU Development Office in Munich, Germany, and studied abroad in Luneburg, Germany. Her experience as an intern influenced her decision to pursue a career in international law.
In addition, she has conducted research through the history departments Capstone experience, which included evaluating the effects of government propaganda on British popular opinion in the 1920s and 1930s. She presented her research at the West Virginia Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.
Cecil carries a 4.0 grade-point average and has received the following awards: the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship, the Brouzas Award in the Department of Foreign Languages and the Joseph and Teresa Cody History Award. In addition, she will graduate from the Honors College.
She is a member of the WVU German Club, History Club, Delta Phi Alpha German Honorary, Chimes Juniors Honor Society and served as a member of the Eberly Outstanding Professor Committee.
She is the daughter of Clay and Lois Cecil.
Amy Jo Christy will graduate with two degreesone in history and one in political sciencewhile maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average. She plans to attend the WVU College of Law and hopes to graduate in 2010 to work for a nonprofit organization. Her dream is to do pro bono work for families seeking to adopt.
Christy has interned with the West Virginia House of Delegates and served as a general counsel intern for the West Virginia Governors Office.
She wrote in her application,The monetary value of my education and my time here in Morgantown is approximately $60,000. The true value of my education, however, is priceless.
She has been active with Mountain Honorary, Mortar Board Seniors Honor Society, Kappa Phi, Phi Alpha Theta, Chimes Juniors Honor Society, Helvetia Sophomores Honor Society, Golden Key Club and Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society.
Christy has been named a Mary Heironimus Scholar in history, James F. Dent Memorial Scholar in political science, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Scholar, McKay-Coast Scholar in history, and Judith Herndon Fellow for the political science internship.
In addition, Christy has volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House, Morgantown area nursing homes, local food drives, Relay for Life and is a member of the Wesley United Methodist Church, serving as a Nicaragua Christmas for the Children mission team member.
She is the daughter of Daniel Christy.
Wesley Crouser will graduate with a bachelors degree in chemistry. He plans to enter the seminary to prepare for a career in ministry.
Crouser has been active in WVU Campus Crusade for Christ, having served as team leader in several areas and participated in a summer project to East Asia. He has also been active in his home church, the Bible Center Church of Charleston.
Wesleys accomplishments come from a strong desire to use his God-given talents and abilities to their fullest potential,Senior Pastor Shawn Thornton of the Bible Center Church wrote about Crouser.Despite having to cope with a progressively degenerative eye disease, Wes continues to focus on using his skills to help others succeed.
Crouser maintains a 3.87 grade-point average and was named to the following scholarships: John A. Moore Chemistry Scholarship, Berry Kanawha County Scholarship, PROMISE Scholarship, Presidential Scholarship, Charles Lazzell Chemistry Scholarship and the Department Scholarship of Eberly College. He was also a member of the Honors College.
In addition, Crouser has performed as a member of the WVU Steel Drum Ensemble, has taught freshman honors orientation, tutored general chemistry students and served as a teaching assistant for a chemistry class.
He is the son of Brad and Sally Crouser.
Daniel Funk will graduate with dual degrees in political science and philosophy with a pre-law emphasis. His philosophy is that academics are like life. He wrote in his application,What one gets out of an experience depends entirely on what one puts into it.
Funk has been named a Neil S. Bucklew Scholar, Alpha Phi Omega Service Pin, PROMISE Scholar, became the Rochester Debate Tournament Novice Quarter Finalist and maintains a 3.8 grade-point average.
Daniel serves as a tremendous �€~packagewhen it comes to looking for the well-rounded student possessing academic and personal strengths to represent our institution,Dolly Ford, senior lecturer and program coordinator of the Nova Institute, wrote about Funk.
He has been involved in multiple activities at the University, including the Philosophy Club, Debate Team, Ethics Bowl Team, Pre-law Society, Fencing Team, Army ROTC , Sierra Coalition and Friends of Blackwater.
He has also been involved in Alpha Phi Omega, APO Policy Revision Board, Nova Institute, Habitat for Humanity, Army ROTC Color Guard and Amizade. In addition, he volunteered for the American Red Cross following Hurricanes Wilma, Rita and Katrina.
He is the son of Janet Funk.
