West Virginia University has awarded 20 of the state’s top-performing high school seniors the esteemed Neil S. Bucklew Scholarship to attend the University in the fall.
The scholarship, valued at more than $26,000, provides each student with more than $6,600 per year toward educational costs during their four years at WVU.
Neil S. Bucklew, the scholarship’s creator, served as WVU’s 20th president from 1986 to 1995. The scholarships are part of the University’s comprehensive awards program and are supported, in part, by the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.
The 2010 Bucklew scholars are: Tonia Ahmed, Morgantown, Morgantown High School; Taylor Bush, Parkersburg, Parkersburg South High School; Paul Garton, Jane Lew, Lewis County High School; Robert Gerbo, Morgantown, University High School; Alex Gray, Fairmont, East Fairmont High School; Noelle Hadley, Winfield, Winfield High School; Jonathan Hensel, Morgantown, Morgantown High School; Priyanka Jagannath, Charleston, George Washington High School; Katherine Jarrell, Dry Creek, Liberty High School; Catherine Kelly, Vienna, Parkersburg High School; Thomas Kyanko, Wellsburg, Brooke High School; Lisa Liang, Morgantown, Morgantown High School; Nathan Mickinac, New Manchester, Oak Glen High School; Bayan Misaghi, Charleston, George Washington High School; Nainika Nanda, Daniels, Woodrow Wilson High School; Michael Niemann, Huntington, Cabell Midland High School; Arpan Prabhu, Morgantown, Morgantown High School; Luke Scime, Morgantown, Morgantown High School; Madeline Vandevender, Smoot, Greenbrier East High School; and Amanda Welsh, Wheeling, Wheeling Park High School.
The students are now eligible for WVU’s top academic award, the Foundation Scholarship, which is awarded to the top five Bucklew scholars and valued at more than $50,000. The Foundation scholars will be announced during the third week of May by Gov. Joe Manchin and University officials at a ceremony at the Charleston Capitol Complex.
Tonia Ahmed, of Morgantown, has spent several summers encouraging and mentoring financially underprivileged children through WVU’s National Youth Sports Program.
Ahmed served as a group leader and tennis instructor, where she told children of the importance of a college education and significance of being healthy.
“My experiences at this program showed me that I can significantly affect the young for the better,” Ahmed wrote in her scholarship application.
Graduating in the top 1 percent of her class, Ahmed will study chemistry at WVU in the fall.
As president of the science honorary at Morgantown High School, Ahmed has scheduled speakers to come to the high school and arranged “magic shows” where members of the honorary perform science experiments to help gain interest from elementary school children.
She has received a ranking of honors in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Exam, ranked in the top 24 of the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament Division 2 for calculus, was recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction and has earned first, second and third place in Math Field Day competitions, among other things.
A member of the National Honor Society, Ahmed has been involved in the math honorary, German Club, Pulsar Search Collaboratory, Morgantown High School Varsity Tennis, Social Studies Club, Key Club and Rowdie Society.
She has taken advanced courses in chemistry, calculus, physics, statistics, English, history, environmental science, geography, psychology, German and geography.
She is the daughter of Sheikh and Tamanna Ahmed.
Volunteering with physically and mentally challenged adults taught Taylor Bush, of Parkersburg, that “all human beings have so much in common, regardless of how it might appear at first glance.”
Ranked in the top 1 percent of her class at Parkersburg South High School, Bush plans to major in biology when she attends WVU in the fall.
She hopes to plan a research trip abroad, possibly to investigate the spread of AIDS in Africa or experiment with the genetic alteration of rice in Africa.
Bush has been recognized as a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, Wendy’s High School Heisman, First Team All-State Soccer and Tri-Star Award, among others.
A member of the National Honor Society, Bush has also served as captain of her high school’s varsity soccer and tennis teams. She has also participated in the Science Bowl, Senior Cabinet and Rhododendron Girls State.
Bush has volunteered as a candy striper in her local hospital, as president of the St. Paul United Methodist Youth Group, Special Olympics, Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board and Key Club.
She has taken advanced courses in calculus, biology, chemistry, psychology, history and English.
She is the daughter of Richard and Gwendolyn Bush.
As drum major of the Lewis County Marching Minutemen, Paul Garton, of Jane Lew, learned how to be a strong leader.
“I learned how to communicate with different kinds of people. It could be the director, staff, students, parents or even school administrators. I became more aware of the attitude and mindset that I communicated through verbal and non-verbal feedback,” Garton wrote in his application essay.
Graduating first in his class at Lewis County High School, Garton will major in philosophy at WVU.
Garton has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Rising Scholar, English Student of the Year and has received the National School Marching Award, among others.
