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b2ap3_thumbnail_Seth-Polk.jpgSeth Polk, a Waynesburg University biology alumnus and a first-year student at Eastern Virginia Medical School, has been inspired by the health sciences and fields involving laboratory research his entire life. Although he deems it both a blessing and curse, as a child, Seth was constantly plagued with injury (a majority sports-related) that caused him to spend an unimaginable amount of time in hospitals.

“As a result of growing up in hospitals, the hospitals grew on me,” he said.

Polk is pursuing a master’s in biotechnology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and also plans to seek his Ph.D.  Upon completion of his education, Polk has an interest in joining the United States Navy, providing service to a country that he says “has given so much to [him].”

Polk comes by his desire to serve his country from the example set by his father, a retired United States Navy Lieutenant Commander who gave 25 years of service to his country. As a result of growing up in a “Navy family,” Polk recognizes the impact of the opportunities that potentially await him.

“The armed forces provide vast and advantageous resources for health care research,” he said.

His desire to research in the field of cell biology in relation to immunological responses can be attributed to his mother’s recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

“She gives me inspiration,” he said.

Polk undoubtedly hopes that his work will one day “uncover a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.”

Polk credits his Waynesburg University education for his preparation for graduate school and beyond.

“Waynesburg prepared [me for my future] by providing excellent practical laboratory experience while maintaining strong lecture of underlying theory,” he said.

Polk also credits unmatched professors and dedicated mentors for his research skills, his understanding of the scientific process and “the push required to mature in the laboratory sciences.”

As for his Waynesburg University experience as a whole, Polk sums it up with one word — responsibility.

"Responsibility is the word I think of when I see the Seth Polk of today versus the Seth Polk of four years ago, and I have Waynesburg to thank for that characteristic,” he said.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Rachel-Lovely.jpgThree items topped Rachel Lovely’s wish list when it came to making a decision for her undergraduate career. Her list — a solid education, a personal relationship with her professors, and an environment that would allow her to study what she loved while playing the sport she enjoyed — has proven to have contained all the appropriate qualifications to prepare her for a successful future.

“Waynesburg offered me this and then some,” she said.

Lovely, a Waynesburg University biology alumna and a first-year student at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is working toward her medical degree with the hope of one day becoming a surgeon.

The combination of growing up in a medical family and discovering her love of science has allowed Lovely to recognize her calling.

“My father is a podiatrist, so I really got a first-hand look at the humanistic side of medicine from a young age. I've wanted to be a doctor since I can remember, but when I found my niche in science, I knew it was the field I was called to,” she said.

During her college summers, Lovely periodically volunteered in the operating room, and during her junior year, she was part of an internship program called Mentoring in Medicine. These experiences revealed a more specific path and kindled her interest in the surgical field.

“There was always something magical about the operating room. It was the one place, that I saw anyway, that it was just you and the patient, no distractions. I really liked that unwavering focus,” she said.

Lovely said her Waynesburg education, coupled with the close-knit relationships with her professors, are largely responsible for paving the way to where she is today.

“I cannot boast enough about [Waynesburg University’s] Biology Department,” she said.

Specific mentions of Dr. Christopher Cink, associate professor of biology, Dr. Bryan Hamilton, professor of biology, Dr. Chad Sethman, associate professor of biology, and Marietta Wright, assistant professor of biology, further demonstrate the emphasis and importance Lovely places on relationships and how they aid success.

Lovely said that through these professors, whom she refers to as geniuses, she learned how to truly understand, not just memorize, the information taught in class. She also credits humor and dedicated mentoring for the extent of her learning.

Along with her positive experiences with faculty, Lovely credits the culture of learning at Waynesburg University for the growth she has experienced.

“Waynesburg challenged why I did things, what I believed, and even how I thought. I really liked that. It allowed me to have a deeper understanding of science, religion, psychology and just interacting with people in general. I went from Roman thinking, ‘how do you,’ to thinking more like a Greek, ‘why do you’,” she said.

In addition, Lovely said her four years at Waynesburg helped her to “have a deeper understanding of what Christianity meant personally."

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Nick-Farrell.jpgFrom the time he was 5 years old, Nick Farrell could be found enthusiastically recreating the action he witnessed during Steeler football games on his homemade football field mat using plastic football helmets. His colossal imagination and his love of being in front of the home video camera combined to create a confident response to the all-too-familiar question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

More than 15 years later, Farrell, a 2015 communication and sports broadcasting/sports information alumnus, is a Monongalia and Preston County reporter at WBOY in Clarksburg, West Virginia, which comes as no surprise to those who know him best.

Farrell, a self-proclaimed one-man band, shoots video, conducts interviews, edits packages and writes scripts for anchors for three to four stories per day. In addition to possessing the array of skills necessary to tackle the aforementioned, Farrell takes note of how his own college experiences prepared him for his career.

“At Waynesburg, I was able to grow both as a writer and as a broadcaster. Being well-rounded in that regard makes me more confident in my approach at WBOY,” he said.

For Farrell, his time spent on the staff of the Yellow Jacket, Waynesburg University’s student-run newspaper, helped to prepare him for the fast-paced environment at a pro newsroom.

“I learned how to schedule my time, juggle heavy workloads and adjust to last-second changes at the Jacket. All of those skills are necessary — only now, it's on a daily basis,” he said.

Passionate about his field and the opportunities it presents, Farrell looks forward to using it as a vehicle to make a difference in the world.

