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Young Alumni Award Honorees

Below is a list of the Potomac State College of West Virginia University Young Alumni Award Honorees.

They are listed in chronological order by year inducted, (ex. year-name).

2005 - Darin K. Matlick

Darin K. Matlick graduated from Keyser High School in 1991 and attended Potomac State College (PSC) in 1996 and 1997, later earning a bachelor of science degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences from West Virginia University (WVU) in 1999. Matlick earned his doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in June of 2002.

Matlick served as clinical assistant professor and university veterinarian at WVU and PSC.   His duties at WVU and PSC included teaching courses as well as being responsible for animal health issues at the farms. Dr. Matlick serves or has served on several committees including the West Virginia University Animal Care and Use Committee, the West Virginia Beef Committee, the Wardensville Bull Test Committee, The West Virginia Beef Quality Assurance Committee, and the Mineral County Farmland Protection Committee. In addition to all of the aforementioned accomplishments, he is a member of the American and West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, The American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and the West Virginia Cattleman’s Association. He is a recipient of the Pharmacia/Upjohn award and was named “Most Outstanding Food Animal Student at Ohio State University in 2002”. 

Dr. Matlick is also the owner of Matlick Veterinary Services P.L.L.C. in Keyser, WV.

2006 - Keivette Hammond

Keivette Hammond holds an associate’s degree in physical education from Potomac State College and a bachelor’s degree in business management from West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WV Tech) where she graduated cum laude. In addition, Hammond holds a master’s degree in health and physical education with an emphasis in athletic administration from Marshall University in Huntington, WV.

Hammond was quite active during her college career, serving as president of the Herd Sports Management and Marketing Club while attending Marshall and as a resident hall assistant at both Potomac State and WV Tech. She was a starting point guard who served as captain and co-captain throughout her collegiate career and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Awards and recognitions include: the Scholar Athlete Award, the Arthur Ashe Award, MACHO Award, Sigma Phi Omega Honor Society, being named to the Dean’s List and Athlete’s Honor Roll, and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She is also a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Hammond’s previous experience includes serving as assistant coach for the women’s basketball team at WV Tech, a stint at Birmingham-Southern College and her current coaching position.

Career highlights include being named as a Big South Conference runner-up while at Birmingham-Southern and achieving a 100% player graduation rate during the 2003-2005 season.

Under Hammond’s leadership, Frederick High School achieved the rank of three in the Big South Conference in scoring defense and was number one in steals in the Conference and number two in the nation during the 2004-2005 season.

Hammond also served as a Walt Disney World Campus Representative which included promoting the Walt Disney World College Program to students on campus.

2007 - Kevin Bennear

From singing solos in church as a young lad in a small coal mining town in West Virginia, to serving as the baritone vocalist and concert moderator for “The President’s Own” United Stated Marine Band, Gunnery Sergeant Kevin Bennear has had the opportunity to not only observe history in the making, up close and personal, but to actually be a part of that same history.

Kevin has performed at the funerals and memorial services of former Presidents Ford and Reagan as they were laid to rest, has sung for two U.S. Presidents, yet acknowledges that his most memorable performing moment came while singing the National Anthem on September 11, 2002, one year following the attack on America, as President Bush unfurled the flag over the restored Pentagon.

Kevin is a regular performer at White House State Dinners where he performs for dignitaries and heads of state from around the world. He appeared on a PBS national production entitled “In Performance at the White House” with Toby Keith and Larry Gatlin, and was the featured soloist on Nightline’s July 4th 2002 production featuring “The President’s Own.”

He performed during the 2007 Memorial Day Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and with the Oak Ridge Boys during the 2007 Flag Day festivities on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Though the primary function of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band is to provide music for the President of the United States, Kevin’s responsibilities also include national tours and performing with other ensembles.

Kevin earned his associates degree from Potomac State, his bachelor’s degree in music from West Virginia University, his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee (UT) with a specialization in vocal performance, and his performance diploma from the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Kevin has performed with the UT Opera Theater, the Knoxville Opera Company, Theater West Virginia, and served as music director at Lakeside United Methodist Church in Waldorf, Maryland.

