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Student Spotlight

Honors College students are representative of our bigger West Virginia University community — from 40 states and multiple countries, our students can be found in every college at the University. 

Each week during the school year, we choose a student to profile in our weekly email newsletter. Read more about some of our students below.

Joey Watkins

Joey Watkins headshot

Joey Watkins is a sophomore from Montoursville, PA majoring in Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics on the histotechnology track. He is a resident assistant at Honors Hall, an HONR 102 mentor, teaching assistant for Biology 115 courses, a member of WVU Beekeeping Club and a member of Mu Tau Honorary. In his spare time, Joey enjoys hiking, listening to music, attending WVU sporting events and hanging out with friends. His favorite memory from WVU has been going to the football games with his friends. After graduation, Joey hopes to continue his education in the pathologist assistant graduate program at WVU.

Avery Conner

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Avery Conner is a sophomore from Hedgesville, WV majoring in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy. She is an SGA at-large senator and chair of the Government Relations Committee, communications director of the Mountaineer Fentanyl Education Task Force, vice president of Active Minds, and a Campus Recreation employee. In her free time, she enjoys driving to see her nephews and nieces, working out, reading, going to WVU sports games, and hanging out with friends. Avery’s favorite memory from WVU is joining student organizations that have made her grow as a person and meet new people. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Juris Doctor degree and work to help communities around the country that have been affected by substance use disorders.

Landon Tucker

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Landon Tucker is a sophomore from Grafton, West Virginia majoring in International Studies with a minor in World Music. He has been involved in WVU’s Steel Band, WVU’s Japanese Taiko Drum Ensemble, WVU’s Hands of the World Ensemble, and as an orientation leader. In Landon’s spare time, he enjoys listening to all kinds of music, dancing in his room, spending time with his friends, and playing with his cat. His favorite memories from WVU include spending time with the friends he has made here, and how they always remind him to cherish the little things in life. After graduation, Landon plans to study Ethnomusicology.

Allison Ralston

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Allison Ralston is a junior majoring in Biology with an area of emphasis in the  WVUTeach Program. She is a member of the  American Association for Anatomy, does research at the Health Sciences Campus in Anatomical Variations through the  Research Apprenticeship Program and is a teaching assistant for 100- and 200-level Biology courses. In her free time, Allison enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, biking, running, and other outdoor activities. One of her favorite experiences at WVU has been with the  WVUTeach Program while going to local high schools to teach Biology to sophomores. After graduation, Allison plans on continuing her education by getting an education master's degree and then teaching biology and anatomy at a high school in West Virginia.

Raeanne Beckner

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Raeanne Beckner is a senior dual major in Journalism and Multidisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Political Science, Leadership and Women’s and Gender Studies from Bridgeport, West Virginia. She has interned for the  West Virginia Innocence Project, is an Eberly College Scholar, a  Milan Puskar Leadership Scholar, on WVU 2022 Homecoming Court, Managing Editor at The  Daily Athenaeum, Honors 102  Peer Mentor, Reed College of Media Ambassador, teaching assistant for Media Law and Ethics, teaching assistant for Leadership in Action,  PolitiFact contributor, New Student Orientation Leader and WVU Student Ambassador with the SCC (Student Call Center), Membership advisor for  Omega Phi Alpha national service sorority. Raeanne’s favorite thing about WVU is the people she has met because everyone is very friendly and helpful. After graduation, she plans on attending law school.

Kowsik Siva

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Kowsik Siva is a junior Exercise Physiology major from Parkersburg, West Virginia. He is a Peer Advisor Leader for the First Year Leadership Academy and a resident assistant at Oakland Hall. Kowsik is involved in the  WVU Remote Area Medical (RAM) club treasurer and  WVU Exercise Physiology Club member. He enjoys taking walks outside, singing and listening to music. His favorite WVU memory so far has been seeing others laughing and smiling with one another, because it helps him stay in a positive mood. After graduation, Kowsik plans on either going to medical school to become a doctor or to teach mathematics,

Izzy Kee

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Izzy Kee is a freshman Elementary Education major with a minor in Special Education from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the  Pride of WV Marching Band and  WVU PAWS. She enjoys watching movies and trying new foods. Her favorite memory at WVU so far is singing “Country Roads” with the band after the Townson win. After graduation, she hopes to stay in West Virginia and teach.