Elizabeth Gebhard always wanted to be a veterinarian and care for small and exotic animals. This May, Gebhard will graduate with a bachelors degree in animal and veterinary science and be well on her way toward that goal.
While I came to West Virginia University knowing what I wanted, it was the professors, faculty and students that helped me make my mark,wrote Gebhard.The true value of WVU is that it gave me all the parts to make something great.
Gebhard was the first WVU student to receive an internship with the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, where she was responsible for working with a baby sea lion and training two river otters. She has also worked for the Moon Veterinary Hospital. In addition, Gebhard has worked with many service agencies, including Paws With A Cause and the LSU Animal Relief Fund.
She maintains a 3.9 grade-point average and has been honored with the following scholarships and awards: Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Davis Michael Scholarship, Mortar Board Seniors Honor Society, American Society of Animal Science, Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences Honors for Outstanding Scholarship and Leadership Award, Davis Michael Scholarship, First Place James Paul Brawner Award, Honors College and Blue and Gold Level 1 Scholarship.
She is the daughter of Robert and Patricia Gebhard.
Jeffrey Genda will graduate with biochemistry/chemistry degrees and hopes to become a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. Genda interrupted his junior year at WVU for a tour of duty in eastern Iraq.
Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Shingledecker, chief physician in Balad, Iraq, wrote,Serving in the role of both flight medic and ground support, SSgt. Genda flew numerous combat missions in and out of Southern Iraq, as well as assisted with patient care in the missions in which he was not directly involved.
He added that Genda oversaw the care and transport of more than 30 wounded soldiers and supported the recovery of 100-plus combat medical missions, resulting in the safe transport of more than 1,100 casualties. He added that the mortality rate under Gendas watch was zero.
In addition, Genda has worked as an emergency room technician at City Hospital in Martinsburg, and volunteered at Ruby Memorial Hospital in the University Hospital Mobile and Surgical Intensive Care Unit.
Genda has received the Lloyd Gribble Award/Scholarship, given once a year by Alpha Epsilon Delta, WVU s sole premedical honorary, and the Mooreman Student-Soldier Award, a national memorial scholarship given annually to one student-soldier in the United States based on military performance, grades and promise in the military. He maintains a 3.8 grade-point average.
He has also been a physics, calculus, biology and chemistry tutor and residential assistant.
He is the son of William and Barbara Genda.
Exceeding expectationsmight well be the credo of Andrew Gentilin . His experience in turning around his grades in freshman honors chemistry classes proved to himself that he could handle the challenges of college.
He will receive a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry with a 4.0 grade-point average, and is ready to set his sights on medical school.
As a freshman in this demanding program, Gentilin began his lab work by washing glassware, but soon thereafter was able to begin helping graduate students with their projects and was given a research project of his own.
Kenneth Blemings, associate professor of Nutritional Biochemistry and of Genetics and Developmental Biology, said that evidence of Andrews abilities can be seen in his laboratorys journal club.
When undergraduates do participate, it is not until their senior year,said Blemings.Beginning his junior year, Andrew has participated in the journal club just as a graduate student would and has done an admirable job presenting papers.
Gentilin also maintained active involvement with the Student Health Advisory Board and Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, serving as philanthropy chair. He has also spent time volunteering at a local elementary school and helping co-organize a food drive for a local non-profit agency.
Gentilin came to WVU as a PROMISE Scholar and has since earned several other honors including membership in the WVU chapter of the Honor Society of Agriculture Gamma Sigma Delta, the Mortar Board Seniors Honor Society, the Chimes Juniors Honor Society and is a WVU Presidential Scholar.
He is the son of Susan Gentilin.
Jay Henry has proven himself a champion on the football field and in the classroom. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average, Henry will graduate in May with bachelors degrees in finance and accounting and a minor in communications.
Henry has played on the WVU football team and earned letterman standing for four years as well as serving as Team Captain for the 2006 teamhelping lead them to a historic Gator Bowl victory.
Henry has been recognized as a Draddy Award Finalist, otherwise known as the Academic Heisman. He is also the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship and the Anson Mount National Scholar Athlete award.
Student athletic recognition for Henry includes being named to the CoSIDA-ESPN The Magazine, Academic All-America first team and a Big East Academic All Star for three years. He has also been on the Athletic Directors Honor Roll and Deans List for each semester at WVU .
