WVU's top seniors honored with 2016 Order of Augusta, Outstanding Seniors award

Picture of Nicholas Ohi.

Nicholas Ohi (kneeling).

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—

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 42 students who have been named WVU Foundation’s Outstanding Seniors.

“The achievements of these students are truly remarkable,” said David Stewart, selection committee chair and WVU’s associate vice president for international student life and global services. “Not only do they have outstanding academic records, but they have taken full advantage of the many opportunities WVU provides for its students. These students will make a difference in the world and WVU is proud to award them the Order of Augusta.”

Provost Joyce McConnell shares Stewart’s excitement about the students who have been awarded both honors.

“At West Virginia University, the administration, faculty and staff are all committed to our students’ success,” McConnell said. It’s why we do what we do. These young people’s accomplishments are both humbling and inspiring.”

Established in 1995, the Outstanding Seniors award recognizes students for their scholarship, leadership and service. 
The Order of Augusta honors the superior scholarship, demonstrated leadership and community and public service of a select few of these exceptional students. 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.

Both the Outstanding Seniors and the new members of the Order of Augusta students will be honored at a ceremony on May 12 at the Erickson Alumni Center.

The 2016 Order of Augusta scholars are:

Trevor Butcher, an Honors College student from Hollywood, Maryland, will graduate with a degree in chemistry. As an incoming freshman, he had already performed research at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and was a recipient of the American Chemical Society High Honors in the 2011-2012 National Chemistry Olympiad.

Butcher has maintained a 4.0 while enrolled in advanced and graduate-level chemistry courses. He has also been actively engaged in research throughout his undergraduate career. He has been awarded a NASA Space Consortium Research Grant, a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, an Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, and the Northern West Virginia Section American Chemical Society Award.

In 2015, Butcher was chosen as an Amgen Scholar, under the auspices of which he conducted research at the University of California, Berkeley. Butcher published the results of his work at Berkeley in Angewandte Chemie, one of the most prestigious chemical research journals in the world.

“It is the dedicated faculty, exceptional coursework, and plethora of undergraduate research opportunities at WVU that have made my experience here so valuable,” said Butcher. “I believe my experiences at WVU have prepared me to pursue my Ph.D. in organic chemistry and ultimately enabled me to make significant contributions to pharmacology and the drug discovery process.”

Joshua Childs, an Honors College student from Morgantown, will graduate with degrees in political science and history. He is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, president of Phi Alpha Theta and treasurer of the UNICEF Campus Initiative.

Childs has maintained a 4.0 while engaging in rigorous coursework and a host of service projects. He is particularly proud of his leadership role in creating the Undergraduate Research Program within the Department of History.

In 2015, he studied abroad at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, where he also volunteered at Lynedoch Primary School. Childs has traveled to Kodak, Tennessee and Buena Vista, Virginia, as a member of the UNICEF Campus Initiative to provide health and medical care to low-income rural communities. He has also been a volunteer with the Monongalia County chapter of Habit for Humanity since he was 14.

In June 2014, Childs served as a student intern with the Office of U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller in Washington, D.C. He currently organizes Rockefeller’s archive at West Virginia & Regional History Collection, West Virginia University Libraries.

He is the recipient of the Eberly Scholarship, James F. Dent Political Science Award, Robert E. DiClerico Scholarship, and Biafora Dean’s Leadership award.

“Though it was through the extracurricular activities that I have discovered my passion for public service and my drive to work in the housing development field, I firmly believe that my academic work here at WVU has sufficiently prepared me to be successful in my future endeavors,” said Childs. “The value of my WVU experience cannot be measured in terms of dollars, awards, or achievements.

In October, he will begin working on a master’s degree in development studies at the University of Cambridge in England.

Hannah Clipp, an Honors College student from Bel Air, Maryland, will graduate with degrees in wildlife and fisheries and  multidisciplinary studies. She is a founding member and president of the Society for Conversation Biology, vice president of the WVU Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society and a member of the American Fisheries Society.

She works as a wildlife technician with the WVU School of Natural Resources and as a student researcher in the WVU Environmental Research Center. In 2014, she was selected to join the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Kansas State University. In 2015, she interned at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington.

Clipp has been awarded 40 scholarships and in the spring of 2015, she became the first student in WVU history to be awarded both the Goldwater and Udall Scholarships. In the same year, she was one of three WVU students to be named a Truman Scholarship finalist.

She has published several papers for scientific journals, has presented her research at several conferences, maintained a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average and will graduate as a Presidential Honors Scholar and WVU Eberly Scholar.

“My undergraduate experience has been invaluable,” said Clipp. “Through my experience at WVU, I have grown from a timid, quiet freshman who didn’t know much about wildlife to a confident leader who is well-prepared for graduate school and a future career.”