He has been an active participant in 4-H, marching band, pep band, concert band, jazz band, National Honor Society, Foreign Language Club and United Methodist Youth Fellowship, among others.
He has taken advanced classes in history, English and environmental science.
He is the son of Rock and Dorothy Garton.
Robert Gerbo, of Morgantown, would like to become fluent in Spanish and study the effects that proselytizing religions have on regions.
Graduating first in his class at University High School, Gerbo will major in chemical engineering when he attends WVU in the fall.
An avid volunteer for the Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Project run by the WVU Eye Institute, Gerbo has learned how “vital it is to work with those that are different than me and how important it is not to let obstacles deter you.”
Gerbo has participated in Math Field Day, the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation, All-Conference Soccer and was the captain of the West Virginia Olympic Development Program, among other things.
He has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar, received the Tommy E. Jones Award and was captain of his school’s swim team, among other things.
He has taken advanced courses in geography, English, history, physics, calculus and government.
He is the son of Robert and Karen Gerbo.
Alex Gray, of Fairmont, is satisfied just to know that he is making life a little better for those around him.
Gray has spent five years in the Civil Air Patrol, during which he learned a lot about leadership and helped in his community.
“I participated in search and rescue missions, assisted in drug demand reduction programs, helped with moral leadership programs and worked with young cadets. I know that I can make a difference in my community and in individuals’ lives, emergency or not,” Gray said.
This fall, Gray will attend WVU as an aerospace engineering major.
At East Fairmont High School, he is expected to graduate as one of the top three students in his class.
He has been recognized as a Rising Advanced Placement Scholar, and has received the Civil Air Patrol Billy Mitchell Award.
Gray is a member of the National Honor Society and National Spanish, science, social science and English honoraries. He is an active participant in his school’s marching band as the trumpet and French horn section leader, speech and debate team.
He has taken advanced courses in calculus, English, history, government, biology and statistics.
He is the son of Edward and Dana Gray.
It is Noelle Hadley’s dream to work at NASA.
Graduating second in her class at Winfield High School, Hadley will major in aerospace engineering when she attends WVU in the fall.
The Winfield resident attended the World Leadership Congress as an ambassador for West Virginia during the summer of 2008. Her experience at the seminar was, as she describes, one of the most influential leadership activities that she has been involved in.
“I gained a new respect for myself and others my age. I learned that the first step in success is to believe in oneself,” she wrote in her application.
Hadley has been recognized on the Principal’s List all four years of high school, has received Student of the Month and a President’s Volunteer Service Award.
She has been active in her school’s track and soccer teams.
Hadley has taken advanced courses in English, calculus, biology, statistics and environmental science.
She is the daughter of Barton and Cheryl Hadley.
Jonathan Hensel’s desire to help people in any way he can has influenced his decision to major in industrial engineering.
Hensel, of Morgantown, would like to travel to other countries and participate in humanitarian projects with groups such as Engineers Without Borders.
“I love to help others; it is my passion in life,” Hensel wrote in his application.
An active member of the Morgantown High School marching band, Hensel served as the field commander and was in charge of helping “the band reach its full potential.” He was charged with instructing the band while they were on the field, being a role model and a liaison between students and the administration.
Graduating in the top 5 percent of his class, Hensel is a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, Advanced Placement Scholar with honors and a member of the National Honor Society.
He is senior class president, and has participated in the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament, Math Field Day, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble and is an avid chess player, among other things.
Hensel has taken advanced courses in English, calculus, history, chemistry, government, psychology and environmental science.
He is the son of Peter and Robin Hensel.
Priyanka Jagannath would like to study abroad in Europe to learn more about universal health care.
The Charleston native and soon-to-be graduate of George Washington High School
will major in biology, with aspirations of being a doctor, when she attends WVU this fall.
“I want to immerse myself in a new culture and embrace its traditions and ideas,” she wrote in her application.
Jagannath has been active on her school’s cross country team throughout high school, and now serves as the team captain.
A semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction and National Beta Club member, Jagannath has also been the president of the Beta Club, vice president and treasurer of the Key Club and a member of the Young Democrats club, among other things.
She has volunteered at a hospital, served meals to the homeless and organized clothing and food drives.
Jagannath has taken advanced courses in chemistry, history, calculus, English, biology, geography, psychology, statistics, Spanish, art and physics.
She is the daughter of Thopsie and Prema Jagannath.
Volunteering at a free clinic taught Katherine Jarrell that “helping others is a necessary tool for survival.”
“My eyes were opened to situations and real issues that I always knew existed but did not know to what extent they were real. I felt helpless and sad at times because while I had all the things I needed, many of the patients did not have a place to call home, money for necessary prescriptions or adequate clothing,” she wrote in her application.
Jarrell, of Dry Creek, will be graduating at the top of her class at Liberty High School and will major in engineering when she attends WVU in the fall.
