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Meet Your Orientation Leader

Our Orientation Leaders are students like you,
but they’ve been here awhile so they know their way around.

Derek Alemany, a Marketing major from Alexandria, VA, gives two thumbs up. He's wearing a white bucket hat and sunglasses and is carrying a pineapple-shaped drink container.

Derek Alemany

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Marketing
Minor: History
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
WVU Activities: Greek Life, The Pride of West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band, University Ensembles

Why Derek Chose WVU: It provided the balance of a big university with small class sizes and smaller college opportunities

Fun Fact About Derek:

I march in the Pride of West Virginia.

Zac Backus, a Communication Sciences and Disorders major from Barboursville, WV, gasps as he looks inside an Insomnia Cookies box.

Zac Backus

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Minors: Addiction Studies and Special Education
Hometown: Barboursville, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Mountaineer Maniacs

Why Zac Chose WVU: I chose WVU because it feels like a small school, with the resources and spirit of a large university.

Fun Fact About Zac:

I'm the first person in my family to move away from home for college!

Julia Baldwin

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Mathematics
Minor: WVUteach
Hometown: Elkins, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Student Support Services, Zumba classes and Younglife.

Why Julia Chose WVU: I loved the atmosphere and energy being at WVU. It seemed like a big place for me to find opportunities for memories and friendship.

Fun Fact About Julia:

I have a big collection of bucket hats I hang up on my wall.

Raeanne Beckner, a Journalism and Multidisciplinary Studies major from Bridgeport, WV, balances a tiny duck figurine on her head and smiles. She is wearing a "Meet Me on High Street" shirt and holds an LSAT prep book and a Dunkin' drink.

Raeanne Beckner

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Journalism and Multidisciplinary Studies (comprised of Leadership Studies, Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies)
Hometown: Bridgeport, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Managing Editor at the Daily Athenaeum, Student Ambassador for the Reed College of Media, Student Ambassador and Teaching Assistant for the Honors College, Teaching Assistant for Media, Law and Ethics, works with Admissions throughout the year, intern at the West Virginia Innocence Project, contributor for PolitiFact, Milan Puskar Leadership Scholar, Greek Life (Omega Phi Alpha, Exec Board), Mountaineer Maniacs

Why Raeanne Chose WVU: My favorite thing about WVU is the people! I chose WVU because as soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew I found a family that would extend beyond the next four years. Everyone is extremely encouraging, and this environment has allowed me to grow tremendously!

Fun Fact About Raeanne:

My friends call me a “Rae” of Sunshine.

Erin Beegle, a Biochemistry and Multidisciplinary Studies major from Wintersville, OH, holds a pair of pink clogs.

Erin Beegle

Pronouns: she/her
Majors: Biochemistry and Multidisciplinary Studies
Minors: Women's and Gender Studies, Psychology, Medical Humanities and Health Sciences
Hometown: Wintersville, Ohio
WVU Activities: Greek Life

Why Erin Chose WVU: The moment I came to campus for the first time, I knew I was home. I knew I was going to get everything I wanted from my college experience by coming to WVU and thus far it's been true.

Fun Fact About Erin:

I know how to tap dance.

Liz Cachat, a Sport Management major from Dalton, MA, holds a collection  of press passes.

Liz Cachat

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Sport Management
Hometown: Dalton, Massachusetts
WVU Activities: Greek Life (Omega Phi Alpha), Sport Management Club, intern with the football team

Why Liz Chose WVU: WVU gave me so many academic, professional and personal opportunities!

Fun Fact About Liz:

I got to attend the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland!

Sohan Daniel, a Sport and Exercise Psychology major from Chantilly, VA, holds a Star Wars figurine.

Sohan Daniel

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Sport and Exercise Psychology
Minors: Leadership Studies, Human Services
Hometown: Chantilly, Virginia
WVU Activities: Student Government Association, South Asian Association, Active Minds

Why Sohan Chose WVU: I chose to go to WVU because I felt like I was at home. Whenever thinking about other schools it always just felt like college and I never felt that I was really wanted there. It just felt like I was just there to get a degree. But looking at WVU I felt that I was wanted here and I wanted to be here.