He credits his late father, a World War II veteran who entertained troops with his musical talents, with inspiring a love of music in him. He also acknowledges that the caring staff and faculty at Potomac State were not only enriching, but gave him a great cornerstone on which to build his career and future.

2008 - Ivy Guiler

Though she is only in her mid twenties, Keyser native, Ivy (Smith) Guiler has enjoyed opportunities some journalists only dream about. By the time Ivy completed her academic career at Potomac State College and the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University (WVU), she was the recipient of the Scripps Howard Scholarship, covered a presidential election and traveled to Vietnam. In addition to being one of 10 students chosen nationwide to receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Scripps Howard Foundation in 2004, Ivy was also the first WVU student to receive this award. She was also the first student at WVU to be chosen to attend the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Semester in Washington, D.C. where she covered the 2004 presidential election.

Ivy received the Kerns Fellowship as well which entailed her traveling to Vietnam for the purpose of covering the 30th anniversary of the “Fall of Saigon.”

While a student at Potomac State, Ivy served as editor of the Pasquino (the school newspaper) and was a recipient of the Stanislawczyk Scholarship. She wrote for the Mineral Daily News-Tribune in Keyser and the Cumberland Times-News. She has also written for The Dominion Post in Morgantown and The Charleston Gazette.

Ivy wrote a chapter for WVU’s student-written book, “Cancer Stories: Lessons in Love, Loss and Hope” as well, which was featured in USA Today.

2009 -  Amber Myers

Amber Myers received her associate’s degree in early childhood education from Potomac State in 2006 and earned her Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree with an emphasis in child development from WVU that same year. She earned her master’s degree in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education in December 2008 and continues to forge ahead. Myers pursued a second master’s degree in reading and received the Three-Star Directors Credentials from WVU.

Myers has worked at the Catamount Children’s Center (a childcare center in partnership with Potomac State) for the past eight years. She is the recipient of the prestigious Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL National Child Care Teacher Award which acknowledges the critical role of child care teachers in providing quality early care and education.

“My main goal is to create a learning environment for all children to grow and express themselves, “said Myers.

Her personal interests are in autism spectrum disorders and using sigh language to enhance learning in the classroom. She believes in teaching civic responsibility at an early age and has her students raise money as a class project for Cystic Fibrosis and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundations.

2010-Matthew Simmons, MD

Matthew Simmons, MD, has achieved much during his young life. Dr. Simmons graduated from Potomac State in 1999 with an associate’s degree in biology. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and doctorate of medicine from West Virginia University, performing his residency at Ruby Memorial Hospital. Dr. Simmons’ specialty is infectious diseases. His current research involves the study of HIV genotype prevalent in a small city for more than 10 years.

Dr. Simmons was a WVU Presidential Scholar, graduated summa cum laude, is a two-time recipient of the Award for Excellence in Patient Care, and received two separate commendations for excellence in patient care. He has given numerous medical presentations, submitted several abstracts and currently has two reports pending publication approval for the WV Medical Journal.

2011 - Brian Withrow

Brian graduated from Potomac State in 2000 with an associate degree in general studies. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in education and his master’s in professional education from Fairmont State University. Additionally, Brian has training in classroom assessment, balanced assessment, GLOBE, Trout in the Classroom and holds principal certification. He is active in coaching, serves as the GEAR UP Site Coordinator and works with the National Geographic Alliance at Madison Middle School where he teaches grades six through eight.

Brian also volunteers his time coaching the Golden Horseshoe team and the Geography Bowl team. Professional affiliations include membership in the National Council on Geographic Education, WV Geographic Alliance and the American Federation of Teachers.

Brian has been recognized as a team leader and was chosen as the 2011-2012 Boone County Schools Teacher of the Year.

