Their volunteer service, outstanding academic performance and dedication to school activities has earned West Virginia University’s attention.
The University has awarded 20 of the state’s top-performing high school seniors the esteemed Neil S. Bucklew Scholarship to attend WVU in the fall.
The scholarship, valued at more than $26,000, provides each student with more than $6,600 per year toward educational costs during their four years at WVU.
Neil S. Bucklew, the scholarship’s creator, served as WVU’s 20th president from 1986 to 1995. The scholarships are part of the University’s comprehensive awards program and are supported, in part, by the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.
The 2011 Bucklew scholars are: Jesse Beilhart, Chester, Oak Glen High School; Virginia Cunningham, Hurricane, Hurricane High School; Colin Frosch, Fairmont, Notre Dame High School; Keegan Guffey, Morgantown, Morgantown High School; April Liska, Hedgesville, Hedgesville High School; Kristin Meigh, Wheeling, Wheeling Park High School; Morgan Nowery, Parkersburg, Parkersburg South High School; Nikul Patel, Huntington, Cabell Midland High School; Jessica Patterson, Wheeling, The Linsly School; Morgan Riddle, Ravenswood, Ripley High School; Jacob Robey, Colliers, Brooke High School; David Sinclair, Vienna, Parkersburg High School; Christine Snyder, Scott Depot, Charleston Catholic High School; Emily Stewart, Fairmont, East Fairmont High School; Kaitlin Stricker, Charleston, Charleston Catholic High School; Deirdre Tobin, Fairmont, Fairmont Senior High School; Tessa Wiegand, Morgantown, University High School; Colin Winkie, Bridgeport, Bridgeport High School; Brennan Wood, Alderson, Greenbrier East High School; and Ryan Zahalka, Morgantown, Morgantown High School.
The students are now eligible for WVU’s top academic award, the Foundation Scholarship, which is awarded to the top five Bucklew scholars and valued at more than $70,000 when paired with the PROMISE Scholarship. The Foundation scholars will be announced during May by Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and University officials at a ceremony at the Charleston Capitol Complex.
Jesse Beilhart, of Chester, is graduating first in his class at Oak Glen High School.
While at WVU, he aims to study engineering. Beilhart would also like to study abroad in the United Kingdom to learn how to be an engineer in another country.
“Every aspect of the education I receive in the United Kingdom could help me to better understand the material and how it is taught in America,” Beilhart wrote in his application.
He has been recognized as a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, Voice of Democracy winner, Lions Scholar of the Month, U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee and was awarded the West Point Leadership Award, among others.
He is active in the National Honor Society, Key Club, Foreign Language Club, Culture Club, pep band and theater, among other things.
Beilhart has taken advanced courses in chemistry, biology, physics, calculus, statistics, history, speech and English.
He is the son of Chuck and Amy Beilhart.
Virginia Cunningham, of Hurricane, feels like it is people’s responsibility as humans to learn about other cultures and understand what the Earth really is.
She intends to study abroad in South America, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina or Chile while at WVU.
The soon-to-be graduate of Hurricane High School has reached out to the community though a church mission trip called REACH, where she focused on improving living conditions of low-income areas.
“I learned about what it means to really help people and how helping others can be beneficial in my own life,” she wrote in her application.
Cunningham has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors and received the Excellence Award for Foreign Language, among others.
She is active in soccer, track, piano, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta math honorary and Spanish Club, among other things.
Cunningham has taken advanced courses in statistics, English, history, biology, calculus, government, chemistry and sociology.
She is the daughter of Debby and John Cunningham.
Colin Frosch, of Fairmont, would like to use the civil engineering knowledge he gains while studying at WVU to help meet infrastructure needs outside the U.S.
“I would love to put my learned abilities to use along with my service ambitions,” he wrote in his application. “It is my dream to benefit the people of developing nations in need of sustainable infrastructure improvements and installments.”
Frosch demonstrated his drive to get things done as a student at Notre Dame High School, where he organized and marketed a blood drive. The drive was so successful that they surpassed their goal.
He has also been active in Key Club, soccer, swimming, Drama Club, National Honor Society and Student Council, among other things.