In between classes and games, Henry managed to spend time volunteering with Special Olympics, the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA and Childrens Hospital. He has also been active in the Beta Gamma Sigma business honorary and Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society.
Jay Henry is a great teammate, he works very hard both on and off the field,said Rich Rodriguez, head coach of the WVU football team.(Jay) is simply one of the best student-athletes I have had the pleasure of coaching in 23 years of college football.
He is the son of Larry and Judy Henry.
Hoping to dispel the stereotypes of his field, Dirk Kelley is proud of his accomplishments in achieving a 4.0 grade-point average in sport management. He plans to gradate in May with a bachelor of science degree in physical education, and minor in sports psychology and business administration. Kelley now has aspirations to attend law school.
It is my impression that Dirk is ready to successfully move to the next stage in his life,said Gonzalo Bravo, assistant professor of sport management.He is ready because he not only possesses the disciple to move further in the academic ladder, but also has the intellectual capacity required in law school.
Kelley maintained an active lifestyle while at WVU devoting attention to his classes and activities during the week and traveling home on the weekends to coach youth basketball.
He has also been active in the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor fraternity, Phi Epsilon Kappa honorary, Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society and Sports Management Club along with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Institute for Human Dignity.
He volunteers time for projects with Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, the Barlett House, Ronald McDonald House and a local nursing home.
His honors include the Presidential Award, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences scholarship, a Sport Management Scholarship, National Deans List and membership in the Golden Key International Honor Society.
Kelley cites his senior year independent study as a key academic experience. While focusing on the ethical and legal aspects of performance enhancing drugs in athletics, he gained a better understanding of the issues impacting his field.
He is the son of Joe and Gwenna Kelley
For Catherine Koontz a love of tennis increased an interest to pursue a career in medicine and rehabilitation. After experiencing a sports-related knee injury that required reconstructive surgery, she decided her career path would include going to medical school followed by a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency.
As a physiatrist, I look forward to improving the lives of patients of all ages who suffer from temporary or permanent disabilities, ranging from spinal cord and brain injuries, to arthritis and sports injuries,Koontz said.
As her first step towards that dream, she expects to graduate with a bachelor of science degree in biology and 3.97 grade-point average.
Koontz has maintained her love of tennis and continued to play at the Division I level. Having received a full grant-in-aid to play on the varsity team, her experiences have taken her to Florida, California, Mississippi and Hawaii. She has served as team co-captain and representative of the Student Athlete Advisory Council.
Her participation in the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society led to being invited to become a representative on the Honors Advisory Committee for two years.
Koontz has been honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Eberly College of Art and Sciences Deans List of Outstanding Scholars and membership in the Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society.
Her student athlete recognitions include earning the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete, WVU Athletic Directors Academic Honor Roll, Big East Scholar Athlete, Jane Little Memorial Award, WVU Intercollegiate Athletics Coachs Award, membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a two-time ESPN Academic First Team All American award.
She is the daughter of Craig and Cathy Koontz.
Emily Lapisardi will earn a bachelor of music degree in May, but already has plans to attain a double doctorate in vocal performance and musicology. Her ambitions lay in a career in operatic performance and academia.
She considers herself equal parts performer and scholar. Her long list of musical performances and 3.98 grade-point average support that statement.
Her musical background includes performances in numerous opera productions, choral concerts and solo recitals and she has been involved in the WVU Womens Choir, WVU Opera Theatre and WVU Choir.
She delighted an international audience as a part of the University Choirs International Tour of Europe where she was provided the opportunity to perform at two venues in Austriathe Vienna Rathaus and Melk Abbey.
Lapisardi has also participated in a study abroad immersion program in Germany at Otto-Friedrich Universitat in which she experienced the language, culture and music of the country.
Her many interests, skills and experiences from WVU enabled her to establish a 21-person choir called the Old Economy Singers. As the director and transcriber, Lapisardi helps recreate the concerts of the Harmony Societya German community which flourished in early nineteenth century Pennsylvania.
Her list of honors includes involvement in the WVU Honors College and a nomination for both the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships. She is also a member of the Mortar Board Seniors Honor Society, National Exemplary Scholars in Service, Honors Academic Advisory Committee, Golden Key International Honour Society, Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society and Helvetia Sophomores Honor Society.
She is the daughter of Frederick and Jacqueline Lapisardi.