Fun Fact About Sohan:

A chicken fell on my foot and broke it.

Chloe den Uijl, a History and Anthropology major from Pearland, Texas, wears a green frog hat and blue Mountaineer Marching Band vest, and holds a stuffed globe toy.

Chloe den Uijl

Pronouns: she/her
Majors: History and Anthropology
Hometown: Pearland, Texas
WVU Activities: Greek Life (Pi Beta Phi and Sigma Alpha Iota), the Pride of West Virginia Marching Band, Anthropology Club, archaeology lab, Project 168, NRHH, Refresh Box, Nolan Burch Greek Leadership Academy Association

Why Chloe Chose WVU: I chose WVU because I wanted to expand my horizons. It also helped that WVU has an amazing marching band too! I love the history and anthropology department here at WVU, and I fell in love with campus when I stepped foot in Woodburn Circle.

Fun Fact About Chloe:

I’ve been to almost all 50 states and to over 200 national parks!

Olivia Dowler, a History, Spanish and Philosophy major from Weirton, WV, wears a pink "Be Kind" T-shirt and holds Progress Pride and Bisexual Pride flags.

Olivia Dowler

Pronouns: she/her
Majors: History, Spanish and Philosophy
Hometown: Weirton, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Student Government Association, Presidential Student Ambassadors, Global Medical and Dental Brigades, Students for Reproductive Justice, NAACP, Active Minds, A Moment of Magic, Women in Law, Women in Politics and Government, Honors LGBTQ Affinity Group, Mountaineer Guides, Tour Leader

Why Olivia Chose WVU: WVU truly is a university with limitless opportunities. Since the moment I set foot on campus as a sophomore attending the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar, I knew this was where I belonged. No college I toured gave me the same feeling of welcome and warmth in my heart like WVU did. As a first-generation student, I was especially pressured to go out of state; however, I feel that as an R1 research institution, as a land grant school, as a community of diverse students, WVU has so much more to offer than is realized. Additionally, I love the opportunities to give back to the people of our state and beyond. The “Go First” mentality among Mountaineers is something that cannot be found anywhere else.

Fun Fact About Olivia:

I have a five tattoos - including one of West Virginia!

Tyler Faulstick, a Mathematics major from Wheeling, WV, wears a blue WVU T-shirt and holds a Pittsburgh Steelers mini-helmet.

Tyler Faulstick

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Wheeling, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Mountaineer Maniacs

Why Tyler Chose WVU: I chose WVU because of my family ties and to experience a small school feel in a big school setting.

Fun Fact About Tyler:

Both of my parents are WVU alumni.

Sophia Flower, a Biology major from Fairmont, WV, holds three albums. She is wearing a gold shirt and jeans, and has a pair of heart-shaped red sunglasses on her head.

Sophia Flower

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Biology
Minor: Appalachian Studies
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Student Government Association, Presidential Student Ambassadors, WVU Collegiate 4-H, Wellness and Mental Health Student Advisory Board, Biology Research

Why Sophia Chose WVU: I grew up less than 30 minutes away from Morgantown, so WVU was a large part of my childhood. From a young age I attended football and basketball games, but upon touring WVU, I discovered a side of the school that I had never seen before. There is so much more to WVU than meets the eye, and I knew that I could find my place here. There is truly something for everyone at WVU, and I quickly found my people, my niche and my home here. WVU could offer me so many diverse and unique experiences that I could not get anywhere else. I am so thankful to have found my home at WVU.

Fun Fact About Sophia:

I have performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Kayla Gallagher, an Exercise Physiology major from Elysburg, PA, raises gold and blue pom poms in the air.

Kayla Gallagher

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Exercise Physiology with an emphasis in Aquatic Therapy
Minor: Nutrition and Food Studies
Hometown: Elysburg, Pennsylvania
WVU Activities: Honors 102 mentor, WVU CHAARG, Exercise Physiology Club, Mountaineer Maniacs

Why Kayla Chose WVU: Campus felt like a home away from home. The community atmosphere gave me a sense of belonging in a new and unfamiliar place.

Fun Fact About Kayla:

I love to travel and could talk for hours about all the places I’ve been.