Ashley Bojanowski

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Ashley Bojanowski is a sophomore from Commerce, Michigan pursuing a major in Forensic Examination with a minor in Spanish. She is involved in the  Forensic and Investigative Sciences club, event coordinator of the  PAWS club, member of the  WVU Club Gymnastics team, member of the  Appalachian Prison Book Project and part of the  Mountaineer Maniacs. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, working out, gymnastics, basketball and hanging out with friends, family and her dog. Her favorite memory from WVU so far has been singing Country Roads with her friends at basketball games. After graduation, Ashley hopes to work for the FBI as a forensic examiner.

DaNaylee Long

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DaNaylee Long is from Hinton, West Virginia, majoring in immunology and medical microbiology. She is an Honors Ambassador, a member of the American Society for Microbiology Student Chapter, WVU Premed Club, Chi Alpha and participates in undergraduate research on acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her favorite WVU memory so far has been working with her peers in their microbiology colloquiums. Her hobbies include baking, kayaking, reading, studying history, golfing and cheering on the Yankees and the WVU Football team.

Lauren Dysart

Lauren Dysart Photo

Lauren Dysart is a sophomore Exercise Physiology major from Elkview, West Virginia. She is the new president of the  Honors Student Association, College Senator for the Health Sciences Center, and Country Line Dancing Club vice-president. Her favorite part of WVU so far has been joining Chi Omega and traveling with the Maniacs to away football games. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching movies and cooking for her friends. After graduation, she hopes to continue her education at WVU School of Medicine to become an OB-GYN. 

Hannah Koontz

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Hannah Koontz is a sophomore nursing major. She is involved in and a member of the Student Nurses' Association. Her favorite part of WVU so far has been attending Monday Night Lights and singing Country Roads on the football field. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and going shopping. After graduation she plans on pursuing a position in the Intensive Care Unit as a Registered Nurse at Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Taylor Flowers

Taylor Flowers photo with the Mountaineer

Taylor Flowers is a freshman Political Science major. She is involved in Army ROTC and hopes to join a few clubs. Her favorite part of WVU so far has been Welcome Week. "It was so cool to be able to make new friends wherever you went knowing that everyone had your same worries about being in a new place," Taylor said. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching movies and hiking. After graduation she hopes to serve as an active duty member of the Military Intelligence Branch of the Army.

Kaitlin Geric

Kaitlin Geric photo beside Lincoln Hall sign

Kaitlin Geric is a first-year Honors student considering a double-major in Hospitality and Marketing with a minor in Entrepreneurship. She is interested in joining Women in Business, A Moment of Magic, WVU PAWS and the Self-Love Club, but is taking her time getting adjusted to college life. Her favorite memory so far at WVU was the Honors Retreat where she got to meet and learn about so many new people! She enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, being active, meeting new people and having fun. After graduation she hopes to get a sustaining career in business where she has the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.

Josh Harman

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Josh Harman is a senior and a political science and psychology double major with a minor in Spanish. He is a member of the Mortar Board, worker at BookHolders, former RA of Oakland Hall, and former Senator in the Student Government Association. In his spare time, Josh likes to read and spend time outdoors with his friends. His favorite WVU memory was riding scooters around Baltimore's Inner Harbor through a trip that he took with the Honors College. After graduation, he plans to take a gap year to continue working at BookHolders while he prepares to take the LSAT and go to law school.