Allison Lastinger expects to receive bachelors degrees in both biology and philosophy and do so with a 4.0 grade-point average.
Not one to step down from a challenge she plans to enter medical school and simultaneously pursue a graduate degree in bioethics. Her passion for medicine and bioethics will lead her into a career in palliative care medicine, to help patients and families come to terms with end of life care and issues.
Lastinger has been involved in WVU s Honors College as a student and a leader. She has been an honors student since entering the University served as a residence assistant teaching orientation classes to new honors students. She has also been elected Community Ambassador for the collegeworking with honors students to provide volunteer service within the Morgantown community.
With her passion for biology and chemistry, Lastinger was involved in two major summer research internshipsthe Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program and the WVU Cancer Centers Undergraduate Research Program. Both involved working with medical experts in fields of reproductive physiology and cancer metastasis.
As a philosophy major she has served as the Philosophy Club president, participated in Ethics Bowla national competition that argues cases of ethics and worked under Dr. Alvin Moss, director for WVU Hospitals Center for Health Ethics and Law. She was honored with an opportunity to guest write forTHE QUESTION ,a project of the philosophy department which recently received national media attention. Lastinger has also organized a team of students to develop the first undergraduate philosophy conference at WVU .
After first coming to WVU as a PROMISE Scholar, Lastinger has since been recognized with a lengthy list of honors including the WVU Bucklew Scholarship, Daniel B. Purinton Scholarship, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship, Presidents List, Deans List, the Gribble Award and Advanced Placement Female State Scholar Award for W.Va.
She is the daughter of Michael and Valarie Lastinger
Nathaniel Lee took the path less traveled.
After fulfilling the course requirements for a degree in biology in his junior year he decided to pursue a second degree in chemistry. Now he will graduate in May with a 4.0 grade-point average and bachelor of arts degrees in biology and chemistry.
Lee will put off his plans for medical school to first appease hishumanitarian zealwith a year of service in Ameri Corps. Upon his future completion of medical school he hopes to again serve the global community with an international medical organizationgoing wherever he is needed.
Lee entered the WVU Honors College as a National Merit Scholar and PROMISE Scholar. He is also the recipient of the WVU Presidential Scholarship and Deans List. During his years at WVU he has maintained his standing in all four scholarships.
Wanting a balance in his academic studies, Lee has also played on the WVU Mens Rugby Clubearning a starting position after only his second season.
He was quickly recognized by his teammates as responsible and dependable and was voted into an officers position after just one season.
Lee has expressed an interest in wanting to serve the world community in medicine, but he has already served his fellow WVU students in a variety of ways. He has helped other students by serving as a chemistry tutor for both the Chemistry Learning Center and his teammates in the Rugby Club. He has also served as a chemistry teaching assistant and spent many long hours and weekends working for Dr. James McGraw as a summer field tech and research assistant.
He is the son of David and Kathryn Lee.
Rebecca McCauley can boast of a resume that is out of this world. Her impressive credentials and academic achievements have blasted her into a NASA scholarship and a potential future career with the space agency.
A first-generation college student, McCauley plans to graduate with 4.0 grade-point average and two bachelor of arts degrees in chemistry and biology along with a minor in geology. She has set her sights on a future track that includes graduate school and pursuit of a doctoral degree in astrobiology with the ultimate goal of joining NASA as a research scientist or an astronaut.
Last year, she was the only student in the United States to have earned two prestigious, national scholarshipsthe Harry S. Truman Scholarship and Barry Goldwater Scholarship.
Those honors were the crowning achievement of a history of notable accomplishments. McCauley has also been a NASA Space Consortium Scholar, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Scholar, PROMISE Scholar, Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society Outstanding Freshman Scholar and recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship.
She has been involved in the Department of Chemistry at WVU , taking on the responsibilities of managing the Chemistry Learning Center and helping recruit other honors chemistry students for tutoring. McCauley also served as president of the local chapter of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates. And, in 2004, she won the Whitehill Award for Outstanding Freshman Chemistry Student, sponsored by the WVU Department of Chemistry.
She is the daughter of Robert and Kathy McCauley
Brian McMillan , will graduate in May with a bachelor of science in biochemistry and 3.96 grade-point average, but he has already established his position in WVU s medical school in the fall.
As a student in the WVU Honors College, he rose to the challenge of demanding honors chemistry courses.
