MEET THE PEER EDUCATORS // Fall 2017
Samantha (Sam) Cornwell is from Fairfax, Virginia and graduated from Robinson Secondary School in 2014. She is part of the class of 2018 here at Virginia Tech and is pursuing a dual-degree in Biochemistry and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. She is currently the Vice President of her sorority, Chi Omega, and is most likely to be found in lab doing undergraduate research. She aspires to be a doctor, but has not yet determined whether she would like to earn an M.D. or PhD. Although she academically focuses on the hard sciences, one of her true passions lies with literature, which is why she decided to become a Reading Seminar Leader. She hopes that she can share her passion with her students while also being given the opportunity to learn and expand her knowledge of literature through discussion.
Kate Hardin is currently a freshman living in the Honors Residential Commons. She is a Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Communications major. She enjoys science but also finds English and the humanities very interesting. At the end of her college journey, Kate hopes to attend Veterinary School, as she is very passionate about animals.
Kate’s interests include cooking, reading, and home décor. She also enjoys watching movies and listening to music. She is currently the Secretary-elect of the Commons Council for next year, and she looks forward to serving the honors community in that capacity. Kate is excited to be a peer educator because she loves to share her passion of learning and looks forward to working with you!
Sara Hardy is a sophomore majoring in Marketing Management in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. She hopes to someday work for a non-profit organization where she can travel while helping others. In addition to her major, she is minoring in Psychology, which she really enjoys! In her free time, she likes to hike, read, relax with friends, drink coffee, listen to music, and volunteer. Sara participates in several different organizations on campus, including the VT Nicaraguan Orphan Fund (as co-fundraiser), VT Young Life (as a volunteer leader-in-training), Relay for Life, and VT Athletic Department (as a volunteer student athletic trainer). She comes from a big family and grew up in the country, so she is very down-to-earth, hard-working, and easy to talk to! After previously leading this seminar, she has learned a lot about teaching and is incredibly excited to lead the same seminar again! She really loves teaching, and does a great job with encouraging her students to make positive lifestyle changes that are right for them.
Samantha Hart is a Communications and Political Science double major. She is from Waynesboro, Virginia. She is involved in Sensations a Cappella, an all-female group on campus, and also works as a Hokie Ambassador, giving tours to prospective students. Samantha also works at McComas Gym where she is a facility supervisor and is pursuing a certification in personal training. On breaks from school, Samantha works as a lifeguard and as a substitute teacher in her hometown. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to either attend law school or secure a job working for a media conglomerate. She is excited to work as a peer educator to examine topics she is interested in and to connect and communicate with people she might not otherwise meet. Her favorite experience with Honors so far has been the diverse friendships she’s made and the sense of community she’s felt.
Paul Heilker is a guitar player, singer, writer, teacher, and travel enthusiast who has successfully avoided graduating from college since 1980. In high school, when all the soon-to-be English majors were reading voraciously, Paul was running very long distances or playing his guitar obsessively—and way too loudly. He has been making up for lost time ever since. He loves science fiction because of how dangerously well it illuminates the present. As Ursula LeGuin once wrote, “The science fiction writer is supposed to take a trend or phenomenon of the here-and-now, purify and intensify it for dramatic effect, and extend it into the future.” Thus, good sci-fi radically focuses our attention on matters that social and political powers would rather keep hidden. This is why two of the three books for Paul’s seminar are on the all-time top 10 list of banned books. Paul hopes to foster a culture in the Honors College where every conversation begins with “So, what are you reading?”
Briana Hila is a rising senior studying Finance with a concentration in Investment Management and CFA, and a minor in Leadership and Social Change. She has been heavily involved throughout her time at Virginia Tech—from being part of the Student Government Association, to serving as an Orientation Leader, and being a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and serving on the Panhellenic Council of Virginia Tech, she loves to stay busy and contribute to the Virginia Tech community. She also has a passion for painting and an endless love for ice cream, cats, and everything in between!
Briana has been part of Honors since sophomore year and has wanted to become more heavily involved within the program. She is excited to start serving as a Peer Educator for Fall 2017, and she cannot wait to lead a reading seminar where she is able to share her passions with others!
Tina Malhotra is a sophomore studying Business Information Technology (OSM), Management (EIT), and Economics. Tina has lived in Frederick, Maryland, San Diego, California, and Alexandria, Virginia, and is happy to add the Hokie Nation to the list. She is grateful to call herself a HRCulean and serve the Honors Residential Commons (HRC) as the Director of Communications and an Apartment Fellow for the 2017–2018 academic year. She is also a member of PUMP, the Dining Services Student Advisory Committee, and the Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Committee. In her free time, Tina enjoys doing anything Disney-related or Christmas-related, going to concerts with her sister, and of course, READING! Tina’s lifelong love of reading inspired her to become a Peer Educator. She is excited to explore different strategies in mentoring and teaching as a Reading Seminar Leader and become more involved within the Honors College outside of the HRC.
Julie Mohl is a sophomore in Electrical Engineering at Virginia Tech, and she has enjoyed being part of the Honors College since her freshman year. She hails from Fairfax County, Virginia (NOVA), and graduated from West Springfield High School. Her dream is working with electric cars and hybrids to make them a more viable option for the average family.
She has loved participating in and leading previous reading seminars because of the diverse and unique perspectives that each member brings to the discussion. Julie believes that this offers an effective mimicry of reality, because members of every major will practice communicating effectively with those from different areas of expertise. In the “Houston, We’ve Had a Problem” reading seminar, she eagerly anticipates fascinating conversations, such as biology majors describing the needs and limitations of the human body, engineering students shedding light on space technology, and business and political science majors explaining the impactful outside factors that influenced Skylab and Mir. Every student has something interesting to contribute, and she can’t wait to hear what you have to say… and she really can’t wait to talk about space!
Annmarie Taheny is a sophomore in Biological Sciences and has been a part of the Honors College since her freshman year. Annmarie is a resident of the Honors Residential Commons and is pursuing minors in Entomology as well as Medicine & Society. She is from Lynchburg, Virginia, and she is currently leading the reading seminar “Houston, We’ve had a Problem” with Julie Mohl. She has enjoyed taking reading seminars in the past and is looking forward to the new experience of leading one. Through this reading seminar, she hopes to bring her knowledge of biology to help bring human context to space disasters and failures. She similarly plans to apply her experiences with education as a peer educator, and she hopes to improve her teaching skills through this experience. Outside of the classroom, she is a certified scuba diver, a beekeeper, and the historian for the Alpha Rho chapter of Phi Sigma Pi national honor fraternity.