BETHANY, W.Va. – Three Bethany College women have been awarded Vira I. Heinz Travel Awards to continue their studies this summer in other countries.

Vira I. Heinz Travel Awards are granted to up to three sophomore or junior women who have distinguished themselves by leadership, character and scholarship and whose proposals for foreign travel most significantly supplement their educational objectives.

These awards for summer travel are provided by the fund of the late Vira I. Heinz, recipient of the honorary Doctor of Religious Education degree from Bethany College in 1969.

The three women receiving this award this year are:

Alex Campbell of Durham, N.C., an Interdisciplinary Studies major focusing on Art History/ Business.

Megan McDonald of Martinsburg, W.Va., an Interdisciplinary Studies major focusing on Biology/Psychology and Visual Art minor.

Nicole Mullen of Uniontown, Pa., an Elementary Education major and Special Education minor.

Campbell will spend two months studying in Italy. She chose to study in Italy because it is the birthplace of the Renaissance, and she has always wanted to see the famous works of art and museums located there.

"While in Italy, I would like to focus on two aspects of art history. I would like to study the evolution of Roman architecture and the famous Italian artists of the Renaissance. I also want to learn about the major artists of the Italian Renaissance. I would like to focus on Massaccio, Michelangelo, Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Ghibert and Giotto," Campbell said.

To achieve these goals, Campbell will be participating in two, three-credit hour independent study courses sponsored by Herb Weaver, Bethany College Professor of Fine Arts in the Jennie Steindorf Renner Chair of Fine Arts.

One of her courses will focus on the evolution of Roman architecture, while the other will focus on the major Italian artists of the Renaissance. In order to receive credit for the courses, Campbell must write a 20-page essay for each. She also plans to set-up a "backstage" tour of several of the museums to gain a different prospective.

"I plan to become a museum curator or to own my own gallery. With my experience, I will be able to lead people who may never have had the chance to take a closer look at the specific history of Italian art or who may have never seen any of these original works of art," Campbell said.

On the Bethany campus, Campbell is involved with the College band and choir; Student Government Association, serving as secretary; sophomore class president; Amnesty International, serving as president; French Club, serving as secretary; Photography Club, serving as vice president; and is affiliated with Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

McDonald will spend time in South Africa studying ethology – the study of animal behavior. She will participate in two courses in Greater Kruger Park – "Management of a Game Farm and Nature Reserve," and, "Skills of a Game Ranger."

This program will teach McDonald how to recognize various elements of a wild environment, what to expect from diverse species of plants and animals, and how to work effectively as a game ranger without disturbing the ecosystem in which she is working.

"Ethology, identification, safety, survival, record-keeping, rehabilitation, repopulation, poaching, conservation and more: it's all here, taught in the field by licensed game rangers over a month's time. On a daily basis, I will be exposed to one of the widest varieties of species available in one of the most well-respected nature reserves in the world," McDonald said.

She will also spend time working at a wildlife orphanage and rehabilitation center.

"I'll have the pleasure of caring for sick, injured and orphaned wild creatures in order to release them into the wild with greater chances of survival. I'll be given opportunities to spend large amounts of time in close contact with carnivores, herbivores, birds and reptiles of all ages and physical conditions, both in their natural habitat and in the rehabilitation center," McDonald said.

She continued, "Because of this continual contact, I will be able to practically apply my knowledge of biology and psychology through close observation of medical procedures and the species' behaviors. Indeed, this also greatly supports my career goals – more than can be gained by mere classroom learning."

On the Bethany campus, McDonald is a member of the French Club; Outdoors Club; International Student Association; Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity; Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society; the College choir and the Bethany Memorial Church youth group. She also serves as a biology lab proctor.

Mullen will spend nearly a month studying in Southern Peru. She chose to study there because of its history and biological aspects. Mullen found a rainforest conservation team that she immediately wanted to join and is planning to study the history of Cusco and Machu Picchu, as well as, work with a British group in the Amazon rainforest collecting data to help preserve the area.

She will also participate in a biosphere expedition to the Peru Amazon rainforest. This is a comprehensive wildlife survey concentrating on macaws, monkeys, and other large mammals.

"I will be observing macaws feeding on riverside clay lick sites and studying monkeys, tapirs, peccaries, deer, and perhaps predatory cats, from a hut inside the rainforest. I'll get to walk along jungle paths trying to spot, identify and record the animals I come across," Mullen said.

She continued, "This experience holds several meanings for me. Primarily, it is the only chance I have to experience another culture so different from our own. Also, I can learn more about the content areas by physically experiencing the rainforest and historical ruins. I have always wanted to experience some type of ancient ruins, but I never thought it would be possible. It is a dream come true."

On the Bethany campus, Mullen is involved with Circle K International; Junior Bison Child Athletic Club, serving as president; the Special Education Club; Student Literacy Association, serving as president; Student National Education Association; a Resident Advisor; a Kalon Scholar; and a disc jockey at the radio station.