They have excelled academically, helped better their communities and are reaching for the stars. They are West Virginia University’s 2010 Order of Augusta and Outstanding Seniors scholars.
Thirty-five of WVU’s top graduating seniors are being recognized with the WVU Foundation Outstanding Seniors Award. Eight of the Outstanding Seniors will also be awarded the University’s most prestigious student honor, the Order of Augusta.
The students will be formally recognized during WVU’s Commencement weekend on Friday, May 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Morgantown Event Center.
Established in 1995 to signify the 40th anniversary of the WVU Foundation, the Outstanding Seniors award recognizes students for their contributions and achievements in scholarship, leadership and service.
The Order of Augusta further recognizes the students’ superior scholarship, demonstrated leadership and record of community and public service. The award is named for its historical significance in the state. Augusta was among the original names considered by the Legislature when the state seceded from Virginia in 1863.
“It is an honor to serve as the chair to select WVU’s Outstanding Senior and Order of Augusta scholars. Having taught at a number of universities throughout the world, I can truly say that WVU’s best students are among the best in the world,” said David Stewart, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “This year’s Outstanding Seniors and Order of Augusta scholars distinguished themselves not only in the area of academics, but also in community service, travel abroad experiences, leadership positions held and originality. These students will make a positive contribution to the world and will be leaders in the area they choose to work in.”
The 2010 WVU Order of Augusta scholars are: Emily Calandrelli, Morgantown; Nina Chase, Manchester, Mass.; Gavin Hall, Westover; Jonathan King, Charleston; Benjamin Levesque, Assoret, Mass.; Mehran Mohebbi, Morgantown; Shalini Moningi, Charleston; and Jonathan Storage, Milton.
The remaining 27 WVU Outstanding Seniors come from Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia. They are:
• Accident: Becky Berkibile
• Frostburg: Melissa Stevens
• Toronto: Vanessa DeCesare
• Dillsburg: William Boyd Turner, III
• New Freeport: Michael Hoffman
• Bellevue: Joshua Lider
• Bridgeport: Briana Vecchio
• Champmanville: Tristan Gartin
• Charleston: Elizabeth Margolin
• Clarksburg: Richard Michael Squires
• Fairmont: Amanda Berardi
• Jane Lew: Andrea Garton
• Martinsburg: Jennifer Knipe
• Martinsburg: Samuel Crowell
• Mineral Wells: Phillip Pifer
• Morgantown: Nathan Pearson
• Morgantown: Yue “Rebecca” Mao
• Morgantown: Katherine Griffith
• Morgantown: Katherine Gatian
• Morgantown: Maria Dalzot
• Parkersburg: Savannah Jiles
• Parkersburg: Kari Brown
• Piedmont: Katie Niland
• Summersville: Andrew McCue
• Upper Tract: Anne Mallow
• Wheeling: Shannon Greskevitch
• Williamstown: Charles Harner
Brief biographies of the 2010 Order of Augusta recipients follow:
To say that Emily Calandrelli has an interest in space is putting it lightly. The senior, from Morgantown, will graduate in May with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, and a 4.0 GPA.
Calandrelli was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar in 2008, a Goldwater Scholar in 2009 and was also named to the USA Today Academic All-USA 1st Team in 2009.
“WVU has proven to be a catalyst for many changes in myself over the past five years. I tend to follow my fears and embrace challenges because, I have found, they lead to adventures and character development,” Calandrelli wrote in her application. “The opportunities I found have transformed me into a female engineer who is no longer afraid of competing intellectually with male classmates, into a public service advocate who has extended her understanding of people’s needs to an international level, and into a leader who plans to use these experiences to bring humans to Mars and inspire the next generation of explorers.”
Her love for space led her to become the team leader of the Microgravity Research Team. She has also conducted research at NASA centers in Ohio and California through the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium.
She has volunteered for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Walt Disney World “Make a Wish” Foundation; and Engineers Without Borders: “Greenhouse for Humanity” in which Calandrelli helped construct a greenhouse for a village in Queretaro, Mexico during spring break in 2008.
At WVU, Calandrelli has been an active member and the co-founder of the Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration (SPACE), a publicity coordinator for Engineers Without Borders, president of the Astronomy Club and vice president of the Flying Club. In 2009, Calandrelli was named “Ms. Mountaineer.”
She is the daughter of Brad and Kim Calandrelli.
Nina Chase, of Morgantown, will continue her education at the Harvard Graduate School of Design after graduating in May with a degree in landscape architecture and a 3.95 GPA.
“My education at West Virginia has afforded me many opportunities to expand my understanding of design and landscape architecture both internationally and domestically,” Chase wrote in her application.
During the summer of 2007, Chase had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and participate in a two-week “Visionary Urban Landscape” workshop that explored the redevelopment of the canal systems in Milan.
