WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., April 27, 2022 — West Liberty University held its annual Honors Convocation at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at Kelly Theater.
Coordinated by WLU’s Honors College under the direction of Dean Dr. Shannon Halicki, the event rewarded dozens of students for their academic work.
WLU’s Honors College is a program of distinction for motivated, talented students and six students are graduating this spring with this distinction.
Dr. Halicki spoke directly to the students and shared with them her thoughts on their endurance during a pandemic, before presenting the Honors College Distinction Awards.
“I’m like sloppy proud of their achievements in the face of difficult times. Having their lives up-ended by a pandemic and still achieving all that they’ve achieved,” said Halicki. “You stuck with it and completed an honors thesis in addition to the normal demands of your senior year.”
She then announced the titles of the theses and Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Aaron Harper provided stoles of honor to each of these six students: Theresa Evangelista, Delaney Bird, Baylee Jones, Lexie Mullen, Katelynn Blair and Kelsi Jones.
Awards from individual programs and departments were next and consist of the following departments, presenters and award-winning students.
Department of Education, Associate Professor of Special Education Dr. Sara Schimmel.
- Outstanding Community Education Award, Seniors Oceana Smith and Serena Smith;
- Outstanding Preschool Special Needs Major Award, Senior Lisa McGee;
- Outstanding Elementary Education Award, Aubree Williams;
- Outstanding Secondary Education Award, Olivia Montgomery;
- Outstanding Health and Physical Education Major Award, Lisa Growe.
Theatre Program, Director of Theater Michael Aulick.
- Outstanding Senior Award, Delaney Bird;
- Vernon Reimer Award, Odessa Hores;
- Hilltop Player Award, Kaitlin Wallace.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Joseph Horzempa
- Outstanding Biomedical Undergraduate Students, Elle Roberts, Peri Gray and Rachelle Patterson;
- Outstanding Biomedical Graduate Assistant, Sam Aulick.
Department of Organismal Biology, Ecology and Zoo Sciences, Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Joseph Horzempa
- Outstanding Zoo Science Undergraduate Student, Kaitlin Taylor;
- Outstanding Organismal Biology Students, Allison Gemberling and Bryan Ringhieser;
- Outstanding Organismal Biology Graduate Students, Zachary Dillard and Katie Scott.
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Aaron Harper
- Outstanding History Student, Mandolyn Harkness
- Outstanding Political Science Senior, Anna Johnston
- Outstanding Sociology Student, Anna Johnston
Department of Psychology, Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Tifani Fletcher
- Outstanding Psychology Student (Undergraduate), Michele Meeks
Department of English and Modern Languages, Associate Professor of English Dr. Angela Rehbein
- English Education Major of the Year, Emily Heath;
- English Writing Major of the Year, Raeann Keefe;
- Robinson Writing Center Consultant of the Year, Alexis Walton;
- Excellence in Creative Writing, Creed Kidney;
- Foreign Language Excellence Award, Spanish, Noah Underwood.
Department of Human Performance, Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Dr. Meleesa Wohleber
- Athletic Training Major of the Year, Meghan Hawthorne;
- Exercise Physiology Major of the Year, Grace Henley.
Department of Social Work, Professor of Social Work Dr. Sylvia Hawranick Senften
- Academic Honors, Samantha Baker, Jessica Horn, Paula Larance, Sierra Smith and Aubree Story.
An inaugural award, the Dreama L. Bush Award was presented by the Student Life and Activities Office. Executive Director of Housing & Student Life Marcella Snyder presented the award to Speech Pathology and Audiology senior Amber Yoho, who is entering WLU’s new master’s of speech pathology in the fall.
Yoho is a member of the Marching Hilltoppers, Beta Rho Epsilon, NSSHLA and was involved in 4-H camp counselor. Criteria Involved in selecting a student for this award included the requirements that the student be helpful, present, kind and positive in spirit.
Named after former longtime employee Dreama L. Bush, who passed away in December 2019, the award honors service to the university in the area of Student Life.
Closing the program was the annual swearing in of new Student Government Association officers, President Sydney Burkle and Vice President Cody Dixon-Rushman. The oaths of office were administered by Snyder.