First Bly Family Scholar Returns from South African Excursion

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

West Virginia Wesleyan College senior biology major and business and honors minor Kaitlyn Noe, a Clarksburg, WV native, recently returned from her month-long educational excursion to South Africa that was made possible by the first Bly Family Scholarship for International Studies.

The Bly Family Scholarship Fund was established in 1991 by Suzan E. Bly ’68 in honor of her parents, Margaret and Shirley Bly, of Winchester, VA.  In 2012, the Scholarship was amended to support overseas travel.  The Bly Family Scholarship for International Studies is a permanently endowed scholarship fund intended to foster a global perspective.

During Noe’s time in South Africa, she traveled to many parts of the country including Capetown, Johannesburg, Simonstown, and Hermanus.  She completed research at Kruger National Park rehabilitating rescued, orphaned, or injured wild animals at Enkosini Wildlife Sanctuary and having hands-on encounters with game animals.  Noe collected data for ongoing conservation research and experienced firsthand how a game reserve functions at the Siyafunda Research Centre, located within the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve.

Aside from her classroom studies, which included daily lectures and homework assignments, Noe was able to participate in some activities native to the area.  She went ocean kayaking on the Indian Ocean and cage diving with Great White Sharks, open-ocean snorkeling with Humpback Whales and different species of dolphins and sharks.

“In the classroom, I learned about conservation and apex predators,” stated Noe.  “Outside the classroom, I witnessed predators in action, in their natural habitat.  I pushed my physical limits when hiking and kayaking and was touched by the openness and kindness of the locals.  I even participated in activities that terrified me, but if it scares you, it is definitely worth doing.”

Noe credits this experience to the opportunities West Virginia Wesleyan College has afforded her.

“Without the Bly Scholarship, I could never have participated in the study abroad program,” she said.  “I could not be more thankful to the staff and professors at Wesleyan for securing this funding, and for their help during the application process.  But of course, no one would be able to have these amazing experiences without donations from generous people like Ms. Bly.  I am extremely grateful.”

Recipients must be of full-time student at the College while demonstrating need and merit, be actively involved in campus activities, demonstrate leadership skills, and show potential for continued academic achievement.

Noe is currently working on her application for the Fulbright Scholarship in Bulgaria.