He has participated in the WVU study abroad program where he studied biotechnology and European culture at the University of National Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria.
Research has been the cornerstone of his studies and allowed him to pursue his interests in science and nature. He has participated in two significant undergraduate research opportunities including a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience and a Mary Babb Cancer Center Research Fellowship, where he studied the effects of anti-proliferating agents on human pancreatic cancer.
After first entering WVU under the PROMISE Scholarship, McMillan has earned many additional honoraries including the Helvetia Sophomores Honor Society, Chimes Juniors Honor Society and Mortar Board Seniors Honor Society in addition to the Presidents List and Deans List. In 2004, he took third place in the Whitehall Award for Outstanding Freshmen Chemistry Studenta prestigious recognition from the WVU Department of Chemistry.
He has served as vice president and coordinating vice president in the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates and volunteered as a tutor in the Chemistry Learning Center.
He is the son of Jim and Cindy McMillan.
Tirzah Mills , has balanced her academic pursuits and those of outreach and education of female, minority and disabled students.
She will graduate this May with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and 3.97 grade-point average.
Her plans include attending the University of Colorado in Boulder to pursue her Ph.D. in chemical and biological engineering, with the goal of developing renewable fuels through the use of microorganisms for efficient fuel production.
Mills spent all three summers of college working on research programs in order to develop her skills and broaden her knowledge. Her first summer was spent at the University of Wisconsin working with biostatistics and the last two summers were spent at the University of Colorado working on a Research Experience for Undergraduates.
A member of the WVU Honors College, her most significant academic achievement has been her senior thesis, which is based on a topic that has required significant research and learning in and out of the classroomModeling the Expansion of CD4 + T Cells in the Lung.
While serving as president in the Society for Women Engineers (SWE), Mills organized a highly successful Eighth Grade Learning Day to introduce young students to engineering, which has doubled in size each year. Under her leadership in SWE , the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and other organizations she helped organized many events for young students, raise funds and provide outreach to other community agencies.
Her numerous list of honors and recognitions includes being awarded the PROMISE Scholarship, Presidential Scholarship and the ChE Distinguished Alumni Academy Scholarship.
Mills has also represented WVU at the CU Chemical and Biological Engineering REU Poster competitiongetting perfect scores on the biostatistics exams and first and third place finishes.
She has been actively involved in tutoring and mentoring other students as an Academic Sponsor and through serving on the Student Advisory Council.
She is the daughter of Robert and Susan Mills.
Ryan Murphy came to WVU without a strong high school science background, but he will graduate with a bachelors degree in physics, maintaining a 3.9 grade-point average.
It doesnt matter if you didnt go to the best high school in the country or had the best grades; if you work hard enough and want a good education badly enough, you can succeed,Murphy wrote in his application.
Following high school, Murphy received an internship at the NASA facility in Fairmont, and had his first scientific publication appear before he completed his first semester of college. He conducted research projects in the NASA lab for the next four years.
Murphy also served as a physics intern at the University of California. He was president and vice president of the Society for Physics Students and the Astronomy Club. In addition, he was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society and Golden Key National Honor Society. He also established the Society of Physics Students and tutored students in the physics department.
He has received the Goldwater Scholarship, Mountaineer Scholarship, PROMISE Scholarship and Eberly College Certificate of Achievement.
He is the son of Doug and Agnes Murphy.
Molly Rakes dreamed of being a marine biologist and swimming with sharks since she was seven. Although she still wants to swim with sharks, she will graduate with a bachelors degree in English and hopes to teach high school English classes.
Rakes love of teaching was inspired through her work at the WVU Writing Center. Following research with her fellow tutors, she presented an interactive workshop at the East Central Writing Center Association Conference.
Rakes volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, is co-founder of the WVU Junior Womens Club and served as ambassador and seminar staff for the West Virginia Hugh OBrian Youth Leadership.
With a 3.8 grade-point average, Rakes has received the Presidential Scholarship, PROMISE Scholarship, Virginia Butts-Sturm Scholarship and McKay-Coast Scholarship.
She is the daughter of Duane and Louise Rakes.
Jennifer Riggie will graduate with a bachelors degree in multidisciplinary studies, elementary education, maintaining a 3.9 grade-point average.
