Eight students from a variety of backgrounds have been honored with the Order of Augusta, West Virginia University’s most prestigious student honor. They are among 45 students who have been named WVU Foundation’s Outstanding Seniors.
“These exceptional students just blow me away every time I interact with them,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “They have excelled not only in the classroom, but in taking advantage of all the things a University has to offer.
“I can’t wait to see what they take on with their West Virginia University degree in-hand.”
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.
These students will be honored at an event on May 14 at the Erickson Alumni Center.
The 2015 Order of Augusta scholars are:
Shelby Chapman from Buckhannon, a member of the Honors College, will graduate with a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering. She is a four-year member of the WVU Marching Band and she was named the assistant drum major her junior year.
She is a member of the honorary band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, the Alpha Omega Engineering Sorority and an active student officer of the WVU student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Chapman tutors freshman students in physics, chemistry and math at the Engineering Learning Center, and she is a WVU Academic Student Success coach.
Chapman has spent two of her summers working as an intern; in 2013, she worked as the first female production engineer with EQT in Pikeville, Kentucky, and in 2014 she worked as reservoir engineer with Chevron in Houston, Texas. Her research has been integrated into the Chevron’s business development plan. Currently, she is furthering her undergraduate research in fracture design modeling with Adjunct Professor Hoss Belyadi.
“My experiences working various jobs and internships have helped me to develop myself as a professional ready for the work place,” she said. “I can honestly say I do not feel my success at West Virginia University could be replicated at any other university. The opportunities that I’ve been given are beyond comprehension sometimes.”
She is the recipient of the PROMISE Scholarship, Rhododendron Scholarship, Alexander Hardy Tait Scholarship and two-time recipient of the West Virginia Desk and Derrick Scholarship, among others.
Chapman will graduate as a Presidential Honors Scholar and will join Chevron in Bakersfield, California, following graduation. She plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in business and one day teach at WVU.
Colin Frosch from Fairmont, a graduate of the Honors College, will graduate with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in German. He is the president of the WVU student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, president of Circle K International and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Frosch serves as the Statler College and the student body representative for the Statler College Undergraduate Curriculum Advisory Committee. He is also a mentor with the Office of International Students.
He has had various transportation-focused research opportunities as a student including analyzing the traffic patterns along the Gateway Connector in Fairmont, West Virginia, and at Grumbein’s Island in front of the Mountainlair. Frosch is currently leading the effort to fix the traffic problems in front of the Mountainlair by using European shared-space principles, and, as a result of his work, he was selected as 2014 WVU Student Innovator Award. He also interned at ATKINS Transportation in Texas, and he assisted in the development of an outreach program “PEER” to help middle and high school students in rural parts of the state understand how engineers are involved in traffic control.
As a member of Engineers without Borders, he traveled to the rural village of Nakavika in Fiji in 2012 to help install and assess water filters. He is presently coordinating his second international trip to the Dominican Republic. He has also studied abroad in Luneburg, Germany.
He has been on the President’s List every semester since his freshman year. He is the recipient of various scholarships, including a full- tuition scholarship to the MBA program.
“My past four years at West Virginia University have afforded me every possible opportunity to reach beyond the confines of the classroom to be able to achieve these aspects of a solid foundation for my own life,” he said. “I know my experience at WVU was unique. I believe that I wouldn’t have had these same opportunities for growth, insight and learning if I would have chosen to study anywhere else.”
After graduation, he will begin pursuing master’s degrees in civil engineering and business administration followed by a career in the transportation industry as an engineering consultant.
Elizabeth Gulick from Weaton, Illinois, will graduate with a degree in elementary education with a specialization in the field of special education. She is a member of the WVU volleyball team and was selected team captain her junior year. She is the representative for her team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is active in several other committees and organizations and volunteers her time in the community to help children with special needs.
She was named Ms. Mountaineer in 2014, inducted into Mountain Honorary, recognized as a finalist for the Big 12 Conference Female Sportsperson of the Year and earned a spot on the Capital One Academic All-District Team in two consecutive years.
Gulick has interned at Marion and Taylor County schools in West Virginia and presently works as a substitute teacher in both school districts. During her internships she conducted research on the effects of writing and talking about mathematical thinking on student learning. Her research was presented nationally at the Professional Development School Conference in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year.
Her specialization in special education has encouraged her to be especially attuned to the learning needs of her students and how general educators and special educators might co-teach to meet those needs.
