West Virginia University has announced the finalists for the prestigious honor of Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer 2016. The award recognizes students’ exemplary academic achievement and extracurricular involvement.

Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer are a part of Mountaineer Week, which kicks off Friday (Oct. 28) and runs through Sunday (Nov. 6). After an interview in front of the Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer selection committee, one male and one female finalist will be named Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer at the Saturday (Nov. 5) WVU football game vs. Kansas at Milan Puskar Stadium.

All applicants must be eligible for graduation by May 2016 to be considered.

Mr. Mountaineer finalists are: Jake Byrne; Dillon Muhly-Alexander; Andrew Sutherland; Layne Veneri and Josh Watson.

Ms. Mountaineer finalists are: Shelby Boggs; Julie Peng; Abby Roberts; Samantha Shimer and Janelle Vickers.

Mr. Mountaineer

Jake Byrne from Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania is a senior public relations major. He is a Reed College of Media Honors scholar and serves as a student ambassador and teaching assistant in the Reed College. Byrne is the vice president of the WVU Public Relations Student Society of America, a member of the National Collegiate Honor Society and volunteers his time as a WVU Visitors Center student tour guide. He is sponsored by the Reed College of Media.

Dillon Muhly-Alexander from Bridgeport is a senior international studies and political science dual major and a member of the Honors College. He is a Foundation Scholar and president of Our Children, Our Future WVU Student Chapter and the WVU Young Democrats. Muhly-Alexander worked in the Senate President’s Office of the West Virginia Legislature as a Judith Herndon Fellow and interned with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. He also had the opportunity to study abroad in Nicaragua, The Hague, and Timor-Leste. He is sponsored by the ASPIRE Office.

Andrew Sutherland from Alexandria, Virginia is a graduate student in communication theory and research. He is a member of the WVU Student Government Association, Alpha Phi Omega and student researcher in the Peggy Rardin McConnell Program. Sutherland is the recipient of the Excellence in Community Engagement Award and WVU SGA Executive of the Year 2015-16. He is sponsored by the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

Layne Veneri from Princeton is a senior biology major and member of the Honors College. He is the recipient of the WVU Eberly College Scholar award and Dean’s Honors Scholar. He serves as a peer mentor in the WVU Honors College, WVU University Relations social media ambassador, and member of Students Optimistic for Curing Kids. He has also made both the President’s List and Dean’s List three times while at WVU. Veneri is sponsored by WVU Students Optimistic for Curing Kids.

Josh Watson from Morgantown is a senior industrial engineering major and member of the Honors College. He is the president of Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society, SGA communications director, and former SGA Board of Governors member. He serves as a college ambassador in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and has served three terms as the secretary of the WVU Engineers Without Borders. Watson is sponsored by WVU Engineers Without Borders.

Ms. Mountaineer

Shelby Boggs from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania is a senior double majoring in psychology and criminology and member of the Honors College. She is the recipient of the McNair and Karen Logue-Ingle Psychology Memorial scholarships. She is a member of the Psi Chi National Psychology Honors Society, has been named to the President’s List, and was the recipient of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Program internship. Boggs is sponsored by the WVU Department of Psychology.

Julie Peng from Hurricane is a senior chemical engineering major minoring in leadership studies and member of the Honors College. She is the Society of Women Engineers historian and former vice president, and is a Foundation Scholar. Peng is also a West Virginia University Cru Bible study leader, has traveled to Patagonia with Adventure WV and as served as an undergraduate research scientist in Changchun, China. She is sponsored by Cru at WVU.

Abby Roberts from Yorktown, Virginia is a second year graduate student in sport management. She is the graduate assistant for WVU Alumni Association, president of Gold and Blue Crew, special events director for the Mountaineer Maniacs, treasurer for the Graduate Sport Management Club. Roberts also received the WVU Reed College of Media Outstanding Academic Senior Award. Roberts is sponsored by the Gold and Blue Crew.

Samantha Shimer from Parkersburg is a senior international studies major and member of the Honors College. She is a McNair Scholar, 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholarship finalist, WVU Title IX Peer Advocate, member of the WVU Council for Women’s Concerns, and student ambassador in the Eberly College. Shimer is sponsored by the ASPIRE Office.

Janelle Vickers from Moundsville is a senior literary and cultural studies and communication studies dual major and a member of the Honors College. She is the recipient of the Bucklew Scholarship and Eberly Scholarships, and has served as an intern with the Shakespeare Globe New Zealand. Vickers is a research assistant with the West Virginia Dialect Project and serves as a volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is sponsored by the Undergraduate Communication Association.



CONTACT: Sonja Wilson, Mountainlair
304.293.2702; Sonja.Wilson@mail.wvu.edu

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