Riggie is a member of the Council for Exception Children and West Virginia Read Aloud. She has also been a tutor.
She has received the PROMISE Scholarship, Mountaineer Scholarship and Shanoboam Scholarship.
Riggie is a part-time trainer for the developmentally disabled son of Jessica Justice, assistant dean of continuing legal education at the College of Law. Justice wrote in Riggies letter of recommendation,Ms. Riggie has that precious combination of intellect, tenacity, compassion and uncompromising standards that will make her a leader in any profession. She has demonstrated outstanding work performance and proved to be an invaluable trainer and friend of our family.
In addition, Riggie volunteers at Ridgedale Elementary School, Olympic Center in Preston County, University High School, Riverside Apostolic Church and Salvation Praise Ministry International Worship Center. She also participated in a missionary trip to Ghana, Africa,
Riggie is the daughter of Charles and Patricia Riggie.
Matthew Schessler has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and will graduate with two degrees, chemistry and biochemistry. Schessler hopes to be an orthopedic surgeon.
Schessler wrote in his application statement,When I was seven, I told my second-grade teacher that I wanted to �€~cut up peoples brains when I grow upï¿½neurosurgery in seven-year-old English.
He added that his experiences at WVU have gone beyond any expectations or goals he had previously. His most significant academic experience was dissecting sheep in the animal physiology lab, enabling him to observe the physiological and biochemical processes that were mere textbook diagrams to him before. Schessler also pointed to a chemistry seminar he prepared on anticancer drugs.
Schessler was a Mr. Mountaineer finalist, Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society outstanding freshman scholar and won third place in the White Hill chemistry exam.
He has received a WVU Foundation Scholarship, a PROMISE Scholarship, a Davis College Farm Credit Scholarship and a Kanawha County Distinguished Scholarship. In addition, he has volunteered as a tutor for the Chemistry Learning Center, been president of both the Dadisman and Stalnaker Hall Councils and been a member of the Student Government Association Judicial Board and Chimes Juniors Honor Society.
He is the son of Michael and Susan Schessler.
Britni Schoonovers dream, as a young girl, was to become a physician. Many years later, she will graduate with a bachelors degree in biology and has her choice of seven medical schools where she has been offered a position.
Schoonover, who maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, has received the West Virginia Medical Scholarship, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship and the WVU Neil S. Bucklew Scholarship.
Kenneth Blemings, Ph.D., WVU associate professor of nutritional biochemistry and of genetics and development biology, wrote in a letter of reference,As I have taught the biochemistry class for several years now, I usually can pick out one or two students each year that I think I would feel comfortable with them as my personal physician. Britni is one of those students.
Schoonover has a long list of community service activities including the Ronald McDonald House fundraiser, Sago Mine relief fund, Students Helping Other People, Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. In addition, she has been a volunteer in the pediatrics unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital and was a member of Residential Education Hot Shots.
She also is a member of Mortar Board Seniors Honor Society, Mountain Ranking Honorary, Chimes Juniors Honor Society, Advisory Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Committee on Student Rights and Responsibilities, Student Government Association, Alpha Lambda Delta and Honors College.
Schoonover is the daughter of Lawrence and Kathleen Schoonover.
Aaron Stonebraker will graduate with a bachelors degree in political science, and following three years of law school, he plans to stay and work in West Virginia.
Stonebraker, who maintains a 3.9 grade-point average, has received the following scholarships, the DiClerico Scholarship for Democratic Institutions and Public Leadership, the Irvin Stewart Memorial Scholarship and the PROMISE Scholarship.
Stonebraker has been involved in a variety of campus organizations, including Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity, Student Government Association, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, University Parking and Transportation Committee, Honors College, National Exemplary Scholars in Service and Mountaineer Maniacs.
Karen Johnson, executive director of Western Maryland Health System, wrote in a letter of recommendation,Its difficult to do justice to any outstanding person within the confines of the written word. How is this particular individual ï¿½Aaron Stonebraker ï¿½outstanding among the outstanding? Let me just say that knowing Aaron gives me hope for our future.
Stonebraker is the charter president for the Institute of Human Dignity. Through this organization, he helped raise more than $1,000 for victims of Hurricane Katrina and an additional $4,000 for victims of the blinding disease Trachoma in Sub-Sahara Africa.
