Byron Patterson and Hilah Zia have been announced as West Virginia University’s 2012 Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer.

Patterson and Zia were crowned during halftime of the WVU-TCU football game on Saturday (Nov. 3) at Milan Puskar Stadium. The awards are given each year as part of WVU’s Mountaineer Week festivities.

Patterson, a senior aerospace engineering major, is an Upper Eddy, Pa. native and is sponsored by the Honors Student Association.

He was a 2010 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Scholar, a 2012 National Science Foundation Research Fellow, a 2010 and 2011 West Virginia NASA Undergraduate Research Fellow, a member of the WVU microgravity research team and the World Orphans in conjunction with the College Church.

“Distinction as Mr. Mountaineer represents to me the pinnacle of the numerous opportunities available to students at West Virginia University, including academic, community service and research,” Patterson said. “Opportunities abound at WVU, but it’s the duty of the student to pursue them, which is what the Mr. Mountaineer award distinguishes.”

Zia, a graduate student in public administration, is from Morgantown. She is sponsored by the Student Association of Public Administrators.

She serves as the president of Student Association of Public Administrators within her master’s program, was a Leadership Studies Milan Puskar Scholar from 2009-11, chapter president of National Society of Collegiate Scholars in 2010-11 and a Gold and Blue Student Ambassador Liaison from 2009-11. She is a sister of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and was president of Panhellenic Council in 2010. She was named the Greek Woman of the Year as a senior.

“To represent WVU as Ms. Mountaineer would mean I express all the ideals of a true Mountaineer. Attending school here is about being a part of a family that provides a constant support system to everyone,” Zia said. “To serve as Ms. Mountaineer, I have an opportunity to serve not only WVU, but the community and the State. I will take my experiences as a Mountaineer to express my passion for this school and State to everyone I meet.”

As Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer, Patterson and Zia will host their own blood drive on Nov. 28 from 1-7 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer will be invited to take part in the Dancing With Our Mountaineer Stars on March 2, 2013. Also, the winners will be asked to co-host the WVU Miner’s Day program as part of the West Virginia state holiday Miner’s Day on Dec. 4.

Other Mr. Mountaineer finalists were: Patrick Cushing of Morgantown, John Higgins of Philippi, Taylor Richmond of Beckley and Jonathan Turner of Fairmont.

Other Ms. Mountaineer finalists were: Rebecca Durst of Point Pleasant, Kacie Legg of Sissonville, Katrina Weimer of Akron, Ohio and Sarah Beth Yoder of Moundsville.

In addition to the Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer presentation, “WVU’s “Most Loyals were honored, as well. The 2012 honorees are Richard Adams, Most Loyal West Virginian; Doug Van Scoy, Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer; Joann Spencer Siegrist, Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer; and Bob Huggins, Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer.

The Most Loyal West Virginian and Alumni Mountaineer awards have been presented since 1974, while the Most Loyal Faculty and Staff Mountaineer award was created in 1994 and split into two separate awards in 2001. The award recipients are selected by a joint committee representing the WVU Foundation, WVU Alumni Association and the Mountaineer Week organizing committee.

Mountaineer Week is an annual celebration of West Virginia’s rich Appalachian heritage and traditions. The activities serve to remind and educate WVU students about the culture that has made West Virginia what it is today. This fall, the festival commemorated its 65th year.



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