“What journalism is, to me, is reporting the facts and answering questions. It's about telling the stories that will impact lives. It's about doing your homework, gathering information and presenting it in a way that makes the viewer ponder the information they just ingested,” he said. “If a story I write moves a viewer, informs a viewer or causes a viewer to think critically about a subject, then I've done my job. I take pride in that responsibility, knowing that viewers in our region rely on our newsroom to provide them with the information they desire.”

Farrell credits his Waynesburg education and accomplished faculty for his current position, and recognizes that his personal growth is just as valuable as the academic degree he received.

“Waynesburg is the place that confirmed my passion and helped me begin to realize the dream I first dreamt as a 5 year old,” he said. “At Waynesburg, I discovered how truly blessed I am to have a family that loves me, friends that support me and instructors who invested time in me.”

Although being a play-by-play announcer is his ultimate career goal, Farrell said he’s happy with where he is right now and grateful for the journey that has led him to this point.

“I'll never know what my life would look like if I had chosen to attend another college,” Farrell said. “Somehow, though, I have a feeling that my life wouldn't be as fulfilling as it is.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Josh-Dains_20150617-173735_1.jpgJoshua Dains, a 2015 business management alumnus, is employed as a financial analyst at Mylan Pharmaceuticals in Morgantown, West Virginia.

As a company that is focused on providing the world’s 7 billion people with access to high-quality medicine, Dains said he is blessed to daily witness the passion of a group of people running a business that saves lives and provides jobs.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” he said. “I am able to use my education and apply it to my role as a financial analyst, knowing full well that the work I am doing is helping people across the globe.”

Dains responsibilities include running through a variety of scenarios and figuring out which propositions make the most business sense for the company, as well as analyzing historical data.

Although a large portion of his current success has come from lessons learned in the classroom, Dains said his undergraduate career was much more comprehensive.

“I feel as though my time prepared me very holistically,” he said. “I was able to receive a great education, but I also feel like my time at [Waynesburg University] was made exceptional by being able to be involved in a multitude of organizations.”

Dains said his involvement allowed him to develop people skills and learn how to work with individuals with conflicting views.

“I am able to rely on those past experiences. Whether at school or the workplace, people are everywhere. I feel like Waynesburg taught me how to handle all of these interactions and thrive in all environments,” he said.

Additionally, Dains participated in eight service trips during his time at Waynesburg University, adding even more dimension to his undergraduate experience. Teamwork, communication skills and growth in his faith are among the additional life lessons that Dains said he knows he will carry with him into the future.

“I now feel as though I can walk comfortably in my faith wherever I go, and much of that feeling can be credited to these trips,” he said.

Also contributing to Dains’ holistic experience is the value that Waynesburg University places on proficient and student-centered faculty members. Dains specifically credits Dr. Gordon McClung, professor of marketing, for challenging him throughout his journey.

“He is able to connect with students in the classroom, posing questions that he knew we would soon face in the real world,” Dains said. “He also tested us out of the classroom, going the extra mile to help us with career advice and allowing us to learn from his experiences in the professional world.”

Although Dains holds a lengthy list of lessons and skills he’s gained from his undergraduate experience, he places more value on the one that has taken him some time to grasp.

“I feel that because of Waynesburg University, I have developed the passion for leading and helping others. Going into college, I did a decent amount of volunteer work, but I never really understood the full picture. I didn’t realize exactly why I was doing it, other than it sounded like the right thing to do, until I got to Waynesburg. I can now tie it in with my faith knowing that I can serve in an office setting just as much as at an orphanage,” he said. “Service to people is needed everywhere, and that is the biggest thing I’ve taken away from Waynesburg University.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Bethany-Orndoff.jpgAs a little girl, Bethany Orndoff never looked forward to missing school when she was sick. In fact, sick days made her sad. The sadness stemmed from her love of learning, and the emotion would soon prove to be an indicator of her future career.

“I chose to be a teacher because I've known that's what I've wanted to be for as long as I can remember,” she said.

Knowing how much she enjoyed math and inspired by Rebecca Wilson, her high school math teacher and fellow Waynesburg University alumna, Orndoff continued to walk the path that would ultimately lead her to her beloved career.

Currently teaching grades 9 through 11, Orndoff is responsible for creating and implementing lesson plans and making changes as she sees necessary based on the needs of her students.

Recognizing the importance of her position, Orndoff strives each day to be a light to each student.

“The great thing about being a teacher is the amount of lives I will impact. Right now, I see just fewer than 100 students a day — imagine the amount of students I will have seen in 10 years! To be a part of a student's life is something I will always cherish,” she said.

In teaching, Orndoff said she also identifies the opportunities to be a mentor.

“Students come to me with questions, and I am there to give advice,” she said.

Orndoff genuinely enjoys her students and is grateful for a career that allows her the opportunity to experience something new each day.

“I enjoy waking up and going to my classroom and greeting my students as they walk in,” she said. “I am the teacher that has a smile on her face every day, in every class, and I am smiling because I know that I'm where I belong.”

Partial to her alma mater, Orndoff said that she believes “only the best come from Waynesburg University.”

“The reason for that is how well the University prepares us for the real world,” she said. “I had all of the tools necessary to succeed, and that's what I did. I was able to secure a job and started the day after graduation. In the education field, that is unheard of."

Orndoff specifically credits Debra Clarke, assistant professor of education and chair of the Department of Education at Waynesburg University, and Yvonne Weaver, certification officer & field placement coordinator at Waynesburg University.

“They helped me evolve into a professional educator,” she said. “I have always turned to them for advice and their doors are always open for me. Their leadership and mentoring have allowed to me to be where I am today, and I am forever grateful."

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