Taylor Guidry, a Biology major from Manassas, VA, smiles while looking through a gold picture frame.

Taylor Guidry

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Biology
Minor: Cybersecurity and Business Cybersecurity
Hometown: Manassas, Virginia
WVU Activities: Research, CHAARG

Why Taylor Chose WVU: I always wanted to go to a big football school but other than that had no idea where. When I visited WVU I felt at home and knew it’s where I was meant to go.

Fun Fact About Taylor:

I was on Virginia's women’s wrestling national team!

Mikel Hager

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Exercise Physiology
Minors: Psychology and Communication Studies
Hometown: Madison, West Virginia
WVU Activities: four-year member of the WVU Cheer team

Why Mikel Chose WVU: WVU was my dream school since I was a young child.

Fun Fact About Mikel:

When I am not cheerleading, I am a football coach.

Riley Harris

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Biology and Psychology
Hometown: Parkersburg, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Active Minds, Psychology Club, on-campus job with WVU Dining

Why Riley Chose WVU: It is a really good in-state institution, so it was close enough to home while still getting out of my hometown. Plus it has a really good pre-med program, and I have always loved the environment of WVU and Morgantown!

Fun Fact About Riley:

I have four pets! One cat, one snake and two rats!

Josef Hershman stands in front of the blue Mountaineers Go First backdrop holding a guitar. He is wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt. Josef is a Music Therapy major from Buckhannon, WV.

Josef Hershman

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Music Therapy
Hometown: Buckhannon, West Virginia
WVU Activities: The Pride of West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band

Why Josef Chose WVU: Because of the beautiful campus and the Pride of West Virginia.

Fun Fact About Josef:

I play the trumpet in the marching band.

Matthew Hillyer stands in front of the blue Mountaineers Go First backdrop. He wears a white Carolina Panthers sweatshirt and holds a tennis racket. He is an Exercise Physiology major from Princeton, WV.

Matthew Hillyer

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Exercise Physiology
Hometown: Princeton, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Community Service, Exercise Physiology Club, Prefrontal Club, YAL, Honors College mentor

Why Matthew Chose WVU: I chose WVU because of the numerous organizations on campus and the amazing programs offered through the Honors College.

Fun Fact About Matthew:

I went to the last ever Black Eyed Peas concert.

Cassidy Kidwell, a Music Education major from Shady Spring, WV, wears a guitar on a shoulder strap and holds a conducting baton and an open folder.

Cassidy Kidwell

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Music Education
Hometown: Shady Spring, West Virginia
WVU Activities: The Research Apprenticeship Program, WVU National Association of Music Educators and WVU American Choral Directors Association

Why Cassidy Chose WVU: I chose WVU initially because I wanted to go to a bigger university without going out of state. It only took one visit to WVU’s campus for me to know that Morgantown was the right place for me.

Fun Fact About Cassidy:

I do research in Musicology and also am a Teaching Assistant for the Research Apprenticeship Program!

Katie Kline, a Communication Sciences and Disorders major from Martinsburg, WV, wears a chef's hat and stirs a whisk inside a white bowl.

Katie Kline

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Minors: Special Education and Psychology
Hometown: Martinsburg, West Virginia
WVU Activities: National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (service chair representative for the 2022-2023 school year), National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Sigma Theta, National Society of Leadership and Success, Autism Speaks U

Why Katie Chose WVU: Because this was the only college campus that felt like home to me. At first I had my reservations about coming to such a large school, but after a tour of the university, I got the feeling that the students were very active in their campus community. I believed that even though the school was so big, I would still feel seen. I will never forget on one of my tours of campus, the tour guide said, “Don’t let the size of the student population fool you. Though WVU has a large number of students on campus, this school will make you feel like you are so much more than just a number.” After six semesters here at WVU, I couldn't agree more!

Fun Fact About Katie:

I won a hoverboard playing bingo at WVUp All Night, but I still have yet to master riding it!

Caitlin Mead, an English and Psychology major from Wheeling, WV, holds a pink yoga mat and a program from Hamilton.