“From my first day on campus in July of 2010 until now, the people and spirit that is West Virginia have transformed me,” she said. “If I had never come to this beautiful place, I would have never done what I have done or be who I am today. I owe my success to this state and its people. I have been inspired, I have been changed and I have become a West Virginian.”
She has been on the President’s and Dean’s lists from 2010-2014 and is the recipient of the William Joseph Sturgis Endowed Scholarship and Holmes-Casteel Special Education Scholarship.
After graduation, Gulick plans to marry her fianc� and move to Columbus, Mississippi, where she will begin her teaching career.
Divine Nwafor from Lagos, Nigeria, will graduate with a degree in biochemistry and a minor in in biology. He is a member of the WVU Neuroscience Club, WVU Mortar Board and the Golden Key Honors Society, among others. He has been a resident assistant since 2012 and serves as a tutor and teaching assistant in the chemistry department and as a guest writer for The Daily Athenaeum.
Nwafor has spent two summers working as an intern; in 2013, he was selected as a neurosurgical intern at the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital in South Africa where he shadowed physicians, and in 2014, he conducted research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute for Neuroscience. His research focused on olfactory modulation in moths. He has also volunteered in the pediatrics unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital.
He is a recipient of the College Alumni Scholarship, Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Sophomore Award and the WVU International Student Merit Scholarship.
“My West Virginia University experience is centered on its remarkable ideologies, which create a place for exceptional, mature and highly motivated students,” he said. “My career goal, which is becoming a physician, aligns with one of WVU’s core missions, which is improving healthcare accessibilities in the state. I see this as an opportunity to close the disparity in medicine, starting first with rural West Virginia and then taking this mission on a global scale.”
Divine will be attending the WVU School of Medicine in the fall.
Nina Orteza, an Honors College student from Morgantown, will graduate with degrees in economics, world languages, literature and linguistics with a concentration in Russian Studies, and Slavic and Eastern European Studies. She is the captain of the WVU Debate Team, and a member of the WVU Russian Club and Golden Key International Honor Society.
While simultaneously earning degrees in three areas of interest, Orteza traveled abroad to London and the Czech Republic to study European economics. She also tutors student-athletes at the WVU Student-Athlete Academic Center and serves as a conversational partner to work on English-speaking skills with international exchange students.
She has been named a Cross Examination Debate Association National Debate Scholar and Rhododendron Scholar, among others. She has also made the President’s List and Dean’s List at WVU.
“The amount of academic and personal support and guidance, along with the countless opportunities to travel and get involved, I have received here has been overwhelming,” she said. “West Virginia University offers countless opportunities for those who are willing to put in the effort, and I am grateful that I was availed these opportunities.”
Orteza has been selected as finalist for a Fulbright Scholarship to Russia, and if selected, she will travel to Russia after graduation. She plans to attend law school and obtain a master’s degree in Russian and Eastern European Studies.
Lucas Price from Morgantown, West Virginia, will graduate with a degree in wildlife and fisheries resources and a minor in conservation ecology. He is a member of the WVU Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Pheasants Forever, national chapter of The Wildlife Society and National Society of Collegiate Scholars, among others. He has been on the WVU President’s List each semester since his freshman year.
He has volunteered on various research and monitoring projects with experience ranging from genetics, disease work, fisheries, trapping, and education and outreach. He is currently working on his second undergraduate research project in Dr. Amy Welsh’s wild genomics laboratory examining lake sturgeon population dynamics of the St. Lawrence River. He has presented his research at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society and at the Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.
Price has spent two of his Spring Breaks assisting with restoration projects in California; in 2012, he assisted with the desert tortoise monitoring and restoration project in the Joshua Tree National Park, and in 2013 he provided assistance on the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project in Santa Monica.
“The vast size of West Virginia University allows it to have plentiful resources,” he said. “The professors, graduate students, resources and other factors make the University what it is. There is no university I would rather have attended as an undergraduate student.”
Following graduation, Price plans to attend graduate school and then work as a wildlife biologist within the federal government.
Victoria Reiser, an Honors College student from Gerrardstown, West Virginia, will graduate with a degree in nursing and minors in leadership studies and Spanish. She is the president of the WVU Student Nurses Association, social chair of the Chimes Junior Honorary Society and secretary of Mortar Board Senior Honorary Society, among others. Reiser is a Milan Puskar Leadership Scholar and creator of the Student Nurses Association Peer Mentor program recently featured in the WVU School of Nursing Alumni Magazine.
