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WVU Tech announces 2022 first-year student excellence award winner

WVU Tech has announced the nominees and the winner of the First Year Student Excellence Award for 2022. There were three nominees this year.

The award acknowledges one student who embodies academic excellence, outstanding leadership, involvement in their community and positively representing the university. The winner will speak at the convocation ceremony in August, which will welcome the next class of new students.

This award is the top honor for first year WVU Tech students, and awardees are announced annually.

This year’s nominees were Grace Tharp of Beckley, West Virginia, Griffin Holbert of Poca, West Virginia and James Peyatt of Camden on Gauley, West Virginia. Holbert is this year’s award recipient.

Holbert is an electrical engineering major. He has been a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) since he started at Tech in the fall of 2021. He was elected president of the club for the spring 2022 and fall 2022 semesters. Since leading the club, he has focused on community outreach and teaching kids in local schools about engineering. Holbert is a National Science Foundation Success Scholar, a program that allows him to work closely with his engineering professors and provides leadership and entrepreneurial experiences.

Tharp is a psychology major and a member of the psychology club. She also holds two jobs off-campus, working in retail and at a psychologist’s office locally. She also tutors elementary students in math and reading. Tharp plans to pursue a Ph.D. and become a clinical psychologist.

Peyatt is a civil engineering major and member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a member of the Student Activities Board (SAB) on campus and is planning to run for president of SAB. Peyatt has been heavily involved in community service and completed 200 hours of community service before he graduated high school. He has continued that service while a student at Tech, volunteering for Sisters in Christ, the Beckley Armory and other service projects through Tech.