Recently, Chase was nationally recognized as one of six finalists in the Recycle This Site Student Design Competition sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 2009, Chase was also selected as the WVU Olmstead Scholar, through the Landscape Architecture Foundation, which recognizes students with exceptional leadership potential.
Chase has volunteered with the SunnysideUp campus neighborhoods revitalization corporation, Relay for Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
At WVU, she has served a three-year term as the president of the student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the vice president of the Young Democrats, a member of the Davis College Student Council and Mortar Board Senior Honorary. Chase also served as a student ambassador for the Davis College.
She is the daughter of Philip Chase and Karen Kenny.
A career with Teach for America awaits Gavin Hall, of Morgantown, after he graduates Summa Cum Lade, with three bachelor’s degrees, one in mathematics, one in mechanical engineering, and one in physics.
Hall has chosen Teach For America, even after being offered acceptance into Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate schools and professional employment offers from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Walt Disney World Imagineering.
“While these institutions represent my ultimate goals, it is my immediate goal to join Teach for America, so that I can help students achieve and grow in a manner similar to my experience,” Hall wrote in his application.
In 2008, Hall served as the team leader for scientific research on the WVU Microgravity Team, and participated in the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.
Hall has been awarded a NASA Research Grant for Spintronics Research.
In his spare time, Hall has served in as an instructor of the bass guitar, a bass guitarist at the Sagebrush Round-Up, a mentor in the Kaleidoscope After-School Program and a tutor in the Morgantown High School After-School Tutoring Program.
At WVU, Hall has been involved in the Honors College, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Honors Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics.
He is the son of Joe and Kathleen Hall.
Jonathan Caleb King, of Charleston, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a 3.93 GPA. Following graduation, he plans to attend the WVU Medical School, graduate first in his class and obtain a top 5 percent orthopedic surgical residency position.
“Throughout my WVU semesters, I have taken a full load of classes because I crave the diverse knowledge of my liberal arts education. I have learned amazing and difficult concepts in the biological sciences, but have learned how to salsa dance, scuba dive, speak Portuguese and match food with wine,” King wrote in his application. “I know I am fortunate to attend a university with such an array of options and this is why I place a very high value on my education at WVU.”
King has volunteered in Vitoria, Brazil as an English teacher and child supervisor and has also volunteered at Ruby Memorial Hospital. He has also volunteered at the Bartlett House, Ronald McDonald House, Tools for Teeth campaign, Kiss Public Health Initiative, Habitat for Humanity and Red Cross Blood Drives, among others.
At WVU, King has served as the president of the Beta Beta Beta national biology honorary. He has also been an active member of the Student Health Advisory Board, Alpha Epsilon Delta health profession honorary, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, WVU Honors College, intramural and recreational sports and the Mountaineer Maniacs.
King is currently studying abroad through the Amizade Exchange Program in Brazil and has also participated in the Amizade Exchange Program in Tanzania, Africa.
He is the son of Roy and Mary Louise King.
Benjamin Levesque said he can still remember the moment that he decided he wanted to be a puppeteer. At age 10, Levesque can vividly remember watching an episode of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. Levesque said that dream is what led him to the Puppetry and Children’s Theatre program at WVU.
Levesque, from Assonet, Mass., will graduate with a degree in puppetry and children’s theatre and a 4.0 GPA.
Levesque believes WVU is the place that made his dream come true.
“Before my time at WVU, I was a terrified hobbyist; a kid with a sock his hand and a dream of somehow reaching others through his little shows. Now, in my final semester, I can see how I have learned the skills that take my amateur goofing and build a full-fledged career as a professional children’s entertainer,” Levesque wrote in his application. “I have gained the maturity to thrive not only in the professional world, but in all aspects of my personal life.”
In the community, Levesque has served as an instructor and director of the Village Kids Theatre Group and an assistant sacristan for the St. Bernard’s Church.
At WVU, Levesque has been a member and treasurer of the Student Theatre Organization; a puppeteer, director and writer for the Puppet Mobile organization; the assistant director for Mainstage Theatre group; the founder and director of Missing Link Puppet Company; and the assistant stage manager for Community Arts Drama.
He is the son of David and Donna Levesque.
Mehran Mohebbi, of Morgantown, will be graduating with a 3.96 GPA and duel degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering and physics. He intends to spend his life promoting science and plans to pursue a graduate degree in particle physics.
“My dream is to honor the sacrifices that my parents made and implement the lessons and skills that my teachers taught me,” Mohebbi wrote in his application. “I will dedicate my knowledge to bettering the lives of not only my fellow citizens in the United States and my home country Iran, but the citizens of every country through a lifetime of promoting science.”