Caitlin Mead

Pronouns: she/her
Majors: English and Psychology
Hometown: Wheeling, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Research, tutoring, student organizations, Student Government Association, teaching assistant

Why Caitlin Chose WVU: I chose WVU for a number of reasons! My family has a strong connection with the university, I and felt excited to make it a part of my own story. I have also lived in West Virginia my entire life, too! Most of all, I felt welcome on campus and curious to explore all of the wonderful opportunities and experiences that WVU has to offer. The rest is history!

Fun Fact About Caitlin:

I have two middle names, and they both start with the same letter!

Maddie Miller, an English major from Fairmont, WV, wears a "There's Romance in Books" T-shirt and holds a stack of books in her left hand. She holds open a copy of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" in her right hand.

Maddie Miller

Pronouns: she/her
Major: English
Minors: Women's and Gender Studies and Spanish
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Research Apprenticeship Program, College Dems, Her Campus

Why Maddie Chose WVU: I’m from West Virginia and I want to work in West Virginia, so it only seemed right that I get my degree here as well.

Fun Fact About Maddie:

I teach tap dancing.

Madison Moonen, a Communication Studies major from Morgantown, WV, holds a gold pom pom in one hand and a horn in the other.

Madison Moonen

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Communication Studies
Hometown: Morgantown, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Mountaineer Marching Band - The Pride of West Virginia, Mountaineer Pep Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Sigma Alpha Iota, ACCESS Early College Program Ambassador, Undergraduate Admissions Student Ambassador

Why Madison Chose WVU: I chose WVU because it has always been a dream of mine to play in the Mountaineer Marching Band and represent the state of West Virginia.

Fun Fact About Madison:

I have a cat named Louie who likes to play fetch!

Seth Mullins, a TESOL major from Madison, WV, smiles while hold a guitar.

Seth Mullins

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Danville, West Virginia
WVU Activities: West Virginia Environment and Society Lab

Raymond O'Neil, a Biochemistry major from Jim Thorpe, PA, displays the number four on his gold WVU jersey.

Raymond O'Neil

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Statistics
Hometown: Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
WVU Activities: Greek Life, trying to join research in the fall

Why Raymond Chose WVU: The university is in such a beautiful area and there are so many opportunities to succeed.

Fun Fact About Raymond:

I have never been on a plane.

Katie Scott, an Exercise Physiology major from Brandywine, WV, wears a Mountaineer Maniacs foam finger and holds a Bob Huggins figurine.

Katie Scott

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Exercise Physiology
Minors: Scholastic Coaching and Strength and Conditioning
Hometown: Brandywine, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Mountaineer Maniacs Executive Board, Exercise Physiology Club, research

Why Katie Chose WVU: WVU was the perfect balance of good academics and sporting events for me. I love the culture at WVU, and as soon as I stepped on campus, I knew I was home.

Fun Fact About Katie:

One of my favorite hobbies is crocheting.

Adia Seigneur, a Mental Health and Addiction Studies major from Columbus, Ohio, wears a Care Bear shirt and holds

Adia Seigneur

Pronouns: she/her, he/him, they/them
Major: Mental Health and Addiction
Minor: LGBTQ Studies
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
WVU Activities: Greek Life - Alpha Omega Epsilon, WVU Student Government

Why Adia Chose WVU: WVU felt like home the moment I stepped on campus. I never planned to go to WVU, but after touring the campus I fell in love with everything the school had to offer!

Fun Fact About Adia:

My favorite color is pink.

Landon Tucker, an International Studies major from Grafton, WV, wears a "Pan Life" T-shirt and holds a set of drumsticks and a Fleetwood Mac Rumours record.

Landon Tucker

Pronouns: he/him
Major: International Studies
Minor: World Music
Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia
WVU Activities: WVU Steel Band, Hands of the World Ensemble, Honors College, Honors Student Association

Why Landon Chose WVU: Morgantown has always felt welcoming to me as a person; I felt a sense of belonging at WVU that I didn’t feel anywhere else.

Fun Fact About Landon:

I am an avid record collector!

Maxwell Turnwald, an Environmental, Soil and Water major from Pittsburgh, PA, wears a WV Student Grotto shirt and hardhat. He is holding gear used for caving.