Jarrell is a 2010 candidate for the Presidential Scholarship. She has been given class awards for having the highest grade in English, math, history and science courses, among others.
She is active on varsity volleyball, track and field, Key Club, student government, the debate team and her church’s youth group.
Jarrell has taken advanced courses in English, calculus and public speaking.
She is the daughter of Gregory and Penny Jarrell.
A life-long West Virginian, Catherine Kelly is eager to expand her education at WVU.
Kelly, of Vienna, has been active as a member of Parkersburg High School’s Key Club. She was chairman of the club’s “Volley for a Cure” committee, during which she learned a lot about being a leader.
“It refreshed my belief that a handful of people really can make a difference in the world,” she wrote in her application.
Kelly is a member of the National Honor Society, Ohio University Honor Choir, PHS Chamber Choir, All-State Chamber Chorus and Math Honor Society.
She has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar, and has been an active volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, among other things.
Kelly has taken advanced courses in English, calculus, statistics, government, history and psychology.
She is the daughter of Gerard and Sherri Kelly.
Thomas Kyanko, of Wellsburg, loves computers and he wants to help others utilize them.
Graduating second in his class at Brooke High School, Kyanko will major in computer science at WVU.
“I have an interest in using computers to improve quality of life,” Kyanko wrote in his application. He would like to design a more accessible interface for people who are not technically knowledgeable.
Kyanko was able to put his computer skills to work when volunteering at the Brooke County Public Library. He assisted patrons on how to do research, send e-mails and do other things using the computer.
A member of the National Honor Society, school honors program, Principal’s Honor Roll, Kyanko has been recognized as an outstanding biology, chemistry and math student.
Kyanko is also the president of the Web/Computer Science Club at his high school and has participated in the Environmental Science Club, Model United Nations Conference, Pulsar Search Collaboratory, Frazier Simplex Junior Rifle Club and U.S. National Junior Rifle Team. He has also served as vice-president, secretary and treasurer of his local 4-H program.
Kyanko has taken advanced classes in history, English, chemistry, calculus and macroeconomics.
He is the son of Mark and Mari Kyanko.
Contributing more than 433 hours of community service, Lisa Liang strives to use her abilities to help society.
She has organized food drives for poor families with young children, cooked meals for the homeless, sorted donated clothing and played bingo with the elderly, among other things.
“In college and beyond I will surely continue my dedication to community service. No matter what I do in the future, I am determined to contribute back to society and improve people’s quality of life,” Liang wrote in her application.
The Morgantown resident and soon-to-be graduate of Morgantown High School ranks in the top 2 percent of her class. She will be majoring in chemical engineering at WVU.
She has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction, semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship and has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Liang has been a member of Engineers of Tomorrow, Spanish Club, FIRST Robotics Team, Astronomy Pulsar Search Group, Science Honors Club and National Honor Society, among other things.
She has taken advanced courses in biology, physics, calculus, English, Spanish, chemistry, history and statistics.
She is the daughter of Ray Liang and Annie Zeng.
Having an older brother with spina bifida has led Nathan Mickinac to pursue a career where he can make life easier for people with disabilities.
Mickinac, of New Manchester, will major in chemical engineering at WVU.
He would like to explore spinal cord and nerve cell regeneration for paraplegics and amputees.
“I would be very interested in research that involves robotic prosthetics solely controlled by the human body’s existing nervous system,” he wrote in his application.
Mickinac will graduate first in his class at Oak Glen High School. He has been nominated to the Naval and Air Force academies by senators Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller. He has also been honored as a National Samsung American Legion Scholar, among other things.
He has been active in National Honor Society, soccer, tennis, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program, Oak Glen Culture and Foreign Language clubs, Oak Glen concert and pep bands, Key Club and Boy Scouts, among other things.
Mickinac has taken advanced classes in calculus, English, biology, history, psychology, statistics and chemistry.
He is the son of Daniel and Geralynn Mickinac.
A prospective medical student, Bayan Misaghi has an interest in epidemiology. He would like to travel to Colombia to study the implications of its health system on its high rate of malaria victims.
The Charleston native is graduating first in his class from George Washington High School. He will major in chemical or biomedical engineering when he attends WVU.
Misaghi has been active in his high school’s Key Club, of which he is president. He organized a holiday shopping spree for low-income elementary-aged children, helped to mentor children and organized fundraisers for domestic abuse victims, among other things.
He has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction, a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship and a member of the National Beta Honors Society.
He will graduate with highest honors and a community service honor for having more than 350 hours of community service. He has also been active in All-State Orchestra.
Misaghi has taken advanced courses in art history, biology, calculus, chemistry, English, environmental science, government, physics, Spanish, statistics, history, psychology and speech.