After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in wildlife ecology and eventually earn her Ph.D. in wildlife biology conservation.

Amanda Hill, from Washington, Pennsylvania, will graduate with degrees in exercise physiology and animal and nutritional sciences and a minor in sports and exercise psychology.

She is a member of the WVU women’s soccer team and was team captain her junior and senior years. She has served as a dog handler with Hearts of Gold since 2013 and volunteers her time to animal medicine at Cheat Lake Animal Hospital and the Avian Conservation of the Appalachia.

Hill began undergraduate school as a physical therapy major but a service dog training course in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design made such an impact that she changed her major to veterinary medicine. Soon after recognizing the positive impact that service dogs have on veterans and individuals with disabilities who rely on them, she was inspired to incorporate animals into her career.

Hill is the recipient of the Blue and Gold Academic Scholarship and the Louretta Beall and Earle L. Elmore Scholarship and is a member of the Academic All-American First Team.

“I am eternally grateful for WVU and its faculty who have helped me put my interest in medicine, love of animals and my commitment to help other into action,” said Hill. “I have discovered my true passion for working with animals and found a career that I believe I will look forward to waking up to every day in the future.”

After graduation, Hill will begin pursuing a master’s degree in animal physiology at WVU and upon completion of the program, she plans to attend veterinary school with the goal of non-profit work specific to service dogs.

Clara Beth Novotny, an Honors College student from Falling Waters, will graduate with a degree in biochemistry and world languages, literature, and linguistics in Spanish. She is a member of Sigma Delta Pi Honorary Delta Chapter, Phi Lambda Upsilon Honorary Tau Chapter, and the West Virginia University Mountain Honorary of Student Leaders, among others.

She has worked as a teaching assistant in the Biology Department and as a laboratory assistant in the WVU Reproductive Immunology and Molecular Biology Lab where she participated in the research and development of a new form of contraception using a protein found in turmeric.

Novotny has traveled to impoverished communities of Honduras twice, including her trip in 2013 as a healthcare volunteer with the WVU Global Medical Brigades to assist and translate for U.S. doctors performing dental and gynecological exams in mobile health clinics. This particular experience inspired her to pursue a global medicine career seeking long-term solutions to healthcare challenges including affordable medicines and language barriers. Novotny has also volunteered with the WVU School of Medicine’sMUSHROOM Project to provide medical attention to Morgantown’s homeless.

She has had two opportunities to study abroad in Spain where she studied the differences between the Spanish and American healthcare systems and took classes in medical interpretation and translation.

She has been on the President’s List every semester since her freshman year. She is a recipient of the Foundation Scholarship, was a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, and will graduate as a Presidential Honors Scholar.

“My time at WVU has been the happiest, richest, and most fulfilling years of my life,” said Novotny. “I approach graduation confident that I am prepared to be a successful medical student and a well-developed human of the world. I am honored and grateful to have attended this university, and I will be forever proud to be a Mountaineer.”

Novotny will attend the WVU School of Medicine in the fall, and ultimately she hopes to work as a physician and scientist to improve the efficacy and availability of reproductive health care in developing and developed countries alike.

Nicholas Ohi, an Honors College member from Morgantown, will graduate with degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He serves as the lead programmer for the WVU Robotics team and the navigation system for NASA’s STF-1 CubeSat, a real-life spacecraft developed entirely in West Virginia.

Ohi volunteers as a robotics mentor for local high school students and an instructor for middle school students and youth enrolled in 4-H camps. He is also a member of Friends of Deckers Creek, where he received the Presidential Service Award for performing water quality sampling and monitoring to restore fishing and swimming to Deckers Creek in Monongahela and Preston Counties.

His most significant undergraduate leadership role has been serving as the lead programmer on the WVU robot Cataglyphis, built and programmed by the WVU robotics team to compete in the NASA Centennial Sample Return Challenge.

In 2014, WVU robotics was the first team to successfully complete Level 1 of the Sample Return Robot Challenge, which qualified them to return the following year to compete at Level 2. In 2015, WVU’s robot was the first and only robot to successfully complete Level 2 in the competition’s four-year history, bringing home a victory and $100,000 check. The team donated their award as seed money to start a robotics engineering scholarship at WVU.

He has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average, has received numerous scholarships, is an active member of several honor societies, and has spent two summers as an intern with the NASA IV&V Facility in Fairmont.

“My WVU undergraduate experience has written an indelible chapter of my life. The knowledge, experiences, and memories that I gained as a Mountaineer form a kind of “bank account” that I will be able to draw on and benefit from for the rest of my life,” said Ohi.