2012-Mollie Lemon Altobello

After graduating from Potomac State (PSC) in 2001, Mollie (Lemon) Altobello attended West Virginia University’s School of Physical Therapy where she earned a master’s degree in physical therapy. Mollie began working part-time at Heartland of Keyser in 2005 and became full-time in 2010 where she currently holds the position of Director of Rehab. She has also served as a clinical instructor for the PTA program at Allegany College of Maryland and was named Clinical Instructor of the year in 2010, as well as serving as an adjunct at Allegany College from 2009-2010. While a student at PSC, Mollie was a recipient of the national Centennial Scholar Award. She also had the privilege of introducing NASA Engineer and Author Homer Hickam, Jr. who served as the keynote speaker during the College’s Centennial Gala. Mollie and her husband Chris have two sons, Luca and Enzo

2013-Amanda Compton 

Amanda Compton, EDT/LVT, is the first dual-licensed veterinary technician/equine dental technician with the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine. She is a 1999 graduate of Potomac State and a 2001 graduate of West Virginia University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

Compton also attended Lord Fairfax Community College, earning an Equine Studies Certificate and Northern Virginia Community College, earning an A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology degree, graduating ‘Magna Cum Laude’ from both.

Compton is a self-employed equine dental technician and routinely examines more than 600 horses annually. She also serves as a veterinary technician and equine nurse with Virginia Tech’s Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, VA.

Compton is a regular competitor in horse shows recognized by both the American Driving Society and the Arabian Horse Association. She is an active volunteer with the Potomac Highlands 4-H Horse Club. She assisted veterinarians during the 2010 World Equestrian Games and has served as a guest speaker on the subject of equine dentistry to various organizations.

She holds membership in the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians & Assistants, the Virginia Association of Licensed Veterinary Technicians and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians & Assistants.

Compton and her husband, Stephen, reside in Middle town, VA.

2014 - Scotty Miley

While attending Potomac State, Miley was a member of the Criminal Justice Club and Student Support Services. He was also named to the Dean’s List and participated in various intramural sports.

After earning associate degrees in criminal justice and business administration from Potomac State, Miley continued his education at WVU earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. While a student at WVU, Miley also served on the WVU Gold Cheerleading Team earning a Varsity Letter. He is a 2010 graduate of the West Virginia School of Banking and a 2011 graduate of the Lloyd P. Calvert Graduate School of Banking; both are located in Charleston, WV.

Though Miley graduated only eight years ago, he has been rather busy in his community. He is a member of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce and served as their president for two terms; he also served as a member of the Spring Mountain Festival and Pageant Committee. He is on the board of the Grant County Development Authority, the City of Petersburg Zoning Ordinance Appeals Board, the Regional Education Services Agency 8, the West Virginia School Board Association, and the Grant County Schools Steering Committee. In the 2012 election, Miley won a seat on the Grant County Board of Education and now serves as their president.

Other volunteer efforts include: little league soccer coach, little league basketball official, Science Fair judge and Social Studies Fair judge.

Miley is currently employed with The Grant County Bank where he serves as a Mortgage and Commercial Lender.

Miley and his wife, Heather, are the parents of two daughters, Brianna and Addison. He is the son of Paul and Sharon Miley and attends the Brushy Run Church of God.

2015 - Jacob McCarty

McCarty, a native of Weston, WV and a first-generation college graduate, received his associate of arts in electrical engineering from Potomac State College of West Virginia University in 2002, where he served as student body president and stage manager for two of Potomac State’s largest theater productions. While serving as student body president McCarty led a fundraiser to benefit the American Red Cross Liberty Relief Fund in aid of the 9/11 disaster relief totaling more than 25,000 dollars in just two weeks, the largest student organization fundraiser in Potomac State College’s history.

McCarty continued his education at West Virginia University where he simultaneously earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 2005. He would then apply his passion for software security as a West Virginia University graduate student, completing his master’s degree in computer science while also earning his graduate certificate in computer forensics in 2007.

During a West Virginia University career fair, McCarty caught the attention of QSS Group Inc. which led to an internship opportunity that helped him grow as a professional, while gaining a further understanding of what he had learned in school.

Since interning for QSS Group Inc., he has continued his professional development, and achieved the coveted Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential from the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC) 2. .  He has held progressively more responsible positions as a contractor providing Cybersecurity support to US Federal Government Agencies including: Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense. He is currently employed by TISTA Science and Technology Corporation.

McCarty has also dedicated more than 16 years of service as a volunteer for The American Legion Mountaineer Boys State as both the Information Technology Director and an (ISC) ² Safe and Secure Online Instructor. He devotes much of his time to celebrating veterans and American Legion affiliates. He even provides yearly training to more than 2,500 Berkley County students by teaching the proper means of handling and respecting the American Flag.