Raimah Hossain

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Raimah Hossain is an Honors senior majoring in biomedical engineering. She was previously the inclusion coordinator for the Student Government Association, and over the past two years served as alumni, marketing, and PR co-coordinator, and Make the Magic co-coordinator for Camp Kesem at WVU, an organization that provides a free summer camp to children whose families have been impacted by cancer. She was also selected as a 2020 TEDxWVU speaker, where she gave a talk on her experiences as a first-generation American and the commodification of marginalized individuals' struggles. She served as chief engineer for her biomedical engineering senior design project. She has represented the Honors College as an Honors Ambassador for the past three years.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, makeup, and listening to music. Her favorite memory at WVU was being crowned as 2021 Homecoming Royalty, particularly the experience of campaigning, which allowed her to incorporate aspects of her Bangladeshi heritage into her campaign.

"Seeing the support of that from the WVU and greater Morgantown community meant the world to me because I have spent so much of my life grappling with that part of my identity," Raimah said. "Most importantly, it made me realize how grateful I am for all of my friends and my support systems because I could not have accomplished it without them."

After graduation, she will be attending the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health to pursue a Master of Public Health, focusing on health equity, social justice, and human rights. She hopes to combine this experience with her biomedical engineering degree to help eliminate health disparities in communities of color.

Kayla Guyton

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Kayla Guyton is a freshman from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania majoring in  marketing and management information systems with a minor in  communications. She is vice president of professionalism for Delta Sigma Pi, a member of Women in Business, First-Year Leadership Academy, WVU Paws and the Neidermeyer Scholar Program. She works at the Student Recreation Center. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys spending time with her friends and family, learning her coursework, shopping, traveling, and being involved on campus. Her favorite memory at WVU so far has been joining Delta Sigma Pi and meeting some of her best friends. After graduation, Kayla plans on moving to a city in the south to pursue a career with digital marketing.

Bridget Eileen Stephan

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Bridget Eileen Stephan (right) is an Honors accounting major and finance minor. She is a Neidermeyer Scholar and will be a Lead Neidermeyer Scholar next year. She is involved in several organizations on campus. She is a brother of Delta Sigma Pi and was recently elected as vice president of pledge education for next year.  She is also a member of Women in Business. This summer, she is really excited to work as an audit intern for EY. 

In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, hiking, going to the gym and making food for herself and others. Her favorite WVU memory is when her older brothers and sisters-in-law came to town for a football game because all of her favorite people were in one place (and WVU won the game)! After graduation, she hopes to continue to work for EY and eventually go to law school.

Aidan Priest

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Aidan Priest is a sophomore Honors student from Baldwinsville, New York, double-majoring in finance and accounting in the Chambers College. In his free time, he enjoys being involved in a variety of student organizations, hiking, being outdoors and traveling. He serves as a tour guide on campus, vice president of alumni relations for Delta Sigma Pi, vice president of Mountaineer Guides, a member of MountaineerThon, a member of the Sales & Pitch Competition Team and a volunteer lector for Trinity Episcopal Church. His favorite memory at WVU is being a part of the Mountaineer Cheer-Off. He said as someone vying to be the first out-of-state Mountaineer, the opportunity to wear a past Mountaineers' buck skins, carry a musket and represent the state and University with so much pride for just one game was surreal. After graduation, he plans to get involved in corporate finance and hopefully turn his internship with Eaton Corporation into a full-time career. Outside of his career, he plans to find the area that he thinks best fits his future, whether that is back near his home in Syracuse, in West Virginia, or somewhere new. He thinks students new to WVU should know that everyone is new here and is trying to build their identity. There are so many changes in college. It is okay to explore and embrace sides of yourself you haven't before.

Falon Snodgrass

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Falon Snodgrass is a double major in French and international studies with minors in geography and journalism. She is the layout designer for the Daily Athenaeum, student outreach coordinator for FIRSTHAND Cooperative, and a Model United Nations delegate. Falon enjoys the outdoors, crocheting, traveling and seeing live music in her free time. Her favorite memory at WVU was Sustainable Development Day this past fall in the CRC where she met a lot of friends. After graduation, she plans to serve in the Peace Corps in either the agriculture or education sector. Once her service is complete, she ultimately plans to work for a Non-Governmental Organization or nonprofit organization that supports sustainable and equitable development. 