He has been recognized as a Best Science Student, Most Enthusiastic Spanish Student, Outstanding Chemistry Student and Student of the Month, among others. He has also been involved in WVU’s Engineers of Tomorrow program and the National Youth Leadership Forum.
Frosch has taken advanced courses in psychology, Spanish, English, science, geography, history, government and calculus.
He is the son of Julie and Kenneth Frosch.
A 10-year-old boy named “Manny” has motivated Keggan Guffey, of Morgantown, to set his goals on becoming a physician.
Guffey met Manny last summer at Muscular Dystrophy Association camp, where he was tasked to take care of the boy all day.
“Helping Manny was an honor and a privilege that satisfied something deep within me,” Guffey said. “I intend to do all that I must to become a physician so that I can help those who really need our help most.”
The soon-to-be graduate of Morgantown High School will major in biology when he comes to WVU in the fall.
Guffey has been active in the Boy Scouts of America, lacrosse, American Legion Mountaineer Boys State, Student Council and National Honor Society, among other things.
He has been recognized as a Samsung American Legion Scholarship National Finalist and Advanced Placement Scholar; and he received the Order of the Arrow from the Boy Scouts of America and President’s Volunteer Service Award, among others.
Guffey has taken advanced courses in English, psychology, chemistry, history, biology, geography, government and calculus.
He is the son of Steven and Elizabeth Guffey.
Through tutoring her fellow classmates, April Liska of Hedgesville has learned the value of leadership.
“When a student comes to me for help, I know that I play an important role in my community and in my school,” Liska wrote in her application. “To see the smile on a student’s face as he or she begins to understand tells me that I have made a small difference in a student’s life.”
Focused on her future, Liska plans to study physics at WVU and establish a career in astronomy.
She is active in her community as a member of the National Honor Society, Young Poets’ Society, NASA INSPIRE, Pulsar Search Collaboratory, Debate and Speech Club and Preparatory Orchestra, among other things.
She has received many awards, including the Eagle Soar Award, Student of the Month, Governor’s Honors Academy Scholar, Advanced Placement Rising Scholar with honors, Excellence in Astronomy Award and perfect attendance, among others.
She will graduate from Hedgesville High School.
Liska has taken advanced courses in world history, U.S. history, English, psychology, politics, calculus, statistics, physics and chemistry.
She is the daughter of Dennis and Dorothy Liska.
Kristin Meigh, of Wheeling, was able to get first-hand experience as a medical professional while volunteering alongside her father at a local hospital.
Meigh dedicated eight-hours a week to her volunteer work. When she is at WVU, she hopes to extend her service further to help provide medical care to people in Africa.
“I have a heart full of compassion and a brain full of ambition _ I truly believe I could change the lives of these people that are much less fortunate than me,” she wrote in her application.
Meigh will graduate from Wheeling Park High School this year. She intends to major in chemistry at WVU.
She has been an active member of the Key Club, Varsity Speech Team, National Honor Society, soccer team, Spanish Club, Student Council and National Spanish Honor Society, among others.
Meigh has been recognized as a U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee, National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, West Virginia Academic Athlete of the Year, and Stifel Prize winner, among others.
She has taken advanced courses in English, statistics, chemistry, history, government, geography, calculus and biology.
She is the daughter of Connie and Thomas Meigh.
Morgan Nowery of Parkersburg, has traveled to the Gulf Coast each summer since she was in ninth grade to help counsel victims, work in shelters and food pantries and rebuild houses that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
When Nowery first heard of the devastation the hurricane had caused, she called a church in the heart of New Orleans. They advised her to try to organize some help through her church. Through her efforts, two semi-trucks full of supplies were sent to the area.
“Volunteering through Operation Nehemiah has made me a better person and impressed upon me the importance of helping others,” she wrote in her application.
As a student at Parkersburg South High School, Nowery has been active in Southern Belles dance/drill team, Student Council, Key Club, Model United Nations and Ski/Snowboard Club, among other things.
She will major in biology at WVU.
She has been honored as an Ameridance Grand Champion, Ameridance Hip Hop Champion, Ameridance High Kick Champion, Student of the Game, National Honor Society member and National Spanish Honor Society member, among others.