At WVU, Mohebbi has served as the team leader for WVU’s Second High Altitude Research Team and team leader of WVU’s Sixth Microgravity Research Team. He has also been the co-founder of the Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration (SPACE) and a member of Sigma Pi Sigma physics honorary and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, The Astronomy Club, Engineers Without Borders and the NASA Academy Alumni Association.
Mohebbi has also been an active part of the community. He helped build a greenhouse for a local family in Queretaro, Mexico.
“Mehran has a wonderful personality and his communication skills are excellent. He is a natural leader; he leads by example, acting as a mentor and a coach for his fellow students and team members,” wrote Majid Jaraiedi, in his recommendation letter.
He is the son of Bijan and Touba Mohebbi.
Shalini Moningi, of Charleston, will be graduating with a 3.97 GPA and dual degrees in chemistry and philosophy. Moningi says she has always wanted to be a physician, but WVU gave her endless opportunities to explore other interests.
“WVU gave me endless opportunities to pursue my interest in science from research to mentoring to being a part of the American Chemical Society,” Moningi wrote in her application. “I soon realized that medicine is not just completely dependent on the sciences and that the art of being a physician requires a good meshwork of the sciences and ethics.”
A focus on science and ethics while at WVU is exactly what has led to Moningi’s accomplishments. While at WVU, she has served as a tutor for the WVU Philosophy Department, a member of the Student Health Advisory Board, editor of “THINK” WVU’s first undergraduate philosophy journal, and a member of the WVU Ethics Bowl Team, which won second place at the regional competition and participated in the first national competition. She has also been a member of Helvetia Sophomore Honorary, Chimes Junior Honorary and Mortar Board Senior Honorary.
Moningi has also been active in her community through volunteering at Ruby memorial Hospital.
She is the daughter of Dr. Venkata R. Moningi and Dr. Prasuna Jami.
For Jonathan Storage, of Milton, a future in public service, particularly as a lawyer or judge, is on the horizon. Storage will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in political science.
As a WVU student, Storage has served as a residential assistant at Dadisman and Stalknaker halls, serving on their hall councils and as a member of the Residence Hall Association. He has served as president of the Pi Sigma Gamma Political Science Honorary, a delegate for Model United Nations Club, a member of the Student Conduct Board and a Gold and Blue Student Ambassador.
Storage also had the opportunity to study abroad and was the first Political Science London Intern.
“Above all, my experience at WVU has been a mutual relationship between the school and myself. I have found that the University enjoys rewarding students for their achievements and investment into the campus community,” Storage wrote in his application. “WVU, in kind, has invested a great deal in me—encouraging or helping me to do what I never considered possible.”
In the community, Storage has served as a volunteer for the West Virginia Senior Legal Aid, the St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Huntington City Mission.
He has been awarded several honors, such as the Eberly Scholar and the Eberly Achievement Award, the President’s List, Dean’s List and Phi Sigma Phi Outstanding Freshman Scholar. He also received the Mountaineer Scholarship, the Wunschel Memorial Scholarship, the Political Science Departmental Scholarship, Robert C. Frasure Memorial Scholarship, Ferguson Presidential Scholarship and the Alice Neal Memorial Scholarship, among others.
He is the son of Michael C. Storage.
Brief biographies of the 2010 Foundation Outstanding Seniors follow in alphabetical order:
Typically, Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol is reserved for students working in the physical and social sciences. But in 2009, WVU’s Amanda Berardi managed to break through disciplinary barriers and have her own research included – research she conducted for English 301.
“Amanda did smart work translating her research findings for a lay audience, and her discussions with the state’s legislators about the field of rhetoric and professional writing in general, and her project in particular, revealed her poise, intellect and enthusiasm for her research,” said Assistant Professor Scott Wible, who taught that English 301 class.
Berardi, of Fairmont, will graduate with a degree in English. She has a 3.97 GPA.
In addition to her research, Berardi was a member of several honor societies, including Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary. She also served as a peer mentor for the University’s Honors introductory course and volunteered as a tutor for elementary school and international students.
“My experience as an undergraduate at West Virginia University was a continuous process of education and self-revelation,” Berardi wrote. “While the lessons I learned about English, science, history and other subjects were essential to my education, I feel that the lessons I learned about myself and my own abilities were equally as valuable.”
She is the daughter of Matthew and Amy Berardi.
Becky Berkebile, of Accident, Md., is a strong believer that experience is the best teacher. It is for that reason that she has sought to be as active in her field of agriculture as possible.
Berkebile will graduate with a degree in agricultural and extension education. She would like to ultimately become an agriculture education instructor and teaching about where food originates.
As a student, Berkebile has gained diverse work experience as both a farm hand at a local dairy farm and as a secretary for an attorney.