He has been active in community service volunteering through WVU Childrens Hospital, Hurricane Katrina Benefit Concert, Relay for Life, Salvation Army, Barlett House, Adopt-A-Street and the Ronald McDonald House.
He is the son of David and Candice Stonebraker.
Justin Stover has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and will graduate with a bachelors degree in chemical engineering. As a young boy, Stover dreamed of making a voyage to Mars. Today, he wants to become a researcher focusing on regenerative medicine.
Stover plans to enter the WVU School of Medicine this fall and pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree.I believe that my dreams changed because I harbor a desire to give back to humanity,he wrote in his application.Traveling to Mars may yield great scientific secrets; however, practicing medicine and studying new techniques to regrow limbs will have a more immediate impact on the world.
Stover served as senior class, student chief engineer as the leader of a design for a mock company.
In addition, Stover is a SCUBA certified lifeguard, and his extra-curricular activities include being a 4-H club counselor, park clean-up, reading to underprivileged children and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House.
He has also received many scholarships, including the PROMISE Scholarship, Academy of Chemical Engineers Scholarship, Bjornson Scholarship, Mountaineer Scholarship Equivalent and been inducted into numerous honor societies, such as Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honorary, and Omega Chi Epsilon, the chemical engineering honorary.
Stover is the son of David Stover and Jenell Decker.
Brandon Stump will graduate with a bachelors degree in journalism and plans to go to law school to focus his attention on public interest and human advocacy law, primarily dealing with childrens issues, poverty and minority rights.
He has interned at USA Today and was credited with scooping other major daily newspapers that a missing boy scout had been found alive. He has also interned in Sen. Jay Rockefellers office in Washington, D.C., and served as a journalism intern at the state Legislature in Charleston.
In addition, he has written for The Times West Virginian, The Daily Athenaeum, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register and The Dominion-Post. Stump has also participated in the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism mentorship program, classroom internship fair and high school journalism day.
He has volunteered at Ronald McDonald House, the Windy Hill Manor Assisted Living Facility, AmeriCorps Service Project and helped to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims through the Diversity in the Media Association. He has also been involved in several play productions at the Wesley United Methodist Church, Albright Baptist Church Bible School, Preston High School Summer Community Theater and Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Benefit for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
He is an Eagle Scout and member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the journalism honorary fraternity. He received a PROMISE Scholarship and the HERF Scholarship and maintains a 3.9 grade-point average.
One of Stumps best experiences at WVU was his senior Capstone course when he wrote a story for the Wheeling newspaper after following President David C. Hardesty Jr. for a day.I will never be able to give a quantifiable value to the conversations that President Hardesty and I had that day ï¿½from where my life was going, what it meant to be a son whose father fought in a war, tips for law school and achieving my life goals,Stump wrote in his application.
He is the son of Michael and Cheryl Stump.
Hannah Swecker is called thegirl with the golden resumein one of her letters of reference. And she has a long list of accomplishments, scholarships and activities to back that up including being one of five finalists for Ms. Mountaineer.
Swecker graduated with a 3.9 grade-point average last December with a bachelors degree in business administration, majoring in management organizational leadership. Following her graduation, Swecker began studying for her masters degree in public administration. She plans to continue her education by pursuing a doctorate degree in educational leadership.
Swecker studied abroad in Paderno del Grappa, Italy, during the fall 2005 semester. She calls her experience in the program hermost significant academic experience.
She has been a member of the WVU Collegiate 4-H program for four years, serving as president. She is also a member of the Mountaineer Week committee, Colleges Against Cancer, Mountain Honorary, Mountaineer Maniacs, Mortar Board Seniors Honor Society, intramural sports, Alpha Lambda Delta, Chimes Juniors Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Psi and Helvetia Sophomores Honor Society.
In addition, she has volunteered with the following organizations, Conference on School Safety, Rosenbaum Family House, WVU Childrens Hospital, National Collegiate 4-H conference, Ronald McDonald House, 4-H Day at the Legislature, Bartlett House, West Virginia Family Grief Center, area nursing homes, Project Linus, Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center, Kaleidoscope, Statewide Service Day at WVU Jacksons Mill and Randolph County Fair.
She is the daughter of Arden and Dawn Swecker.
Rachael Warden will graduate with a bachelors degree in journalism, concentrating in public relations. She has maintained a grade-point average of 3.9 and has interned for the United Way, WVU Press and West Virginia Women Work.