Nowery has taken advanced courses in English, biology, calculus, history and economics.
She is the daughter of Carol and Doug Nowery.
Nikul Patel, of Huntington, strives to serve the world as a physician in the Doctors Without Borders organization.
“I have been to India once previously, and the poverty that I was surrounded by astonished and shocked me,” he wrote in his application. “Seeing children as young as 2 years old walking around begging for money is heart wrenching, and it would be an honor to assist in the process of giving the poor medical care.”
Patel, who will graduate from Cabell Midland High School, is not sure of his major at this time but he is interested in exercise physiology.
He has been active in his high school’s honors program, the Boy Scouts of America, Medical Explorers, Key Club, National Honors Society, Tri-State India Association Diwali Program, soccer, tennis, Mu Alpha Theta math honorary and Interact Club, among others.
Patel has been recognized as a National Merit Semifinalist and Advanced Placement Scholar; and he has been a member of the biology, physics and Spanish honoraries, among other things.
He has taken advanced courses in English, history, biology, civics, physics, calculus and psychology.
He is the son of Shailesh and Jyotsna Patel.
Jessica Patterson, of Wheeling, understands the need for “efficiency” and “kindness.”
Those qualities became even more valuable to Patterson when she spent time caring for an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Helping others is not just a way to make their lives easier,” she wrote in her application. “Rose showed me that by helping others you open yourself to receive greater happiness. She changed my life by demonstrating to me how I can make a difference. If I can stand out in her memory, I can stand out in the world.”
The Linsly School student aims to make her mark on the world through the medical profession. She will major in biology at WVU.
Patterson has been active as a volunteer at the Wheeling Hospital, a participant in the Judicial Scholars Program and 2010 Leadership Wheeling Youth Program, among others.
She has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors, First in Class in Chemistry, First in Class in U.S History, member of National Honor Society and National German Honor Society, among others.
Patterson has taken advanced courses in biology, calculus, English, geography, psychology, physics, history and chemistry.
She is the daughter of Janet and Arthur Patterson.
Studying international relations at WVU is something that will come natural to Morgan Riddle, of Ravenswood. She has already gained an international perspective from her experience with the Lyon’s Club Youth Leadership Exchange program.
Riddle traveled 4,000 miles across the ocean to explore Europe. In the process she learned valuable communication skills.
“I grew as a leader by becoming aware of my own capabilities and gaining a much greater perspective – two vitally important elements in good leadership,” she wrote in her application. “I plan to use these skills to better communication with and relate to anyone I come into contact with.”
At Ripley High School, Riddle has been active in volleyball, track, choir, Student Council, Foreign Language Club, 4-H, Natural Helpers peer mentoring, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and National Honor Society, among other things.
She has been recognized as Spanish Student of the Year, French Student of the Year and an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors. She has also received an academic excellence letter each year, among other things.
Riddle has taken advanced courses in history, English, statistics, government, psychology and science.
She is the daughter of Kristi Stanley and John Hays.
Through an Eagle Scout project, Jacob Robey, of Colliers, discovered his leadership potential.
He helped design, plan, raise funds for, build and landscape a two-tier, 110 foot retaining wall for his local church.
“The project allowed me to enjoy the experience of hard manual labor and fellowship with community members that I would never have had met any other way,” Robey wrote in his application.
The Brooke High School student plans on majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering at WVU.
He is active on the swim team, tennis team, cross country, History Club, Spanish Club, Engineering Club, Academic Team, Student Council, Math Club, German Club, Key Club, Chemistry Club and Boy Scouts of America, among other things.
He has been recognized as an Outstanding Honors Spanish Student, Outstanding Biology Student, and received the Brook Swim Team Heart Award and Brooke Swim Team varsity letter, among other things.
Robey has taken advanced courses in history, biology, English, economics, science, chemistry and calculus.
He is the son of Lori and Eric Robey.
David Sinclair’s experience as president of Parkersburg High School’s Key Club taught him how to be a leader.