Ohi plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at WVU.

Stephen Scott, an Honors College student from Shepherdstown, will graduate with degrees in political science and multidisciplinary studies in communication studies, history and leadership studies. He is the vice president of the Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, vice president of the Mountaineer Tutoring Network and a peer leadership instructor in the Honors College, among various other student leadership roles on campus.

Elected to the Student Government Association Board of Governors for two consecutive years, his platform addressed student well-being through tutoring, retention, and initiatives to improve the student success of underrepresented groups. This experience propelled his interest in intersecting higher education and law.

As a certified tutor in the Honors College, he has worked collaboratively with the academic learning centers to produce tutoring initiatives such as the Final Countdown and ACES. He is a co-founder of the Mountaineer Tutoring Network and serves as a mentor for the National Tutoring Association, tasked with training tutors in the testWELL Learning Center. He also serves as an undergraduate researcher in the WVU Department of History.

“WVU has allowed me to learn about my role in society, to aspire for excellence, and to empower fellow first-generation, African American college students to make a difference,” said Scott. “My coursework and institutional involvement has enabled me to further expand my ideas of leadership and begin tackling college accessibility, retention and social mobility issues.” 
Scott will graduate as a Presidential Honor Scholar and will attend law school at WVU in the fall.

Matthew Spearly, a member of the Honors College from Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, will graduate with degrees in international studies and criminology with a minor in Spanish. He is a WVU Symphony Orchestra upright bass performer and was selected as chair of communications for the WVU Symphony Orchestra.

Spearly recently took the lead on the Inside-Out Prison Exchange project at the Hazelton Federal Corrections Complex, a program where WVU students and inmates worked collaboratively to study the field of criminology. The group designed a research council to analyze and address problems in the community and implement outreach programs. The proposal, presented by Spearly, was approved by Federal Bureau of Prisons.

He has volunteered with Fundación CEOLI (Center for Educational and Vocational Preparation for the Disabled) and the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living where he led a project to make recommendations to lawmakers about increasing accessibility to voting facilities for impaired individuals. He also served as a Policy Intern with U.S. Department of the Interior Office of International Affairs.

In 2014, he won a literature award for the best Spanish language fiction composition, Menénde while studying abroad at Pelayo International University in Santander, Spain. In 2015, he studied abroad in Cochabamba, Bolivia, with Amizade. He is also the recipient of the WVU Eberly Scholar award, John Ransel Romine ‘44 Award in Political Science, and Ron Althouse Honorary Scholarship, among others.

“A valuable aspect of my WVU undergraduate experience has been the accessibility and approachability of the professors and faculty- especially for a large institution,” he said. “Numerous times, my professors have inspired and encouraged me to pursue opportunities that I otherwise would not have considered.”

He will graduate as a Presidential Honors Scholar, and following graduation, he would like to work as a public servant in the foreign policy arena.

The remaining 34 WVU Outstanding Seniors are as follows:
• Savanah Alberts; Shepherdstown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Marshall Amores; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College) 
• Katelyn Bustin; Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Honors College)
• Jordan Carter; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Thomas Casto; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Felistia Crowder; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Eric Dorfner; Wheeling, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Christopher Doss; Shepherdstown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Tessa Dutko; Martinsburg, West Virginia 
• Janine Ernsting; Kearneysville, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Ryan Hart; Gassaway, West Virginia
• Caitlin Hassan; Bluefield, West Virginia 
• Donald Hatheway; Erie, Pennsylvania (Honors College)
• Pranav Jain; Fairmont, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Sarah Kennedy; Smithfield, Pennsylvania (Honors College)
• Ashley Leslie; Martinsburg, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Andrew Maloney; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Tess McCloud; Bluefield, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Heidi Meyer; Pocono Mountain, Pennsylvania 
• Obadah Moushmoush; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Brady Nolan; Reader, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Kathleen (Katie) O’Connell; Wellsburg, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Michael Phillips; Coalton, West Virginia (Honors College) 
• Nima Ronaghi; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Kayla Rowsey; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Yasamin Samadi; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Hannah Shreve; Charleston, West Virginia
• Alexandria Shumiloff; Daybrook, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Rebecca Speer; Shippensburg, Pennsylvania (Honors College)
• Evan Stalnaker; Morgantown, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Kaitlin Stricker; Charleston, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Sarah Verdis; Pleasant Valley, New York 
• Brendan Wilson; Oak Hill, West Virginia (Honors College)
• Joshua Zegeer; Charleston, West Virginia

-WVU-

ta/04/10/16

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:

Email: EngineeringWV@mail.wvu.edu

Phone contacts:
College Relations office: 304-293-4086
Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157
Other College administrative and department offices: Administration

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