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Emma Blair, Amelia Jones Awarded West Virginia University’s Order of Augusta

Emma Blair, left, and Amelia Jones, right.

Two Wheeling natives — Emma Blair and Amelia Jones — are among eight West Virginia University seniors awarded the Order of Augusta, the university’s highest student honor.

Also, Adam Craig of Wheeling is one of 42 other WVU seniors to be honored by the WVU Foundation as “Outstanding Seniors.”

“Each spring, WVU recognizes its top graduates with the Outstanding Senior award and the Order of Augusta,” said Maryanne Reed, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “These students have already become leaders, innovators and change-makers in their communities and beyond. I have no doubt that they will continue to ‘go first’ in everything they do.”

This cohort comes from a variety of backgrounds but shares impressive academic achievements, a passion for discovery and a desire to serve.

“The students chosen for the Order of Augusta and as WVU Foundation Outstanding Seniors are truly exceptional and embody the Mountaineer spirit, bringing our Mountaineer values to life,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said.

“As the top 1% of their graduating class, their academic achievements and their leadership and service to the WVU community and beyond is unparalleled. We look forward to their future successes, knowing they will represent West Virginia University well no matter where their path leads them.”

Blair, a member of the Honors College from Wheeling, will graduate with a degree in exercise physiology with an emphasis in health professions and a minor in psychology. She serves as a member of the first cohort of Presidential Student Ambassadors and member of the PSA Speakers Bureau and a student ambassador for the School of Medicine and the Honors College.

In addition to her rigorous coursework, Blair is a student in the Honors Experiential and Engaged Learning Program, serves as an undergraduate researcher and volunteers her time for community service including producing and donating more than 700 homemade face masks to local nursing homes and homeless shelters during the pandemic.

Blair describes her Honors EXCEL project, under the guidance of Exercise is Medicine, as one of the most rewarding experiences during her undergraduate studies. Her project aims to reduce the frequency of prescribing and prolonged use of medication by instituting an exercise prescription system.

She leads the initiative to integrate and educate rural physicians on evidence-based exercise treatment plans and works with patients at the WVU Medicine Internal Medicine Clinic to help make physical activity screenings and counseling a priority.

Ultimately, she hopes to pursue her doctorate in physician assistant studies advocating for the need for physical activity assessment and referral in clinical settings.

Jones, also a member of the Honors College from Wheeling, will graduate with a degree in English with an emphasis in literary and cultural studies and minors in theatre and German. She serves as president pro-tempore in the Student Government Association, a Mountaineer Guide with the WVU Visitors Center and the founder and co-chair of the Student Service Advisory Board.

A first-generation student who has devoted much of her college career to help connect disadvantaged students with educational resources, she is also WVU’s 2020 Newman Civic Fellow and serves as the speaker chair of TedxWVU and editor for Calliope.

A two-term senator-at-large, she reports her involvement in SGA has been one of the most rewarding experiences during her undergraduate career. During her involvement, she has collaborated with units across the University to improve first-year student retention, worked with the WVU Faculty Senate to address college affordability and led an initiative to encourage at-risk youth in West Virginia to pursue higher education by sending them branded care packages.

A student in the Honors Experiential and Engaged Learning Program, she studied the work of German author and playwright Marieluise Fleisser. Unable to travel to Germany to study her work amid the pandemic, she pivoted and served as an intern with MT Pockets Community Theatre where she cast local community members and WVU theater students to perform Fleisser’s Pioneers in Ingolstad in translation, a play that gave voice to underrepresented communities during the Weimar Republic.

After graduation, she will pursue her master’s degree in English education at Columbia University.

Other inductees into the Order of Augusta are:

Shannon Brunzo-Hager, a member of the Honors College from Rupert, will graduate with a degree in biochemistry and a minor in mathematics.

Cherish Heard, from Morgantown, will graduate with a degree in psychology and minors in Spanish and sociology.

Nicholas Miller, a member of the Honors College from Hedgesville, will graduate with a degree in immunology and medical microbiology and minor in medical humanities and health studies.

Anne Roth, a member of the Honors College from Annandale, Virginia, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies, a master’s degree in elementary education and a minor in Spanish. She has served as an ambassador for the Honors College and a four-year member of the Mountaineer Marching Band where she served as the saxophone section leader and woodwind rank leader.

Abby Sine, a member of the Honors College from Core, will graduate with a degree in mathematics and minors in economics and statistics.

Nicolas Uribe, from Guayaquil, Ecuador will graduate with a degree in management with a focus in international business and minor in leadership studies.

The remaining 42 WVU Outstanding Seniors are:

Fatemah Alsharaf; Rumaithiya, Kuwait

Christopher Anderson; Terra Alta

Hannah Belt; Thurmont, Maryland (Honors College)

Payton Brown; Berkeley Springs (Honors College)

Sarah Cain; Hookstown, Pennsylvania

Parker Carte; Connellsville, Pennsylvania (Honors College)

Sarah Cokeley; Harrisville (Honors College)

Adam Craig; Wheeling (Honors College)

Laura Curry; Bay Village, Ohio (Honors College)

Peter Dreher-Pozo; Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Escott; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Honors College)

Rachel Gritsko; Scottsville, Virginia

Joshua Gross; Wilmington, Delaware (Honors College)

Joseph Gutmann; Morgantown (Honors College)

Mackenzie Halliday; Washington, Pennsylvania (Honors College)

Jessica Hammersla; Martinsburg (Honors College)

Andrew Henthorn; St. Albans (Honors College)

Jessica Hogbin; Hedgesville (Honors College)

Heather Hughes; Ridgeley

Sarah Jenness; Baldwin, Maryland

Jordyn Johnson; South Charleston (Honors College)

Raegan Kvadas; Surfside Beach, South Carolina (Honors College)

John Maltby; Cresskill, New Jersey (Honors College)

Aerianna McClanahan; Morgantown (Honors College)

Brandon McCoy; Washington, D.C.

Wilson McNeil; Morgantown (Honors College)

Taylor Miller; Fairmont (Honors College)

Faith Myers; Plain City, Ohio (Honors College)

Thomas Ogershok; Morgantown (Honors College)

Molly Powney; Vienna (Honors College)

Kaitlyn Rexroad; Parkersburg (Honors College)

Margaret Rice; Union

Morgan Rush; McHenry, Maryland

Meagan Seaton; Mullens (Honors College)

Anurag Shrestha; Chicago, Illinois

Noah Spencer; Morgantown (Honors College)

Madison Starcher; Reedsville (Honors College)

Jillian Swauger; Niles, Ohio (Honors College)

Gillian Wanosky; Parkersburg (Honors College)

Abigail Waugh; Bruceton Mills

Christina White; Morgantown (Honors College)

Heather Woolridge; Chesapeake, Virginia

Established in 1995 to signify the 40th anniversary of the WVU Foundation, the Outstanding Seniors award recognizes students for their contributions and achievements in scholarship, leadership and service.

The Order of Augusta further recognizes the students’ superior scholarship, demonstrated leadership and record of community and public service. The award is named for its historical significance in the state. Augusta was among the original names considered by Legislature when the state seceded from Virginia in 1863.


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