Aidan McGraw

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Aidan McGraw is a  third-year biology student with an emphasis in genomics and a psychology  minor. Her favorite memory at WVU has been being a part of Beta Psi Omega, where she serves as historian for the professional biology fraternity. She says all of the members are very close and they always have a good time.  She has also served as an Honors College mentor for two years and works off campus at Terra Cafe. She loves doing yoga, latte art, and spending time with her dog. After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school for genetic counseling and pursuing a PhD.  She thinks that students should appreciate the importance of meeting new people. Your classmates, professors, and coworkers are all essential to networking. Having a network to help you is essential to your success as a student. 

Elizabeth Rockwell

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Elizabeth Rockwell is a senior in the Honors EXCEL program. She is double majoring in music and women and gender studies with a minor in World Music. In her free time, she loves to read, watch TV comedies, play with her dog, and does a wide variety of arts and crafts. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for musicology and eventually get her PhD to teach at a university and continue research in her field. On campus, she is the chapter president of Sigma Alpha Iota, a member of the WVU Percussion Coalition, Steel Band, and a WVU College of Creative Arts Ambassador. Off campus, she is the percussion coordinator for the Albert Gallatin High School, front ensemble instructor for the University High School and a member of the Mountaineer Musicological Community. Her favorite memory at WVU was traveling with the percussion department to Switzerland in 2019 over spring break. They had the opportunity to spend eight days in Basel and observe a traditional music festival called Fasnacht. She thinks it is important for student to make the most of their degree and to not be afraid to try new things.

Olivia Dowler

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Olivia Dowler is an Honors sophomore triple-majoring in history, Spanish, and philosophy. She is currently involved all over campus. She serves as the president pro tempore in the WVU Student Government Association, as well as the president of Students for Reproductive Justice, treasurer for Active Minds at WVU and social media manager for WVU Women in Law. She is also a member of the Global Medical and Dental Brigades, Mountaineer Guides, Women in Government and Politics, and the Honors LGBTQ+ and Allies Affinity Group. Olivia also works as a New Student Orientation leader and a tour guide. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, watching Netflix and eating Mexican food. Her favorite memory at WVU so far has been giving a TEDxWVU talk and campaigning for the Student Government Association during her freshman year. One day, she hopes to get a JD as well as a PhD in history to become a human rights attorney and eventually teach American history at the collegiate level.

Hannah Nieman

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Hannah Nieman is an Honors sophomore advertising and PR major with a minor in interactive design for media. This semester, she is a social media intern for the WV Black Bears. She is also an Honors 102 mentor, a member of the WVU Band and a member of Sigma Alpha Iota. She enjoys crafting, reading and playing video games in her free time. Her favorite memory at WVU is running out of the tunnel for pregame for the first home game this season. After graduation, she hopes to work with brands to use social media in new and innovative ways.

Maddux Testa

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Maddux Testa is a first-year Honors mechanical and aerospace engineering student from Mountain Top, PA. He participates in undergraduate research under Dr. Kevin Bandura in the WVU Radio Astronomy Instrumentation Lab and is a learning assistant in the Department of Mathematics for the math 126/106 team. In his spare time, he is an avid music listener, enjoys collecting records, plays guitar and writes music for his band, and also enjoys spending time working out. His favorite memory at WVU is going to local store Modern Throwback with his friend Hayden. His dream career path is with NASA, hopefully playing a part in sending a human to Mars.

Sonia Ndifon

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Sonia Ndifon is an Honors junior majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in general business and communication studies. She is a Resident Assistant, and Ambassador for the Statler College, secretary for the WVU African Student Association, and a tutor, both privately in Statler College and with Mindfit. She also volunteers for the Appalachian Prison Book Project, WVU Medicine, and the Mon Health Medical Center. Sonia is involved in biomedical engineering research through the Honors EXCEL program. In her spare time, she enjoys binge-watching Netflix shows, reading books, going on hikes, and spending time with her friends. Her favorite memory of WVU so far has been going to basketball games with her friends and singing "Country Roads" after a win. After graduation, Sonia hopes to go on to medical school to get her medical degree and serve her community through medicine. In the long-term, Sonia would love to get more involved in global health.