Sinclair, of Vienna, organized a basketball game between students and teachers to raise money for Haiti after the devastating earthquake destroyed much of the area. Planning the event tested Sinclair’s boundaries and helped him to grow as a person.
“Through tragedy, a young group of high school students grew and matured into responsible citizens,” he wrote in his application. “I consider our Haiti project as one of the most important things I have accomplished.”
He will major in pharmacy at WVU.
In addition to Key Club, Sinclair is active in the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Parkersburg High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes, tennis team, men’s ensemble and West Virginia Music Teachers Association Piano Competitions, among other things.
He has achieved placement on the President’s List all four years of high school and was a Distinguished Concerts International winner, among other things.
Sinclair has taken advanced courses in English, calculus, government, statistics, psychology and sociology.
He is the son of Mark and Amy Sinclair.
Christine Snyder, of Scott Depot, is expected to graduate from Charleston Catholic High School second in her class.
Active in volleyball, Spanish Club, Drama Club and Dream Weaver’s Club, among other things, Snyder has a busy life. But, she still makes time for helping her community.
Snyder regularly records more than 145 hours of community service. She volunteers with the Knight’s of Columbus, Clay County Christmas, works at sports events, soup kitchens and Cub Scout camp.
Her most rewarding experience was helping with Project Hope, which stands for Housing Outreach Project Express. During the project, Snyder helped with household improvements and repairs for the less fortunate.
“I did things I never thought I could do,” she wrote in her application. “The most memorable experience was walking three young children to a local store to pick out storage bins for their new rooms. The unadulterated joy that lit up their faces, I will certainly never forget.”
Snyder has been honored with the Charleston Catholic High School Scholarship of Excellence, inducted into the National Society of High School Scholars and accepted into the Congressional Student Leadership Conference, among other things.
She intends to major in civil engineering at WVU.
Snyder has taken advanced courses in English, psychology, calculus, physics and computer science.
She is the daughter of Cheryl and John Snyder.
By helping with Special Olympics, Emily Stewart of Fairmont gained respect for those born less fortunate. It made her grateful for her health and her everyday life.
Now, Stewart plans on taking that determination and using it to help others by going into a medical profession. She will major in pharmacy at WVU in the fall.
“It may have only been a onetime event, but it had a profound effect on me and the students who were participants,” she said.
At East Fairmont High School, Stewart is active in the English and Spanish honoraries, Key Club, Bible Club and Elizabethan Chamber Singers, among other things.
She has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Rising Scholar, National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, Student of the Month, and is a member of the National Honor society and science honorary, among other things.
Stewart has taken advanced courses in history, English, calculus, biology, government, algebra and trigonometry.
She is the daughter of Sandra and Thomas Stewart.
Being born with diabetes was not something that Kaitlin Stricker, of Charleston, was going to let get in her way. In fact, she and her father learned to embrace it.
They started Bag of Hope, a statewide program that reaches out to families of children with newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes.
“Serving some 150 families in the past 10 years through Bag of Hope, not only left a deep impression on me of the vulnerability and gratitude people express in times of need, but of my ability, merely through example, to help families through not only a tough time, but through a lifetime,” Stricker wrote in her application.
A student at Charleston Catholic High School, Stricker plans to study chemical and biomedical engineering at WVU.
She has been active on the volleyball team, in the Spanish Club, Drama Club, Supper Club and Dream Weavers Club. She also plays the piano.
Stricker has achieved a 4.0 GPA each year of high school, and was recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar, U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee, received the Dorothy Arthur Camp Kno-Koma Leadership Award and was a Wendy’s West Virginia High School Heisman Award finalist, among other things.
She has taken advanced courses in calculus, English, psychology, physics, computer science and government.
She is the daughter of Vincent and Carla Stricker.
Deirdre Tobin, of Fairmont, has a passion for mathematics.
Her excitement about math is something she shares with other students each year at the Summer Math Madness Camp. She has donated an estimated 50-60 hours a summer for the past three years to help get children interested in the subject.
“As a national trend, more and more students are becoming less interested in math,” she wrote in her application. “Through the use of many creative applications of math, ranging from robotics to origami to making hot air balloons, the camp really does inspire kids and re-interest them in math. I truly love being a part of that.”