“Her commitment to serving others is quite refreshing. She is a joy to have in class,” said Stacy Gartin, a professor of agriculture and extension education. “Becky is one of the top scholars in the Davis College of Agriculture.”
Berkebile is treasurer of the Mountaineer Collegiate FFA, a member of the Collegiate Farm Bureau, Alpha Tau Alpha and the WVU Livestock Judging Team.
She has volunteered with Relay for Life, Maryland State FFA and 4-H.
She is the daughter of Gary and Nancy Berkebile.
As a first generation college graduate with a 4.0 GPA, Parkersburg native Kari Brown has several years of experience working in a thread factory to thank for her solid work ethic, and her will to succeed.
“Kari is a non-traditional student who truly knows who she is and what she is capable of accomplishing,” Gartin said.
Brown graduated in December and is now employed as an agriculture teacher at Wood County Technical Center in Parkersburg.
She discovered her true calling when she became a teaching assistant and worked with small groups of students to help them deliver effective presentations.
“It was during these meetings that my passion for pursuing my career as being an agricultural sciences teacher was renewed,” she wrote in her application.
While as WVU, Brown was a member of Block and Bridle, Mountaineer Collegiate FFA, WVU Soil Judging, Alpha Tau Alpha and the National Association of Agricultural Educators.
“Kari Brown is going to have a profound impact on the lives she touches as a high school teacher. She will be living proof as to the quality of our outstanding University and the person she has become,” Gartin said.
She is the daughter of Lorna Brown.
As a violinist of 13 years and a trumpeter of seven, when Samuel Crowell first arrived at WVU, he considered devoting his education to preparing for a career in orchestral performance.
Instead, the Martinsburg native found that he had a profound curiosity in the sciences.
As a biology major, Crowell has participated in three prestigious research internships at Cornell University, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and WVU. He was a member of the Pride of West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band, Beta Beta Beta biology service fraternity and the American Chemical Society.
He has traveled abroad as a Jamaica volunteer missionary, and has volunteered with the WVU CORE Arboretum.
“My undergraduate education at WVU has been the hardest, yet most fulfilling time of my life,” Crowell wrote in his application.
Though he has devoted much of his time to science, Crowell has made a point to pursue many of his interests at WVU, including pottery and scuba diving.
He is the son of Stephen and Lora Crowell.
As a student athlete and scholar, Maria Dalzot, of Morgantown, has mastered the art of time management.
She is a member of the WVU Cross County and Track teams, treasurer of the Student Dietetic Association and a student tutor, among other things.
She has volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House, participated in Dinner for a Dollar, Soles for Souls, Operation Christmas Child and the WVU State Farm Games—all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
After receiving her degree in human nutrition and foods, Dalzot plans to earn her master’s degree and someday become a college professor.
“As a student, I enjoy learning and as a professor, I think I would find satisfaction in teaching other students to be as enthusiastic about the curriculum as I am,” she wrote in her application.
Being a student athlete, Dalzot is known by her professors as someone who puts academics first.
“Students like Maria make the teaching profession truly rewarding for us,” said Janet Tou, a human nutrition professor.
Maria is the daughter of Rick and Kathy Dalzot.
As a first generation college student, Vanessa DeCesare has had to rely on a deep inner strength to propel her through the many personal challenges that have been rooted throughout her undergraduate career.
Despite immense adversity, DeCesare, of Toronto, Ohio, has succeeded academically by becoming a McNair Scholar and conducting research concerning attitudes towards regional dialects.
She has found solace in helping others by becoming a resident assistant and participating in several community service initiatives including volunteering in the Special Olympics, a Red Cross Blood Drive and Rail Trail Clean-Ups, among others.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in speech pathology and audiology, DeCesare plans to pursue a doctorate degree in speech pathology so she will be able to help others improve their quality of life.
“I have proven to myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to,” DeCesare wrote in her application.
She is the daughter of Anthony DeCesare.
Tristan Gartin, of Chapmanville, does not only rise to the challenge, but shoots over and above what is expected.
Upon graduation, Gartin will be receiving her undergraduate degree in accounting. She is a resident assistant and secretary for the WVU Accounting Club. She has also participated in several community service activities, including Habitat for Humanity, painting the gymnasium at West Preston Middle School and creating valentines for the WVU Children’s Hospital, among others.
“Juggling my academic studies and personal life, along with being a resident assistant has been difficult, but I wouldn’t trade any day of it,” Gartin wrote in her application.
After interning with an accounting firm in Washington, D.C., and a study abroad experience in Belgium and Paris, Gartin aims to pursue a career in the non-profit sector.
“Whether it is creating a community on her floor, volunteering to assist with fundraisers, or bettering a poverty stricken school district through beautification, Ms. Gartin is a blessing to others,” said Jeremiah Kibler, area advisor for Honors Hall.