Maxwell Turnwald

Pronouns: he/him
Major: Environmental, Soil and Water Science
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
WVU Activities: WVU Student Grotto, Horticulture Club, Outdoor Adventure Club

Why Maxwell Chose WVU: I fell in love with the campus and how close it is to so many outdoor activities.

Fun Fact About Maxwell:

I'm the vice chairman of the WVU Student Grotto.

Rissell Velarde, an Environment and Energy Resources major from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, holds an alpaca stuffed animal wearing a WVU bandana.

Rissell Velarde

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Environmental and Energy Resources Management
Minor: Geology
Hometown: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
WVU Activities: Mi Gente, Student Government Association, RISE WVU

Why Rissell Chose WVU: I chose to attend WVU because when I searched for college options WVU was outstanding. The campus has characteristics that I did not see in others. Outdoor leisure activities and research on the energy industry, geology, geography and environment were a perfect match for me. And the fact that the campus felt like a safe place was essential. Also, locals and families in Morgantown are very warm and welcoming people.

Fun Fact About Rissell:

My freshman year was the very first time I saw and played with the snow. Cliff camping is on my bucket list.

Hannah Warden, a Public Health major from Cross Lanes, WV, wears a black and white cowboy hat and holds a "What Would Dolly Do" sign.

Hannah Warden

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Public Health with an emphasis in Community and Population Health
Minor: Communication Studies
Hometown: Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Why Hannah Chose WVU: As both of my parents are alumni from WVU, Morgantown has always felt like a second home. Being a native to the state, I love seeing how influential the Flying WV logo is and genuineness that comes from everyone you meet here.

Fun Fact About Hannah:

I love spending my free time kayaking or shopping!

Molly Wolfe holds a camera while wearing an orange and black Bengals jersey and hat. She is an Art Education and Photography major from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Molly Wolfe

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Art Education with an emphasis in Photography
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
WVU Activities: Pi Beta Phi, Order of Omega, College of Creative Arts Ambassador, Art Education Preservice Club, Panhellenic

Why Molly Chose WVU: It immediately felt like home and everyone was so welcoming.

Fun Fact About Molly:

I used to volunteer at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Natalie Wonsettler, a Biology major from Morgantown, WV, reads "Daisy Jones & The Six" by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Natalie Wonsettler

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Biology
Minors: English and Medical Humanities and Health Studies
Hometown: Morgantown, West Virginia
WVU Activities: Summer Undergraduate Vision Research Fellowship at the WVU Eye Institute, applying to the Honors EXCEL program, Appalachian Prison Book Project, UNICEF, WVU Pre-Medical Club, Honors mentor, Eberly Writing Studio Consultant

Why Natalie Chose WVU: Being from Morgantown, WVU has always felt really personal to me, and a part of me has felt like I've been a Mountaineer all my life. I remember taking field trips in elementary school to watch a play at the Creative Arts Center, and attending Girl Scout events at the Mountainlair when I was young. Even my elementary school would encourage us to wear WVU shirts on Fridays (in support of Saturday football games). It feels like WVU has been in the background of all stages of my life, and so when it came time to decide on a college, I knew what felt right. I knew it was time to move WVU to the foreground. I was excited (and still am!) to go to a large school with so many accommodating resources, opportunities, connections and organizations that allow me to get the most out of my college experience. I have the chance to explore all of my interests, and to uncover all the things I’ve yet to discover about myself. It was also really important for me to go to a university that felt like home. (And still does.)

Fun Fact About Natalie:

I love poetry! My favorite poem is "Having a Coke with You" by Frank O'Hara.

Maria Zakir, an Industrial Engineering major from Karachi, Pakistan, clutches a stuffed animal, sketchbook and a book titled "The Story of My Life."

Maria Zakir

Pronouns: she/her
Major: Industrial Engineering
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
WVU Activities: Pakistani Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Biomedical Engineering Society, Creative Writing Club, International Student Association, Resident Assistant

Why Maria Chose WVU: The scholarship and involvement opportunities, and the fascination with the landscape and infrastructure here, I really wanted to experience.

Fun Fact About Maria:

I am really artsy! I paint, sketch and write non-fictional creative and poetry. I have an Instagram blog profile called and I could describe you like a piece of art if you want!