McCarty credits his professional successes to his constant community involvement, and above all else, finds that his civic envelopment is the most rewarding aspect of his blossoming career.

2016 - Abednego A. Soita

Soita graduated from Potomac State in 2005 with an associate degree in computer science. He continued his education at WVU earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering.

Soita currently serves as a senior electrical engineer and project lead engineer with JLG Industries, with whom he

has been employed since graduating from WVU.  According to their website, JLG Industries is the world’s leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of access equipment.

He collaborates with project engineers in developing timelines and major design considerations for the completion of models, develops designs for engineering and function specifications from established parameters, as well as preparing design sketches, layouts and assembly drawings.

The journey of how Soita became a student at Potomac State begins with Douglas Shaffer, MD, who serves as director of the Walter Reed Project-Kenya.  Dr. Shaffer is the youngest son of the late Dallas (faculty emeritus in political science at the College) and Jennie Shaffer.  While traveling to Kenya as a student, Dr. Shaffer met and became friends with Soita and his family.

2017 - Randi Dove

As owner of Randi Dove Farms/Broken Wheel Stables, Dove is up before dawn caring for her six horses and the many others who board at her stables.

She is the recipient of the Southern Conservation District’s Wyoming County Farm of the Year Award. She has the distinction of not only being the first female to receive this award, but also, it’s the first time a horse farm has been chosen for the award. 

Dove won the 2013 WV Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition as well, edging out more than 140 other entries. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal and nutritional sciences with a minor in equine management from WVU.

2018 - Kevin M. Griffin

In addition to majoring in accounting and finance, Kevin Griffin also served as catcher on the Catamounts baseball team.  During his two years at the College, he accumulated a .325 batting average with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs.  He is tied for sixth in homeruns for a single season record.

Kevin earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from WVU, where he also played baseball for the Mountaineers for two seasons.  The highlight of his career came in 2010 with a walk home run against Villanova University, which placed the Mountaineers in the Big East tournament.  Kevin later went on to serve as a student assistant coach focusing on hitters and catchers.

Kevin previously worked for Clear Mountain Bank, and for the Bank of Charlestown as a financial analyst.  Although he has held several roles with his present employer, JLG Industries, Kevin is currently responsible for the   financial analysis of the aftermarket parts segment.

However, Kevin’s love of baseball was always lingering, so in 2015, he turned his first wood baseball bat and had soon created a small business in his garage, Griff Bats.  He’s produced a couple hundred bats the past few   years and continues to grow the business.

In addition to supplying bats to sporting goods shops and men’s wooden bat leagues, he has also supplied and sponsored high school and American Legion tournaments.  His bats have been used by professional baseball players during the Tampa Bay Rays spring training as well.

Kevin and his wife, Megan, are the proud parents of a son, Parker.

2019 - Kevin R. Clark

Clark has served as the executive director of the Mineral County Development Authority since 2014. He directs all aspects of the development authority’s operations including strategic planning and implementation, program development, marketing, industrial park acquisitions and development, brownfields clean up, and coordination of incentive packages.

While in this role, Clark has coordinated a complete restructuring of the development authority’s operations resulting in a significant increase in revenue and growing the department from one to three employees. He also implemented an IRS 170 Charitable Exchange Transaction to negotiate the purchase of a warehouse appraised at $11 million for $1 million. Additionally, the warehouse had monthly revenue of $56,000. Clark also implemented a business retention and expansion program resulting in 830 new jobs and an investment of more than $100 million.

Clark is currently the co-owner of JBAK LLC, a Subway franchise in Fort Ashby, W.Va., and owner of Clarkments Student Housing and Clark Construction, both in Keyser, W.Va. He served as manager of Whisner Construction in New Creek, W.Va. from 2010 to 2013. He was a partner of Premier Homes and Development LLC that he started in 2016 and sold in 2017. He served as a project manager for Ridgecrest Investments, in Frederick, Md., from 2009-2010, involving the redevelopment of a former hospital with 340,000 square feet into commercial units. 

Clark is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute. He plans to take the Certified Economic Development Professional (CEcD) exam in the spring of 2020.

He is also a 2009 graduate of WVU Potomac State College having earned a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree in business management.