She is the daughter of Don and Doris Gartin.
Andrea Garton, animal and nutritional sciences major from Jane Lew, is well on her way to a career in veterinary medicine but she’s putting her profession on hold for a year to fulfill another mission.
After she graduates, Garton wants to volunteer through the Catholic Church to work in a developing country. At WVU, she was involved in two such missions to Kingston, Jamaica, one as an organizer, fund-raiser and student leader.
“I view college as the time to help myself so that I can spend my working life assisting others. If being at WVU has taught me anything, I have learned that I want to help others, that I owe a debt to society,” Garton wrote.
A lifelong 4-H-er, Garton was a member and president of the WVU Collegiate 4-H Club. She was active in 4-H activities, such as folk dancing, while also working in animal science research labs. She began working in a reproductive physiology lab as a volunteer and was eventually placed on the lab’s payroll and given her own research project.
In the summer of 2009 she was an intern at the Cincinnati Zoo, and has been invited to be an intern in its research center when she returns from her mission.
She is the daughter of Rock and Dorothy Garton.
Katherine Gatian perfectly blended high academic achievement and laudable community service during her four years at WVU.
The Morgantown native is a double major in aerospace and mechanical engineering with a 3.9 GPA.
She has served for two years on the WVU Microgravity Research Team, which has written two successful proposals accepted by NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity Program. The group has also been accepted into NASA’s FAST program for two consecutive summers.
Gatian was a Mickey Leland Summer Fellow in the Department of Energy at Morgantown’s National Energy Technology Lab. Her stint was so successful that the program invited her to stay on as a year-round intern while studying full-time at WVU.
Last summer, Gatian worked on a research team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center as part of the prestigious and selective NASA Propulsion Academy.
She has also been an active member and leader, including serving as president, of Chi Omega sorority. In addition, Gatian serves as Morale Captain for the WVU Dance Marathon and was elected the 2009 WVU Homecoming Queen.
Gatian plans to attend graduate school to continue her study and research in aerospace engineering.
She is the daughter of Kelli and Jim Gatian.
Despite a college career full of struggles, Shannon Greskevitch has stayed on top of her studies and will graduate with a 4.0 GPA.
During her college career, the Wheeling native lost three of her grandparents, witnessed her mother’s battle with breast cancer and endured financial hardships when her father lost his job.
Greskevitch, a speech pathology and audiology major, plans to attend graduate school and achieve her goal of helping people with severe disabilities through communication therapy.
“While studying speech pathology and audiology, I have become particularly interested in communication therapy for people with severe disabilities. I have learned the importance of communication and how often it is taken for granted,” she wrote in her application. “Imagine not being able to tell your family that you love them because a disability is prohibiting you from doing so.”
Greskevitch has served as vice president of the National Student Speech and Language Hearing Association, and a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs, Newman Club and volleyball intramural club.
She has volunteered at Special Olympics, Energy Express, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity and Ruby Memorial Hospital, among other things.
She has been recognized as a member of the Mortar Board Senior Honorary, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a recipient of the Gold Level President’s Volunteer Service Award for over 300 hours of community service, among other things.
She is the daughter of John and Pattie Greskevitch.
Katherine Griffith has made the most of her time at WVU, personalizing and diversifying her education as a triple major in journalism, English and French.
“Completing these three degrees in the amount of time that most other students take for one has required a lot of work but has also opened doors to experiences I might not have had otherwise,” Griffith, of Morgantown, wrote in her application.
She has taken full advantage of those experiences, serving as the Arts and Entertainment editor of The Daily Athenaeum, studying abroad in France last summer as part of WVU en Vendee and committing herself to the in-depth multimedia project, West Virginia Uncovered.
“Katie is mature and conscientious beyond her years, and naturally inquisitive. Her assiduous attitude toward any endeavor is beyond admirable,” said Jan Boyles, director of advising for the P.I. Reed School of Journalism.
Griffith plans to work as a journalist, traveling and learning as much as possible.
She is daughter of Robert Griffith and Anne Johnson.
Charles Harner, of Williamstown, will graduate from WVU with degrees in both aerospace and mechanical engineering and a cumulative GPA of 3.96.
During his time at WVU, Harner worked on the WVU Microgravity Research Team to design, test and analyze a microgravity experiment. NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity Program accepted the team’s proposal, which allowed Harner and the group to test their experiment at the Johnson Space Center in the summer of 2008, resulting in findings that were published in the West Virginia Academy of Sciences Journal.
He was active outside the classroom as well, serving as a member of SPACE (Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Education), WVU Tau Beta Pi and the WVU Flying Club. He also participated in a biannual bike drive and reconstruction, Relay for Life and Movember, a fundraiser for men’s health research.
