(WVU Photo/Hunter Tankersley)
Patrick Orsagos, a senior journalism student at the College of Media, has been named Mr. Mountaineer, a prestigious, Mountaineer Week award that recognizes exemplary academic achievement and extracurricular involvement. Orsagos won the title during halftime of the WVU-Texas Tech football game on Nov. 9 at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The tradition of Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer began in 1958 and includes a rigorous application process that is only open to seniors and graduate students. The application includes two essay questions that are reviewed by a panel of judges who select five male and five female finalists. A second panel interviews the finalists to choose a winner.
“Once I learned what the Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer award was, I knew I wanted to apply,” said Orsagos. “I've been fortunate enough to know finalists in 2017 and 2018 and they were all people I really admire. I hope to live my life like those people do, so when I was chosen as a finalist, it felt very surreal that I was now being honored the way they were. Winning is an even greater honor.”
Orsagos, a native of Avon, Ohio, is a member of the Honors College and serves as a student ambassador for the College of Media. He is the president of WVU Friends of Literacy, president of the WVU Student Media Coalition and volunteers his time as an English as a Second Language tutor with the Literacy Volunteers of Monongalia and Preston Counties.
Orsagos realized at a young age that he loved to tell stories, so majoring in journalism was a logical choice that was solidified during a class with Teaching Assistant Professor Mary Kay McFarland.
“I took Professor McFarland's multimedia storytelling class and absolutely fell in love with journalism,” said Orsagos. “I was able to connect with people around the state to help them tell their stories and it fueled my passion for journalism. Professor McFarland helped me realize how much of a privilege it is to be a journalist and to be able to give a voice to the voiceless.”
Orsagos is also a student journalist for Women Beyond Bars, a reporting and advocacy communications project between the Reed College of Media and the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The project is an investigation into the causes and effects of the mass incarceration of women in West Virginia's prisons and jails.
“Patrick has emerged as one of the project's leaders to whom other students come for advice on contacts and places to find data and information,” said McFarland, project coordinator. “He is also someone with whom formerly incarcerated women have shared their stories easily because they can tell he cares about them. He is at the point in his vocation where the grades for his work are not his motivation, and that is a joy to see.”
Orsagos is currently enrolled in the 4+1 journalism program at the College, anticipating graduating in May 2021 with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Journalism. He hopes to pursue a career in multimedia journalism, combining his love of writing, video storytelling and data journalism.