He is the son of Faredoon and Azita Misaghi.
Research is part of Nainika Nanda’s everyday life.
“From trying a new recipe for dinner to looking up the reviews of a new movie, research cannot be escaped. My realization of this fact has allowed me to pursue my love of performing research,” she wrote in her application.
Nanda, of Daniels, will graduate in the top 2 percent of her class at Woodrow Wilson High School. She will major in biochemistry with the goal of becoming a doctor.
Nanda has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors. She has been selected to attend the National Science Bowl, NASA Summer Research Academy and Governor’s Honors Academy, among other things.
She has founded and served as president of the National Science Honor Society, was captain of the Science Bowl and president of the Spanish Club.
She is also active in National Honor Society and Key Club. She plays piano, tennis, soccer and dances.
Nanda has taken advanced classes in history, biology, psychology, English, physics, chemistry and calculus.
She is the daughter of Rajesh and Benu Nanda.
Michael Niemann loves to run and share his passion for wellness with others.
A resident of Huntington and soon-to-be graduate of Cabell Midland High School, Niemann was the captain of his school’s cross country team. He also volunteers regularly at charity races and encourages young children to develop healthy lifestyle habits.
Niemann will major in psychology at WVU in the fall.
He has been recognized as a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, Rising Advanced Placement Scholar with honors, Student of the Month and outstanding physics, social studies, chemistry and humanities student.
Niemann is also treasurer of his school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. He plays piano, is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta math honorary, is founder and president of the Ultimate Frisbee Club and is active on student council, among other things.
He has taken advanced classes in English, history, physics and psychology.
He is the son of Bill and Mary Niemann.
Bilingual in English and Konkani, Arpan Prabhu has a craving for knowledge.
Prabhu, of Morgantown, will major in biology and philosophy when he attends WVU in the fall.
Graduating in the top 1 percent of his class at Morgantown High School, Prabhu planned, organized and implemented a project to construct a stream crossing and wilderness trail.
“This service project was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life I endured the pains of planning and organizing the project and the joys of leading others to complete the project,” Prabhu wrote in his application.
Prabhu has been recognized as a member of the National Honor Society, a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship and an Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction.
He has served as a member of the Boy Scouts, student council, swim team and is an avid chess player, among other things.
Prabhu has volunteered at Monongalia General Hospital, Youth United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties and the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club, among other things.
He has taken advanced courses in statistics, calculus, English, history, chemistry, Spanish, government, biology and physics.
He is the son of Vaikunth and Beena Prabhu.
Luke Scime enhanced his love for the challenge of engineering as a member of the FIRST high school robotics team, which he helped to found.
The Morgantown resident will major in mechanical engineering when he attends WVU in the fall. Scime will graduate in the top 2 percent of his class at Morgantown High School.
“As I prepare to leave high school I know that I have already made a lasting difference in my community through my participation in FIRST robotics. College education will serve to further my ability to make meaningful differences in people’s lives,” Scime wrote in his application.
As a member of FIRST, Scime trained teachers in programming and helped to run summer programs to spread excitement about engineering.
A semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, Scime has also been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors and a top calculus student at West Virginia Wesleyan’s Gifted Program.
Scime has also been an avid participant in the Morgantown High School Orchestra, where he played the violin. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Creative Writing Club and science honorary.
Scime has taken advanced courses in calculus, history, chemistry, English, government, physics and biology.
He is the son of Earl and Joy Scime.
Madeline Vandevender wants to learn as many languages as possible.
“One of mankind’s greatest legacies is its diversity of language,” she wrote in her application.
Vandevender, of Smoot, will major in English and mathematics at WVU. She is graduating second in her class at Greenbrier East High School.
A member of the National Honor Society, Vandevender is also a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship and a member of her local 4-H club.
She has also served as a student representative of her school’s student government and team captain for the math and science quiz bowl, among other things.
Vandevender has taken advanced courses in English, history, psychology, calculus and government.
She is the daughter of John and Ruth Ann Vandevender.
Amanda Welsh learned the importance of helping others through volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, and now she wants to help catch the bad guys as a forensic scientist.
Welsh, of Wheeling, will graduate first in her class at Wheeling Park High School.
Welsh is a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, member of the National Honor Society, National Honor Roll, High Honor Roll and National Society of High School Scholars.
She has participated in several public forum debates, and won awards for being the Best Novice Debater at Wheeling Park High School.
She is a member of the National Forensic League, and an active member of the Fourth Street United Methodist Church.
Welsh has taken advanced classes in calculus, geography, English, history, political science and statistics.
She is the daughter of William and Cynthia Welsh.
CONTACT: Brian Hoover, Undergraduate Scholarship Office
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