Harner seeks to become a management and research leader in the spaceflight industry. He is currently working at the NASA Ames Research Center and is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the NASA Alumni Academy.
His parents are Maryann and Richard Harner.
Michael Hoffman is an industrial engineering major who holds a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is only the seventh student in the history of the department to graduate with such an impressive record.
In addition to excelling in the classroom, the New Freeport, Pa. native has two rigorous and selective internship experiences under his belt.
As a freshman, he was accepted into the HB Maynard (now Accenture) summer co-op program, which typically does not offer similar positions until a student is ready to enter their senior year of college. He currently works as a researcher at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown conducting advanced analysis of circulating fluidized beds.
Hoffman serves as treasurer of Tau Beta Pi and is deeply involved in the organization’s work with Positive Spin, helping to collect and repair bicycles for resale to those in need of affordable transportation. In addition, he volunteers his time to maintain the landscaping of the Crabapple Community Church.
After graduation he will begin work at Eaton Corporation in the company’s leadership development program.
Hoffman’s parents are Donna and Tom Wise.
Savannah Jiles believes that “children have powerful lessons to teach” and, with a foundation built at WVU, she plans to enter the teaching field and learn as many of those lessons as she can.
Jiles, of Parkersburg, studied elementary education, early childhood education and special education and will graduate with a degree in multi-disciplinary studies. She has a 3.81 GPA.
“Savannah’s high level of motivation and her enthusiasm and passion for learning and teaching ensured that she was not only an exemplary student, but that she will be a very effective and caring educator,” said Sharon Hayes, one of her professors in the College of Human Resources and Education.
Jiles served on the Council for Exceptional Children and the College of Human Resources and Education Dean’s Student Advisory Board. She taught in several area schools, tutored local students and conducted research in a kindergarten classroom.
Like many students, she also became an avid fan of the Mountaineers, cheering on nearly every team at the University, from football to gymnastics. The experience filled her with pride that she says she’ll carry with her, no matter where her career takes her.
“West Virginia University has and always will be my home,” she said. “Consequently, no matter where my career leads me, I will always remain true to my colors ? gold and blue.”
Jiles is the daughter of Fred and Kathryn Jiles.
Jennifer Knipe can tick off dozens of thrilling experiences in her four years at WVU – conducting undergraduate research, attending national engineering conferences and working for the Department of Energy among them – but nothing opened her eyes quite like studying abroad.
“Without spending a semester studying in Sweden, I know I would not be the person I am today,” Knipe wrote in her application. “I met so many wonderful people, visited cultural landmarks everywhere from Oslo to Barcelona, and discovered excitement for new things, confidence in unfamiliar situation and independence along the way.”
The Martinsburg native will graduate with a degree in chemical engineering. She has a 3.9 GPA.
During her time at WVU, Knipe served as president of the Society of Women Engineers, treasurer of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, secretary of the chemical engineering honorary Omega Chi Epsilon and a member of the engineering honorary Tau Beta Pi. She also volunteered many hours at the Ronald McDonald House.
Her undergraduate research and tutoring assignments have persuaded Knipe to earn a doctorate degree and seek a position as a lead researcher at a university.
She is the daughter of Ernest and Rosemary Knipe.
Joshua Lider, a kicker for the Mountaineers and native of Bellevue, Wash., was able to balance athletics with a bright academic record at WVU.
After transferring from Western Washington University after three years, Lider left his home state to play football for WVU and pursue a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology where he has held a 4.0 GPA. He hopes to play professional football and is also interested in orthopedic surgery.
G. Gregory Haff, an exercise physiology assistant professor, said that Lider as a student athlete makes sure he’s held to a higher standard than his classmates and “never asks for special treatment because of his role on the WVU football team.
“I have been so impressed with Josh that I have offered him an internship position in my sport science laboratory,” Haff said.
Lider was named president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at WVU and is a bible study leader for the football team. He has also participated in several service projects, including a mission trip to Jamaica, delivering food to hungry residents and responding to a mudslide cleanup following a flood.
He is the son of Kirk and Carol Lider.
As Anne Mallow graduates, she’s already worked at a consulting firm where she took part in a project to develop engineering standards as part of negotiations to end a strike.
She has also worked as a teaching assistant, done graduate-level research and pursued her dreams of making the world a greener place.
Mallow, of Upper Tract, held her 3.9 GPA while participating in service activities such as serving on the board of directors for a non-profit called Positive Spin, which repairs and distributes bicycles to those who need them.
The Bucklew Foundation Scholar took on leadership roles inside and outside the classroom, said her mentor Jack Byrd, a professor in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering. But it was her desire to help others that earned her Byrd’s highest praise.
