BHC Spotlight: Kitana Finley, '21

Major/Minor: Chemistry & Mathematics (BS)
Hometown: Fredericksburg, Virginia

Kitana Finley, '21

Why you chose BHC (beyond the scholarship benefit)
On May 1, 2017, I was deciding between Virginia Wesleyan and a large public university for my college. I was leaning toward the large public university because I thought I needed to go to a big school to get a good education. So, I called the university and tried to reach them. They did not answer even though their office hours said they were still open. This was the moment that I decided to go to Virginia Wesleyan University because throughout the whole recruitment, competition, and school visits, I felt wanted and that I would be a vital part of the community. The staff at VWU made me feel important and needed. They were always there to answer questions or concerns. So, the reason beside the scholarship and study away trip that I decided to come to Virginia Wesleyan University is that being a part of a small liberal arts university gives me experiences that I wouldn’t get at a big school and made me feel vital to the community.

What benefits have you gained from the BHC
Through the BHC I have gained many friendships that I expect to last post-graduation. I have also gotten many opportunities like internships, research, jobs, and friendships that wouldn’t necessarily be the easiest to get elsewhere.

Highlight a specific research, internship, or study abroad experience(s).
One experience that I found especially beneficial was my trip to Iceland. This was an amazing opportunity as I got to experience the culture of Iceland while hiking and learning about the Viking heritage of the Icelandic people. We went hiking most days to explore the vast geography of Iceland (it’s on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge) while also talking to our fellow peers and the Icelandic people.

How did the BHC curriculum or program prepare you for this experience?
The BHC curriculum helped prepare me for this experience by teaching me how to incorporate and learn about multiple topics at the same time. Throughout the first two years, we took many classes where many subjects were presented. For example, the game theory class taught us how to view game theory with a political science view. This helped when I was in Iceland because I saw how the geography of the country shaped the Viking heritage. The vast grasslands of Iceland allow the people/Vikings to rely on the goats and rams of the country and their byproducts. Without the BHC curriculum, I do not think I would have appreciated the beauty and the complexity of Iceland as much.

What do/did you hope to achieve/gain from this experience?
When I went to Iceland, I hoped to go to a beautiful country, eat good food, and have fun. But when I was there, I experienced so much more. I learned about their history, experienced their culture, and got to talk to amazing people and learn their stories. So, the experience was more than I imagined!

List of things involved with on campus (sports teams, clubs, academic competitions/teams, positions held and description of duties)

  • Varsity Track/Field: Thrower (shot put, discus, and hammer) – 2017
  • Comparative Analysis of Nitrate in Natural Water research project for analytical chemistry –  2019
  • Treasurer and member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon (chemistry honors society) from Spring 2019 - present
  • Completed a service learning (120 hrs over 12 weeks) with the American Red Cross (Summer 2020)
  • Research project on calculating the trace metal concentrations in the drinking water around campus using an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) – Spring & Fall 2020
  • President and Founder of Virginia Wesleyan University American Red Cross Club – Fall 2020
  • Member of Science Club
  • Member of American Chemistry Society (ACS)
  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma
  • Resident Assistant (2019-present)
  • Teaching assistant for Physics 221 and 222 (2019-present)
  • Tutor for Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Physical Science (2018-present)

List any awards, recognitions, and/or conference presentations

  • Went to the Gamma Sigma Epsilon’s 48th Biennial Convention and Centennial Celebration in Fall 2019 as a voting delegate
  • Presented my game theory project on “Should Feminine Products be Taxed as Luxuries” at the Honors Conference in Spring 2019
  • Accepted as an intern for the National Institute of Standards and Technology SURF internship (Summer 2020) – did not happen because of COVID-19
  • Accepted as an intern for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Richmond, VA (Summer 2020) – did not happen because of COVID-19

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

Kitana Finley
Instagram: kitana_finley