Student Snapshot: Bethany Petrunak '22

Bethany Petrunak '22 in her studio at Goodyear Gallery.

A “life-changing” scholarship brought Bethany Petrunak ’22 to Dickinson four years ago. Now the senior double major in studio art and art history is preparing for graduation after co-curating two capstone exhibitions. Below, Petrunak discusses her Dickinson experience, including a job-shadowing experience with alumni at the National Gallery.


Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Art & art history

Clubs and organizations:  

Arts Collective, Kappa Alpha Theta, The Trout Gallery, French Club and Orientation (assistant).


Dickinson-Carlisle Scholarship and Dean’s List.

Favorite book:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

Favorite movie:

Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

I participated in Dickinson’s winter job-shadow externship program and was able to work with a Dickinson alum at the National Gallery of Art. I met a lot of Dickinson alums working there and was able to see some of the inner workings of a major museum!

Favorite place on campus:

The Quarry.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Anything and everything at Cafsgiving.

Best thing about my major:

Both senior seminars for the art-history and studio-art majors culminate in a published exhibition at The Trout Gallery. These experiences are great ways to learn about all the work, decisions and prep that go into curating an exhibition.

Favorite class:

Japanese Architecture with Assistant Professor of Art & Art History Wei Ren. The class really highlighted the intersectionality of the art-history discipline and how fields of study such as environmental science, political science, history, anthropology and women’s, gender & sexuality studies are critical to the discussion and understanding of art history.

Favorite professor:

Associate Professor of Philosophy Jeff Engelhardt is my favorite professor because their extensive knowledge of and passion for philosophy (and a variety of other subjects) really comes through when they’re teaching. Not only are they a great professor, but a great mentor as well! They push students to exceed their own expectations and they are incredibly accommodating to students’ needs, especially during the pandemic.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Frida Kahlo.

Proudest accomplishment so far:

Finishing my art-history senior seminar! There is so much buildup to it as you go through the major and it was a lot of hard work. I’m excited to be on the other side of it, with an essay published and an exhibition to my name!

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

My time at Dickinson has taught me how to speak proudly and confidently about my work, both in the visual arts and in my writing for other disciplines.

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published May 16, 2022