“Often she would come to me with a request for a student in need,” he said. “She would devote considerable time to helping others even when that meant that she had to spend even more time getting her own work done. In an age when generosity of spirit has seemingly become a thing of the past, Anne has restored my hope that people still do care for each other.”
Her service, employment and academic achievements are extensive and include a first-place award at the IIE Regional Technical Paper Competition
Her parents are Lisa and Stephen Mallow.
Yue “Rebecca” Mao came from China speaking no English prior to her time at WVU. She is now set to graduate with a 3.87 GPA and will begin employment in the fall with Ernst & Young, a global accounting firm, as the result of a summer internship.
“Despite her lack of prior work experience in the public accounting profession and her relative youth, she was quickly performing tasks generally assigned to experienced professionals,” said Vaughn Cook, a senior manager with Ernst & Young.
Trained in traditional Chinese dance, Mao performed this past year with the West Virginia Dance Company as a guest artist. She is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gamma Sigma and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also participated in study abroad programs and serves as a tutor in Chinese.
Mao, an accounting major and Morgantown resident, hopes one day to work for the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
She has received four Presidential Awards for Excellence in Scholarship and the Robert Witschey Award.
She is the daughter of Mathis Frick and Lijuan Zhao.
Elizabeth Margolin began her college career as a candidate for the Student Government Association’s Board of Governors. The public relations major from Charleston won election that first year, and now at the end of her University experience she holds a 3.9 GPA.
“Representing my student body helped me recognize my ability to collaborate on a team with unique personalities, work hard to achieve the goals I truly believed in, and to embrace successes while learning from occasional disappointments,” she wrote in her application.
Margolin is involved in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, served on the Student Recreation Center’s Advisory Board, was on the Mountaineer Week Committee and served on the Student Health Advisory Board.
Outside of service activities, she was a Governor’s intern for the Department of Environmental Protection for two summers and has served as an intern with the WVU Alumni Association since the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. She will be attending law school in the fall.
She is the recipient of several scholarships, including the Promise Scholarship, Mountaineer Scholarship and a scholarship from the P.I. Reed School of Journalism.
Her parents are Judy and Arnie Margolin.
Andrew McCue, of Summersville, would like to pursue a career in rural medicine. He will be attending WVU’s Medical School in the fall.
The 4.0 student will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
“I have seen the difference that physicians make, and I desire the knowledge required to save lives. I have a genuine desire to help those around me,” McCue wrote in his application.
Other than academics, McCue has given back to the community in other ways. He served as a tutor for the American Chemistry Society, helped create the Summersville Memorial Hospital Extended Care Facility information booklet, was a coach at the Summersville Athletic Association Basketball Camp and participated in Relay for Life.
McCue is also a member of the Mortar Board Senior Honorary, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He has also been recognized as a 2009 Eberly Scholar, among other things.
He is the son of Jerry and Jennifer McCue.
Piedmont native Katie Niland is graduating after only three years at WVU.
A political science major graduating with a 4.0 GPA, Niland says her experience at WVU has changed her from a shy girl from a small town to an “outgoing young adult ready to face the world.”
Her future goals include attending law school. During her time in college, Niland has been active in the Honors College where she was asked to teach the freshman orientation course Honors 199.
She has served as a Gold and Blue Student Ambassador, a member of the Chimes Junior Honorary, Helvetia Sophomore Honorary, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and Student Government Association, among other things.
She has been recognized with the James Dent Memorial Scholarship in Political Science, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Achievement Award and W.E. Chilton III Memorial Scholarship, among other things.
She is the daughter of Donnie and Isabell Niland.
Nathan Pearson, of Morgantown, is known by his professors as exceedingly bright and capable. In fact, he is seen as capable enough to handle research dealing with a radioactive material—research that is not given lightly to undergraduates.
Pearson will graduate with two degrees in biochemistry and philosophy. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school.
“I believe that the discipline and rigor I’ve learned from my biochemistry work along with the creativity I’ve learned from my work in philosophy will serve me very well going forward,” he wrote in his application.
Pearson also gained a new perspective by studying abroad in a program called, “Semester at Sea.”
“I saw both extreme luxury and abject poverty,” he wrote. “My study abroad experience helped me put my place in the world into better perspective, make me thankful for my home and what I have, and inspired me to venture out into the world, try new things and go new places.”
Along with being a chemistry tutor, Pearson is a member of the Pierpont Hall Student Conduct Board, the University Committee on Rights and Responsibilities, Philosophy Club, Intramural Basketball and has volunteered in the Emergency Room at Ruby Memorial Hospital.
He is the son of Timothy and Lori Pearson.
Phillip Pifer, of Mineral Wells, hopes to be a radiation oncologist or neurologist.