Tobin is also active in Fairmont Senior High School’s Marching Band, concert band, National Honor Society, Real World Design Challenger, cross country, Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta math honorary and Catholic Heritage Club, among others.
She has been recognized as a U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee, Advanced Placement Rising Scholar, National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist and Elks Student of the Month, among other things.
Tobin has taken advanced courses in English, history, biology, chemistry, science and calculus.
She is the daughter of Donald and Nora Tobin.
Tessa Wiegand, of Morgantown, would like to become fluent in Spanish while she is attending WVU.
Already having taken five years of Spanish, she aims to study abroad and learn how to speak the language as her own.
“I could then serve my university, my state and my country in a greater capacity because I would have the ability to help overcome language and cultural barriers and to interact with a larger portion of the population for whom Spanish is their primary language,” she wrote in her application.
The University High School senior is active in varsity basketball, FIRST Robotics, Student Council, Mu Alpha Theta math honorary and National Honor Society, among other things.
She has been recognized as a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate and Advanced Placement Scholar. She also achieved the highest SAT score and highest Spanish GPA, among other things.
Wiegand intends to major in civil engineering at WVU.
She has taken advanced courses in history, geography, English, physics, mechanics, calculus and government.
She is the daughter of Catherine Nolan and Robert Wiegand.
Colin Winkie, of Bridgeport, spent a weekend homeless – an experience he said was all about bringing awareness to poverty in West Virginia.
“We were homeless, foodless and cell phoneless, and we felt the pain and suffering that many in our state experience daily, weekly, monthly, yearly,” he wrote in his application. “It was a humbling experience.”
The Bridgeport High School student will study biology at WVU, with the goal of becoming an orthopedic pediatric physician.
Winkie has been active in Student Council, French Club, orchestra, Key Club, National Honor Society, wrestling and track, among other things.
He has been recognized as First in Class, Civil Air Patrol Officer of the Year, Civil Air Patrol Outstanding Non Commissioned Officer and has been on the honor roll each year, among other things.
Winkie has taken advanced courses in history, English and calculus.
He is the son of Leslie and Kenneth Winkie.
Brennan Wood, of Alderson, looks forward to being able to study abroad when he is at WVU, so he can help make a difference in people’s lives.
“Participating in service-learning programs would give me a unique chance to make a difference in people’s lives while learning so much through community organizations around the world,” he wrote in his application.
Active in Eagle Scouts, one of Wood’s most memorable community service projects was when he helped turn an unused portion of Greenbrier State Forest into four usable campsites. This project was one that, he says, will help others gain the cherished memories that he has.
In addition to his service to the Boy Scouts of America, Wood is a member of the National Honor Society, marching band, Modern Music Masters Club, Student Government Association, Chamber Choir, Bluegrass Ensemble, West Virginia Jazz Orchestra and the men’s soccer, basketball and tennis teams, among other things.
He has been recognized as member of the National Society of High School Scholars, received a Students of Excellence scholarship and participated in American Legion’s Mountaineer Boys State, among other things.
Wood will graduate from Greenbrier East High School. He intends to major in chemistry at WVU.
Wood has taken advanced courses in English, history, calculus, government and biology.
He is the son of Nancy and Dell Wood.
Ryan Zahalka, of Morgantown, has spent the past three years devoting much of his time to teaching young children the dangers of tobacco use.
His service to Teens Against Tobacco Use at Morgantown High School is something Zahalka refers to as his “most important community activity.”
“We have a great time presenting, and we’re not afraid to mix a little humor into our presentations. But for the most part, we are all aware of the powerful difference our words can make in the kids’ lives,” he wrote in his application.
Zahalka is also active in Student Council, the Science Bowl, soccer, French Club, Social Studies Club and track, among other things.
He will major in biology at WVU in the fall.
Zahalka has been recognized as a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, Advanced Placement Scholar with honors and member of the National Honor Society, among other things.
He has taken advanced courses in statistics, chemistry, history, English, biology, calculus, government and geography.
Zahalka is the son of Hayder and Arin Zahalka .
CONTACT: Brian Hoover, Undergraduate Scholarship Office
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