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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.

Rachel Morris

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Through Honors EXCEL, Rachel Morris has found a way to connect her love for drawing and scientific research. Her project centers on creating scientific illustrations to supplement her lab work with Tsetse flies. She hopes her work will serve as an additional science communication tool, making tsetse flies more accessible to a wider range of audiences.

Tayler Pillo

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Tayler Pillo is a sophomore majoring in journalism with a minor in law and legal studies from Jefferson County, West Virginia. She is the WVUBelieveThem social chair, a part of the Mountaineer Fentanyl Education Task Force, and a Reed College of Media College senator-elect. In her free time, Tayler enjoys crocheting, thrifting, and photography. Her favorite memory from WVU is joining student organizations which really helped her develop as a person and find a home within the WVU community. After graduation, Tayler hopes to attend law school and start a photography business on the side. 

Jack Giobbia

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Jack Giobbia is a sophomore from Chicago majoring in Aerospace Engineering. He is a part of the Club Golf Team and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In his free time, Jack enjoys going to the gym, fishing, and snowboarding. So far, his favorite WVU memory has been the First Year Adventure Trip.

Clayton Hammond

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Clayton Hammond is a freshman from Bridgeport majoring in finance and accounting. He is the Secretary of the Student Investment Club and is involved in volunteering at the Arboretum. In his free time, Clayton enjoys lifting, hiking, playing Pokémon, and hanging out with friends. So far, his favorite WVU memory has been the First Year Adventure Trip.

Kellsey Savage

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Kellsey Savage is a sophomore marketing major with an economics and data analytics minor from Augusta, WV. She is the Instagram manager of Mirage Magazine, vice president of WVU DECA, Chamber’s College Peer Mentor, member of WVU Women in Business, and a member of WVU American Marketing Association. Her hobbies include fashion, art, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with friends. Kellsey’s favorite memory from WVU has been meeting some of her best friends. After graduation, she plans on becoming a market research analyst.

Norah Chase

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Norah Chase is a freshman marketing major with minors in professional sales and history from Morgantown. She is a member of the American Marketing Association. Norah enjoys spending time with friends, traveling, attending sports games, and always trying to learn something new. Her favorite WVU memory is watching her sister graduate in December 2022. After graduation, Norah plans on working toward a master's degree in marketing in hopes of landing a job with a luxury brand.

Stella Peterson

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Stella Peterson is a sophomore advertising and public relations major from Philadelphia. She is a member of the WVU Quizbowl Club and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. In her free time, Stella enjoys watching movies, crocheting and spending time with animals. Her favorite WVU memory is going to Monday Night Lights her freshman year and hearing everyone sing Country Roads. After graduation, she would like to work in the field of political public relations, hopefully as a lobbyist.

Rachel Gobrecht

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Rachel Gobrecht is a nursing major whose capstone project lead to playground improvements in Marion County, West Virginia, to increase childhood exercise. The Northern Virginia native researched how to make physical activities more interactive and discovered an app called Biba. The app features mobile games that turn screen time into outdoor play. Rachel presented the concept to the Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission and the technology will be installed at East Marion Park this spring. Read the full story.

Emma LaBombard

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Emma LaBombard is a junior double majoring in accounting and management information systems with a minor in data analytics. She is the drum major for the Pride of West Virginia, treasurer for Women in Business, vice president of chapter operations for Delta Sigma Pi, Chambers Ambassador, and Chambers Peer Mentor. Emma is also a Neidermeyer Scholar for Accounting 201 in the Chambers College, a student employee for the Honors College, and involved in the Honors EXCEL Program. In her free time, she loves to read, spend time with friends, crochet, and go on new thrill-seeking adventures such as shark cage diving. After graduation, she plans to earn her CPA and work for a large consulting firm.

Bethany Knight

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Bethany Knight, a junior biomedical engineering major, presented her research on alternative treatment for rheumatoid arthritis at a conference in Los Angeles, where she was recognized as one of the top presenters. Preliminary trials in rat models suggest the treatment can reduce blood clotting and joint inflammation and deterioration. Knight conducted the research at the Baylor College of Medicine as part of the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates. She is a 2020 WVU Foundation Scholar. To learn more about Knight and her research, visit the Honors College website. 

Ty Flynn

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Ty Flynn is a senior from Elkins, West Virginia, majoring in nursing. He is the director of Kesem at WVU, a nonprofit organization that gives year-round support and offers a summer camp to kids whose parents or guardians have cancer. In his free time, Ty enjoys playing video games, reading classic books and watching TV. His favorite memory from WVU was during a Kesem summer camp when kids participated in a silly activity, throwing paint and shaving cream at each other. After graduation, Ty plans on working at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital in the pediatric intensive care unit for two years and then return to school for a master’s degree.

Joey Watkins

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Joey Watkins is a sophomore from Montoursville, Pennsylvania, 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 the 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, West Virginia, 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.