Wenjuan Gu

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Wenjuan Gu is an Honors junior biochemistry major with minors in statistics and leadership studies. She has extensive experience teaching and tutoring, and has worked as a teaching assistant for biology, chemistry and tutoring classes, and tutored for Mindfit. She is currently a tutor with the testWELL Learning Center. Off campus, she is involved with the American Red Cross and Remote Area Medical, a major nonprofit provider of free pop-up clinics. In her spare time, Wenjuan likes to kickbox, hike with friends, complete Sudoku puzzles, sketch, and visit art museums. Her favorite memory at WVU is going to basketball games with her friends - she loves the atmosphere at the games! After graduation, Wenjuan says she hopes to go on to tackle medical school to become a physician. Her long-term goal is to have her own practice with a program to aid patients financially on a need-basis.

Suraya Boggs

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Suraya Boggs is a first-year undecided major who is interested in biology and sociology. She is the public relations committee chair for the WVU NAACP, dealing with social justice issues and educating students on campus about how they can help. She is part of the Honors Students of Color Affinity group and also likes to do community service activities around campus. In the summer, she works with a local food pantry in her hometown of Spencer, WV, to collect nonperishable food and distribute it to people in need. She also works summers as a student mentor with the SOLE (Student Opportunities for Learning and Engagement) program for kids pre-K through eighth grade. In her spare time, she likes to crochet, hang out with friends, and go to cafes. Her favorite memory at WVU so far has been meeting some of her best friends and laughing with them for hours on end in their dorm rooms, or just studying in each other's company. After graduation, she want to go to graduate school for biology or sociology. 

William Irwin

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William Irwin is an Honors junior majoring in landscape architecture and multidisciplinary studies. In their free time, they enjoy spending time helping as a Student Ambassador where they are able to give prospective students an idea of the atmosphere of the WVU Davis College and the University as a whole. They are also involved in the WVU Student Government Association and the Horticulture Club. They love to go on walks around Morgantown, spend time drawing, and attend community events on and off campus. Their favorite thing about WVU has been being able to find a niche where they are comfortable and feel affirmed. After graduation, they hope to continue pursuing landscape architecture and eventually become a designer.

Jamie Yoder

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Jamie Yoder is an Honors junior sport management major and law & legal studies minor. Jamie is an RA at Oakland Hall. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, exploring new things with friends, and watching sports, including football, hockey and basketball. She is a Mountaineer Maniac, a 4-H club member both with WVU and her home club, a member of the WVU Health Sciences & Technology Academy Alumni and Ambassadors clubs, a WVU Sport Management Club member, and an intern with WVU Athletics Ticketing. Her favorite memory at WVU so far has been watching WVU Football beat Virginia Tech. After she graduates, Jamie hopes to go to the WVU College of Law.

Sydney Tuttle

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Sydney Tuttle is a freshman Honors student from Berkeley Springs, WV. She is majoring in elementary education and minoring in childhood development and family studies. In her free time, she enjoys going to the Student Recreation Center, playing volleyball, and drawing. Her favorite memory at West Virginia University has been watching the Mountaineer volleyball games.

Charlie Long

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Charlie Long is a freshman Honors student from Charleston, WV. He is majoring in political science and plans to become a lawyer. He is a member of the College Democrats of West Virginia University and is the social media manager and historian for the Honors Student Association. He enjoys spending his free time playing the piano, kayaking, and reading nonfiction books. His favorite WVU memory so far has been rehearsing with the School of Music's Steel Band Ensemble on Wednesday nights. His dream is to attend Harvard Law School after he finishes his undergraduate degree.