Following a clinical rotation in the oncology unit of Ruby Memorial Hospital in 2013, she quickly developed a passion for this patient population. The following year, he worked as a summer nurse technician and extern in the bone marrow transplant unit at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and she currently works as a clinical associate in Orthopedics at Ruby Memorial Hospital. In her spare time she shadows nurses in the WVU Healthcare Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.
She completed a literature review entitled “Acupressure in Symptom Management: A Call for Further Seva Stress Protocol Research” in 2014, and, to augment her research, she is currently implementing a pilot study on the oncology and bone marrow transplant units at WVU Healthcare to evaluate the Seva Stress Release protocol in relieving symptoms. She hopes to expand upon her undergraduate work during her doctoral capstone by facilitating the expansion of nursing practice to include specific acupressure protocols.
In 2013, she traveled abroad to study in Santander, Spain, at the Universidad Internacional Menendez Palayo.
“This incredible institution has provided me with more travel, exploration and growth than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “There is no doubt that this institution has created a strong base upon which I can continue to build throughout further endeavors.”
After graduating with a BSN and earning her RN license, she intends to work as a nurse for bone marrow transplant patients while pursuing a doctorate of nursing practice with an oncology specialty to become an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.
Ogaga Urhie, an Honors College student from Lagos, Nigeria, will graduate with a degree in biology and a minor in economics. He is a member of the Neuroscience Club, Chair of the WVU Mortar Board’s Dr. Seuss Committee and a previous member of the WVU Student Health Advisory Board and WVU Honors Student Association, among others. Urhie volunteers as a Gold and Blue Student Ambassador and he serves on various other committees and organizations in the Morgantown community. He tutors student-athletes at the WVU Student-Athlete Academic Center and he is a Student Support Services tutor.
Urhie conducted research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute for Neuroscience in 2013, and in 2014 he decided to extend his behavioral sensory neuroscience research as his honors thesis. His research focused on training mice to discriminate between textures using only their whiskers and was conducted in the lab of Dr. Aric Agmon at the WVU Sensory Neuroscience Research Center. He has volunteered in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital, and he has shadowed various WVU Healthcare physicians.
“In high school, I developed an idealist view of the world and tried to set myself apart as an ‘elite,’” he said. “However, I have come to realize that my former view of the world was not only impractical but also detrimental to my productivity. While at WVU, one of the virtues I came to hold dear is the enhancement of one’s productivity, which I believe happens best as others enhance their productivity in concert. From my time here, I will attest that it is to WVU’s credit that my new world-view is a result of its dedication to its students.”
Urhie has received the Presidential Award for Excellence and various scholarships such as the Office of International Students and Scholars Tuition Merit Award and the WVU Eberly Scholar.
He will attend WVU School of Medicine in the fall and hopes to become a neurosurgeon.
The remaining 37 WVU Outstanding Seniors are as follows:
• Olivia Albrighton-Vanway; Parkersburg, West Virginia
• Derek Andreini; Wheeling, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Kathryn Baker; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Curtiss Boggs; Keyser, West Virginia
• Emily Brewer; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Alexandra Connelly; South Bend, Indiana
• Christianne Connelly; Elkview, West Virginia
• Michelle Corder; Wheeling, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Clayton Davis; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Ali El-Khatib; Hurricane, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Taylor Federchook; Billerica, Massachusetts (Honors College)
• Natalie Geise; Allentown, Pennsylvania (Honors College)
• Tesia Gregg; Colorado Springs, Colorado (Honors College)
• Carol Hinke; Leesburg, Virginia (Honors College)
• Daniel Knight; Wheeling, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Kaylee Kuzma; Waterford, Pennsylvania
• Camille Leon; Fairmont, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Jordan Lovejoy; Pineville, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Madison Meadows; Beckley, West Virginia
• Ashley Morgan; Hillard, Ohio
• Cassandra Orndorff; Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (Honors College)
• David Palley; Walnut Creek, California
• Jessica Patterson; Wheeling, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Maren Prediger; Petersaurach, Germany
• Holly Purpura; Wheeling, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Karen Ralph; Jamestown, New York
• Daniel Ridenour; Smithsburg, Maryland (Honors College)
• Jessica Rubino; Downingtown, Pennsylvania (Honors College)
• Kathleen Schessler; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Christine Snyder; Scott Depot, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Kari Still; Alderson, West Virginia
• Michael Sustar; Independence, Ohio
• Michael Urban; Sissonville, West Virginia
• Haily VandePoel; Holland, Michigan
• Morgan Villers; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Cassandra Waisanen; Springfield, Virginia (Honors College)
• Kelly Williams; Chesterland, Ohio
CONTACT: David Stewart; Division of Student Life
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