He is graduating with a degree in chemistry and will be attending WVU’s School of Medicine in the fall.
During his time at WVU, Pifer has spent many hours tutoring students and managing the Chemistry Learning Center. His experience at the center has opened his eyes to the possibility of working in academia later in life.
“Tutoring has allowed me to think of chemistry in ways I never have before,” he wrote in his application essay.
Pifer has also been active in the American Chemical Society’s WVU affiliate, Mortar Board Senior Honorary, Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-healthcare honorary, Phi Lambda Upsilon and Eberly College Outstanding Teacher Award Committee.
He has received numerous awards, including Outstanding Junior Chemistry Major at WVU, first place in the WVU ACS Student Affiliates Chemical Symposium and the WVNano Initiative 2009 Research Symposium, among others.
Pifer is the son of Michael and Ann Pifer.
Richard Michael Squires, a speech pathology and audiology major from Clarksburg, received some of his best education outside the classroom at WVU.
As the Mountaineer mascot in 2008-09, Squires greatly honed his public speaking skills and learned about commitment, appearing at hundreds of athletic events and functions.
As a member of the WVU cheerleading squad he further learned about managing his time and keeping pace with a rigorous schedule.
“During my time as the WVU Mountaineer, I became very active in public speaking,” Squires wrote. “I took on the personal goal of educating children that I talked to throughout West Virginia about history of our state, our university and the Mountaineer mascot. It became second nature for me to stand up in front of groups of people, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, and speak about the position of the Mountaineer mascot and our rich heritage as citizens of Appalachia.”
Along with athletics-related activities, Squires was Mr. Mountaineer in 2009 and served as membership chair of the Mortar Board National College Honor Society. He was active as a volunteer, whether reading to school children, tutoring fellow students in economics or helping as an Energy Express mentor.
He was named to the national and school dean’s list and earned the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship.
He is the son of Richard and Jane Lynn Squires.
Education, leadership and professional development have come together for Melissa Stevens because of her education at WVU.
A forest resource management major from Frostburg, Md., Stevens’ education and extra-curricular activities helped her land a job with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“West Virginia University is an exceptional tool that prepared me for employment and I am confident as a result of my experiences that I have the necessary technical and professional skills to become successful in the natural resources field,” she wrote.
Her supervisor Jesse W. Morgan agrees.
“She has great work ethic and always has a passion for her work. Her skills range from the most modern technology ? to the ‘on the ground’ laborious forestry field work and she performs on both sides equally well. She also functions as a team leader when necessary, or will also provide as a strong a link while serving as a team member,” Morgan wrote.
Stevens was a winner of the national Ben Meadows Natural Resource Scholarship for Leadership and numerous other scholarships and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She was president of the WVU Student Society of American Foresters, treasurer of the WVU Forestry Club and a member of the WVU Woodsmen team and the WVU Archery Club.
She is the daughter of Ben and Barb Stevens.
During his career at WVU, William Boyd Turner, III has become more self-confident, knowledgeable, better spoken and has a newfound perception on the importance of scholarship.
Turner, of Dillsburg, Pa., majored in political science and will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA. He plans to go on to the U.S. Air Force to serve his “lifelong passion for aviation,” during which he aims to complete a graduate degree in law, international relations or business.
“I plan to continue my education as I serve, keeping in mind the motto – ‘a good pilot is always learning,’” Turner wrote in his application.
While at WVU, Turner has been a teaching assistant for computer science courses, a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta academic honor society and Mountain Honorary, a participant in the Gold and Blue Ambassador program and International Student Mentoring Program, among other things.
He has studied abroad in London and represented WVU in Bahrain, Dubai and Jordan, among others.
He is a six-time recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship and a three-time recipient of the Eberly College’s Certificate of Academic Achievement.
He is the son of Carol and Bill Turner.
Briana Vecchio, of Bridgeport, fell in love with genetics during her freshman year at WVU. She hopes to one day conduct research on gene therapy of chronic illnesses such as pigmentosa or cystic fibrosis.
Vecchio is double majoring in chemistry and biochemistry.
At WVU, she has served as a tutor and teaching assistant, experiences she says have helped her in her studies.
“I have had to master my subject matter and learn how to approach a problem from a different point of view to help others learn,” she wrote in her application.
Vecchio has also been a member of the American Chemical Society’s WVU student affiliate, Helvetia, Chimes and Mortar Board and Phi Lambda Upsilon honoraries.
She has been recognized with the Catherine Chico Sellaro Italian American in Science Scholarship and Eberly College Certificate of Achievement. She was the West Virginia Undergraduate Researcher of the Year in 2009, Eberly Scholar and was chosen to be a student representative on the Outstanding Teacher Selection Committee.
She is the daughter of Mark and Dawna Vecchio.
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