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Katelyn Thornton named Catamounts Climb Higher award recipient at Potomac State

Lucas Taylor, Katelyn Thornton, and Chris Gilmer

Katelyn Thornton, a sophomore business technology major from Bedford, Pa., was recently chosen as the September 2022 Catamounts Climb Higher award recipient at West Virginia University Potomac State College. Interim Campus President Chris Gilmer (right) and Dean of Student Experience Lucas Taylor presented her with the award.

According to those who nominated her, “Katelyn Thornton, a business technology major from Bedford, Pa., is the perfect student to receive the Catamounts Climb Higher award. She is currently in her second year at West Virginia University Potomac State College and has come a long way since her first semester.”

“My first semester here I was faced with many challenges that most freshmen have, homesickness, not many friends and a tough time adjusting to the college environment. I mostly kept to myself and made classes my only priority. I did not attend programs or anything outside of classes, and I did not make many friends my first semester,” Thornton said. 

Just before the spring semester of 2022, a friend mentioned to Thornton the possibility of her serving as a resident assistant in University Place, and she soon discovered the direction she wanted her life to take and decided to make the most of her college experience. “I met so many people, became socially involved and have been blessed with so many new friends and opportunities,” Thornton said.

In addition to serving as a resident assistant, Thornton is a member of the Student Government Association where she serves as secretary and public relations officer. She  also spearheaded Campus Cup, a week-long, campus-wide program consisting of more than 10 events with such a great turnout that it has now become an annual campus event. 

She is a member of the Agriculture & Forestry Club, the Equine Club, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the Sigma Phi Omega Honor Society. Thornton also serves as the Title III Committee Student Representative and serves as a student intern for Enrollment Services, where she is a student leader for New Student Orientations and Discover PSC Days. She continues to actively ride and show horses through 4-H and works part-time at the Rocky Gap Golf Course as a pro shop attendant as well. 

“On top of work, being a full-time student and prioritizing school-related responsibilities, Katelyn attends every event she can and is always willing to assist the Office of Student Experience with various programs, including Pop-Ups and planning events,” voiced one of the individuals who nominated her. “Her outgoing and kind personality makes her more than qualified to be recognized as an outstanding member of the PSC student community.”

“Kara Hotchkiss, the coordinator of Student Engagement, has been such an amazing mentor and role model for me. She helped me through many learning curves, introduced me to new people and helped me discover new opportunities. I became more outgoing and can’t thank her enough for everything she has done for me,” Thornton said. 

Adding, “If I could give incoming students one piece of advice, it would be - don’t be afraid to get involved, there is so much this campus has to offer and being involved makes the experience ten times better. The people here want to see you do well and grow as a person and getting involved opens so many doors for you.” 

Catamounts Climb Higher award recipients are recognized for their ability to bounce back, despite encountering obstacles; for their resiliency in overcoming challenges or personal adversity; for exemplifying an outstanding work ethic inside and outside of the classroom; for practicing kindness; and for displaying a positive attitude. 

Faculty and staff at the College nominate students they believe are deserving of the award, which is given each month during the academic year. And while this award is not based on GPA, the recipient must be in good academic standing.