She has volunteered for Mountaineer Adventure Day Camp, Literacy Volunteers and is a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Kappa Tau Alpha.
She has received the PROMISE Scholarship, National Merit Scholarship Award, Robert L. Bland Jr. Presidential Scholarship and the Presidents Volunteer Service Award.
Diana Martinelli, Ph.D., Widmeyer Communications Professor, said in her letter of reference,Rachaelexudes a maturity beyond her years. When the School of Journalism hosted its visiting committee, Rachael was one of the students I sought out to represent us. She spoke extemporaneously and candidly in front of our visiting committee and faculty and did so well that several people, including my dean, commented on what an articulate, effective speaker she was.
Warden is the daughter of James and Renate Warden.
Anna Warner will graduate with a bachelors degree in agriculture, majoring in agricultural and extension education.
Warner is currently student teaching at Hundred High School and has been a teaching assistant for agricultural and natural resources communications, agricultural mechanics, poultry evaluation and advance poultry evaluation at WVU . In addition, she represented the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Science at the board of governors luncheon and is a student recruiter.
Anna is a serious and dedicated scholar who is willing to share her knowledge, skills and abilities with those whose livesshe touches,wrote Stacy Gartin, Ph.D., professor in the Davis College.
Warner has also served as an assistant poultry judging coach and represented WVU at an International Poultry Exposition in Atlanta, Ga. She is a member of the Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department, Mountaineer Collegiate FFA , Sigma Alpha, Davis College student council, Carroll County 4-H Ambassador Team, Lineboro United Church Sunday school and vacation Bible school.
She has volunteered for the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, Adopt-A-Road, Childrens Hospital, Walk for Hospice, bike safety workshop and fire hall events.
She maintains a 3.9 grade point average and has received the Blue and Gold Scholarship, Nathan Blizzard Memorial Scholarship, Viola D. Markle Memorial Scholarship, Guy Victor Glatfelter Memorial Scholarship, John Mazur Memorial Scholarship, Meyers Scholarship, West Manheim PTO Scholarship, YWCA of Hanover Garden Club Scholarship, NAAE Scholarship and Newton M. Baughman Scholarship.
She is the daughter of Allen and Kate Warner.
OUTSTANDING SENIORS /15
Brian Watkins will graduate with duel bachelors degrees in mathematics and economics while maintaining a 3.9 grade-point average.
Watkins has received the Presidential Scholarship and the Watts Family Endowment Scholarship and is an Honors College student.
He has volunteered for the College Ministry Group at Suncrest United Methodist Church and Habitat for Humanity. In addition, he has been involved in various social events at Boreman and Stalnaker residence halls and is a member of the National Exemplary Scholars in Service and Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society.
He wrote in his application,Participating in the academic environment of West Virginia University over my undergraduate career is the most important part of my growth. In addition, the various social and cultural opportunities of the campus helped me to appreciate my role in society.
He is the son of David Watkins and Rosemary Baumgardner.
Carmella Wright will graduate will a bachelors degree in industrial engineering, carrying a 3.8 grade-point average. Following graduation, she plans to enroll in a full-time MBA program and hopes to some day be a vice president or higher of a company.
She took a leadership role in organizing the first Dance Marathon, which is part of the Childrens Miracle Network, and raised $9,000 for WVU Childrens Hospital.
In his letter of recommendation, Professor Jack Byrd wrote,Most impressive of all is Carmellas work with Dance Marathon. When I work with students as freshmen, I ask them to think of the mark they can leave on WVU . Few of our students take up this challenge. Carmellas effort with the Dance Marathon as a fundraiser for WVU Childrens Hospital has clearly left a mark on our campus.
In addition to that charity, Wright has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and Community Kitchen.
She also was an engineering intern with Simonton Windows and has been a teaching assistant and calculus tutor at WVU . In addition, she is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, Institute of Industrial Engineers, Residence Hall Association and Alpha Pi Mu and served on Dadisman Hall Council.
She has received the following scholarships: John Peluso Italian-American Scholarship, WVU Presidential Scholarship, PROMISE Scholarship, Kaiser Aluminum Engineering Scholarship and the Knights of Columbus Pat Ellis Memorial Scholarship.
Wright is the daughter of Robert and Mary Wright.