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Five students named WVU Mountaineers of Distinction

The five winners of the Mountaineers of Distinction awards stand on Mountaineer Field in the rain. They are wearing colors of gold and blue. Fans are visible in the stands.

The 2022 Mountaineers of Distinction, announced during the Nov. 12 WVU vs. Oklahoma game, are (from left) Callyn Zeigler, Giana Loretta, Trevor Swiger, Sonia-Frida Ndifon and Matthew Hudson. (WVU Photo/David Malecki)

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Recognized for their exemplary academic achievement and extracurricular involvement, Matthew Hudson, Giana Loretta, Sonia-Frida Ndifon, Trevor Swiger and Callyn Zeigler have been named the West Virginia University 2022 Mountaineers of Distinction, a Mountaineer Week tradition.

The honorees, representing a range of disciplines while sharing impressive academic achievements and service to their communities, were chosen by an interview selection panel from a pool of nearly 80 students who were nominated across campus.

The five seniors, all members of the WVU Honors College, were announced as this year’s honorees during halftime of the WVU vs. Oklahoma football game today (Nov. 12) at Milan Puskar Stadium

Hudson, from Scott Depot, is an immunology and medical microbiology major who has maintained a cumulative 4.0 grade point average. He serves as a Presidential Student Ambassador, health sciences college senator with the Student Government Association and a student ambassador for the School of Medicine Immunology and Medical Microbiology Program.

Hudson also serves as president of WVU Global Medical, a member of the WVU Dental Brigades and volunteers his time facilitating mobile food pantries for the nonprofit Pantry Plus More.

He has been accepted into the School of Medicine Early Decision Program and presented his research on antibody response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa germ infections in cystic fibrosis patients at the 2022 West Virginia Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.

Loretta, from Shinnston, is a political science, philosophy and communication studies major who has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. She serves as a Presidential Student Ambassador, an intern with the College of Law West Virginia Innocence Project and student ambassador for Admissions. Loretta is a 2022 Newman Civic Fellow, 2019 Neil S. Bucklew Scholar and two-year Eberly College Scholar.

She has volunteered more than 300 service hours to organizations that address educational inequity in the state, such as Girls on the Run of North Central West Virginia and Literacy Volunteers of Monongalia and Preston Counties.

As a member of the Honors College EXCEL Program, Loretta is spearheading an independent research project to evaluate charter schools in the state.

Ndifon, a native of Cameroon who now calls Elkridge, Maryland, home, is a biomedical engineering major. She serves as the president of the African Students Association, a student ambassador for Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and a resident assistant. She is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Black Student Union and works as a MindFit tutor.

Ndifon is the recipient of the Black Excellence Award, Undergraduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service and the Office of Global Affairs Merit Award.

She serves her community through medicine with WVU Medicine, Amedisys Hospice Care and Mon Health Medical Center.

Swiger, a first-generation college student from Grafton, is a communication studies and interdisciplinary studies major who has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. He serves as a social media and marketing intern for Vantage Ventures and president and chair of the National Chapter Nominating Committee for the WVU Mortar Board.

Swiger is a 2020-21 National FFA candidate finalist and an inductee of Lambda Pi Eta and Chimes Junior Honorary.

He volunteers his time to mentoring youth in leadership and career success through the National FFA Organization, American Legion Mountaineer Boys State and the Mountaineer Mentors Program.

Zeigler, from Charleston, is a computer engineering and computer science major. She serves as a Presidential Student Ambassador and teaching assistant and student ambassador for the Statler College. Zeigler is a Neil S. Bucklew Scholar and a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

She volunteers her time with outreach initiatives across the state that foster interest in engineering careers among young female students as a mentor for the Society of Women Engineers,

She also volunteers her time to the Appalachian Prison Book Project, Empty Bowls Monongalia and WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.

Other Mountaineers of Distinction finalists were: Aubrey Cumberledge, a biology major from Wallace; Samuel Cyphert, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major from Morgantown; Michael DiBacco, a biology and English major from Elkins; Lydia Knutsen, an industrial engineering major from Glen Dale; and Elizabeth Sexton, an accounting and finance major from Williamstown.

In addition to the Mountaineers of Distinction presentation, the University’s “Most Loyals” were honored during the halftime ceremonies. The 2022 honorees are Harvey and Jennifer Peyton, Most Loyal West Virginians; Lloyd Jackson, Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer; Jennifer Williams, Most Loyal Faculty/Professional Staff Mountaineer; and Cathy Martin, Most Loyal Staff Mountaineer. 

The Most Loyal awards recipients are chosen by a joint committee representing the WVU FoundationAlumni AssociationStaff CouncilFaculty Senate and the Mountaineer Week organizing committee.

Read more about the 75th Mountaineer Week.



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