BHC Spotlight: Jenna Whitener, '21

Major/Minor: English & History with a minor in Psychology
Hometown: Clemmons, North Carolina

Jenna Whitener, '21

Why did you choose the BHC?
I chose the Batten Honors College because of the unique opportunity it presented me. As a field hockey player, I knew part of the campus coming in, but the BHC gave me the opportunity to meet people with diverse interests and backgrounds that shared a passion for education. Becoming a part of the BHC gave me the chance to step outside of my own interests and find people to connect with that had different passions and hobbies than mine. I am all about a community lifestyle, and the BHC presented me with the chance to be a part of two awesome, but very different communities.

What benefits have you gained from the BHC
The BHC has given me a mini community within the larger community of VWU. It has also allowed me to broaden my education and perspective through the honors courses each semester and discover new interests. The BHC has benefitted me because it has fostered my love of learning and has taken it to a new level by allowing me to pursue interests outside my chosen field of study. It also provided me with the opportunity to study abroad for three weeks, which was an experience that changed my life.

Highlight a specific research, internship, or study abroad experience(s).
Through the Honors College, I was able to take a class that traveled to Iceland to learn about the geology there. Without the BHC, I would have never thought I would step foot in that little island country.

How did the BHC curriculum or program prepare you for this experience?
The BHC prepared me for my study abroad experience in many ways. Not only was the trip paid for by the BHC (something that would be a large hindrance to my chance to study abroad otherwise), but previous honors courses prepared me for the trip. Freshman year we were required to take Complex Global Challenges (CGC), a science orientated course, and Topics in Leadership and Literature (TLL), an English based course. These two courses were very different, but they both prepared me for the curriculum style of the Iceland course and the realities of visiting a different culture. CGC familiarized me with the lingo of the science world and provided me with a deep understanding of the impact of water, which is the foundation of all life, especially in Iceland. TLL provided me with the knowledge of struggle in our own society, but more importantly, equipped me with the tools to discuss strife and conflict in a respectable way.

What do you hope to achieve/gain from this experience?
The Iceland course I took completely changed my perspective on life. I was passionate about conservation and the environment before, but my study away increased that passion tenfold. Seeing the way the people of Iceland rely so deeply on nature, but how they appreciate it made me understand how important it is to try and clean up the mess we have made of our planet. I also gained a deeper friendship with those in my BHC cohort. Most importantly, the experience gave me a larger world view, which will benefit me for the rest of my life.

List of things involved with on campus (sports teams, clubs, academic competitions/teams, positions held and description of duties)
I am a part of the VWU field hockey team

List any awards, recognitions, and/or conference presentations

  • Dean’s List
  • President’s List

I was recognized in field hockey as:

  • 2017 Division III Scholar of Distinction
  • 2017 Zag Field Hockey/NFCHA Division III National Academic Squad
  • 2018 NFCHA Division III National Academic Squad
  • 2018 Division III Scholar of Distinction

I am a member of:

  • Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society
  • Sigma Tau Delta Honors Society
  • Chi Alpha Sigma Honors Society

Anything else you would like to share about your experiences with BHC
The BHC has given me so many opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, and I am so incredibly thankful to be a part of it!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me using the info below:

Jenna Whitener
Instagram: @jennawhitener