MEET THE PEER EDUCATORS // Spring 2018
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 she has not yet determined whether she would like to earn an M.D. or Ph.D. 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.
After becoming inducted into the Honors Program during Fall 2015 for the first semester of his freshman year, Samuel Giacinto has played an active role in the Honors College by serving on the Pamplin Leadership and Pamplin Scholar Award review boards, while balancing a rigorous course load as a computer engineer. Samuel loves to explore problems that often seem too big to solve, and think about what makes things tick. Samuel is currently a junior, and he is considering graduate school after he graduates in Spring 2019. Samuel loves going to the Virginia Tech Surplus Auction, building computers, and spending quality time with his five roommates.
Whitney is a sophomore currently majoring in Animal and Poultry Science; however, she is in the process of working to transfer into Engineering. She is from Clifton, Virginia and has been a part of the Hillcrest Community since her freshman year. She is the secretary of Oxfam here at Virginia Tech working to end hunger, poverty, and injustice locally. Whitney is also a half marathon runner and enjoys riding horses when she’s back in her hometown. She entered Honors as a first-semester freshman and has since explored taking a reading seminar as well as an honors colloquium. Her experience in previous reading seminars and honors colloquia are what excited her about being a peer educator and having the opportunity to direct interesting conversations with creative and curious minds.
Kate Hardin is a sophomore living in the Honors Residential Commons. She is a Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Communications major who enjoys science, but also finds English and humanities very interesting. Kate is from Glen Allen, Virginia, which is right outside of Richmond, Virginia. At the end of her college journey, she hopes to attend veterinary school, as she is very passionate about animals. Her interests include cooking, reading, and home décor. She also enjoys watching movies and listening to music. Kate is currently the Secretary of the Commons Council for the 2017–2018 school 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 is looking forward to working with you!
Timothy (Timmy) Miles is a junior studying Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech with minors in Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies, and Mathematics. As an academic, Timmy enjoys researching social theory, particularly in reference to how minority groups negotiate their position in society. He is also a tutor for Student Athlete Academic Support Services, and actor (most recently singing and rapping in (Be)longing), a former dancer of 10 years, and an advocate for arts education. His hope is to share his passion for the arts and social change in leading his seminar, The Social Problem Play. After Virginia Tech, Timmy hopes to work with the Peace Corps for a period, followed by earning a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a focus on Legal Anthropology.
Hannah is a second-year student in Biochemistry with minors in Medicine and Society and Creative Writing--though they would have about 5 majors and 10 minors if college worked that way. Hannah is VP of the United Feminist Movement, a peer educator through SAVES at the Women’s Center, and a radio DJ. They think it’s very important to examine critically the social structures of the world we live in, because these structures don’t treat everyone equally. They worked as an Orientation Leader this summer and found they love leading challenging conversations, and are continuing to do so this semester through SAVES, UFM, and more. They’re passionate about medicine, empathy, mental health, and music.
Katie is a sophomore biochemistry major with a double minor in chemistry and music. Ultimately, she hopes to attend grad school for a Master’s in forensic laboratory science and work as a DNA analyst. Despite pursuing a career in the sciences, Katie is an avid reader who enjoys a variety of genres of literature. Additionally, Katie is a member of the Marching Virginians Flag Corps, is a member of ValianT Winterguard, and is social chair for the Tap Ensemble at Virginia Tech. She plays the flute and has been a music lover all her life. She is spending her first year living in Hillcrest and loves the community of people she gets to live with there! She hopes that through her seminar, other students will appreciate some of her favorite authors as much as she does and appreciate the depth and quality of their novels.
Annmarie Taheny is a junior in Biological Sciences and has been a part of the Honors College since her freshman year. Annmarie is pursuing minors in Entomology as well as Medicine & Society. She is from Lynchburg, Virginia, and she has previously led the reading seminar “Houston, We’ve Had a Problem” with Julie Mohl. She has enjoyed taking and leading reading seminars in the past and is looking forward to leading another one. Through this reading seminar, she hopes to bring her knowledge of biology and her passion for ethics to help her students challenge what they think about the future of medicine. 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.
Emily Wills is a senior pursuing dual degrees in Psychology and Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Medicine and Society. She is serving as the president of the Virginia Tech chapter of Active Minds, a national non-profit organization that encourages students to speak openly about mental health and erase the stigma surrounding these issues. She also plays piccolo in the Marching Virginians during the fall and loves cheering on the Hokies! Emily has enjoyed earning honors credit by leading an Honors First-Year Seminar, participating in honors reading seminars, conducting undergraduate research with the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab, and serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Intro to Neuroscience lab classes. She is excited to now lead this reading seminar and explore topics relating to mental health with a new group of honors students!
Michael is a sophomore majoring in Math, but he tries not to let that get in the way of enjoying things that aren’t math. He’s originally from Pennsylvania, so he doesn’t go home for anything shorter than Thanksgiving break, but that’s okay, because he loves living at Tech. On campus, he finds ways to teach people math by working at the Empo and being a peer mentor for the first-year experience math course. When he’s not swamped with classwork, Michael enjoys hiking and playing board games, especially Dragon’s Tooth and unnecessarily long war games like Diplomacy. Michael will eat anything and loves forcing his friends to try new foods. He greatly appreciates interesting ideas of every kind, especially if he’s never heard them before. Having loved reading (if not understanding) challenging books his whole life, Michael is excited to tackle a few difficult ones with friends as a peer educator.
Morgan Wood is a junior studying human development with a minor in communication. She is a member of Chi Delta Alpha, a service sorority unique to Virginia Tech. Additionally, she is involved in Cru and Young Life, two campus ministries. She has been in the Honors College since her freshman year, and since then, she has taken advantage of numerous opportunities that the program offers. She can usually be found in the Writing Center working as an undergraduate coach or in one of the many coffee shops in Blacksburg. She loves her major because she gets to learn about the various aspects of childhood that go on to affect people later in life, and that is also why she chose her reading seminar topic! She frequently volunteers at local elementary schools and participated in Honors Service Learning last semester, when she traveled to the Giles County Head Start facilities to volunteer once a week. She loves kids and cannot wait to pursue a career as a school counselor in the future.