Mojave Desert Provides Subject for Many

BYU students from a variety of disciplines gather on the Mojave Desert to learn about insects, art, and writing.


PROVO, Utah (June 19, 2014)—The Spring 2014 Mojave Desert – Insects, Art and Writing study abroad program allowed students to not only fulfill BYU courses in entomology, technical communication and drawing, but also to study the desert creatures, write their experiences and create works of art.

Under the direction of BYU faculty C. Riley Nelson, biology; John Bennion, English; Mark Graham, visual arts; and Kheng Lim, studio arts, students collected insects, analyzed them under microscopes, and wrote and illustrated a 140-page field guide. They also took time to read Henry David Thoreau and Edward Abbey and record their thoughts and feelings through writing and art.

Jessica Powers, a senior majoring in biology education, said, “What we really got out of it was a deeper understanding of art and science by learning about them together – we came to see the bugs as works of art. A lot of us are education majors, so we saw how we can use art to better teach science.”

The six weeks of work culminated in an exhibit, located in the art wing on the west side of the third floor of the Jesse Knight Building, and in a field guide to be published this fall.

For more information on study abroad programs offered at BYU, visit the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.

—Stephanie Bahr Bentley BA English ’14