Art and English honors student Rebecca Schneller ’15, credits Professor Kathie Walker-Millar, who oversaw her art honors thesis, with helping prepare her for that future. The student and professor met weekly to design and coordinate Schneller’s course of research, writings and paintings for her honors project.
“Kathy Walker-Millar is a great influence,” said Schneller. “She is really encouraging and has been willing to work with my ideas and not dictate directions, but also to push me to do my best.”
The admiration is mutual.
“Beckie Schneller is one of those students you dream of teaching in art: she meets deadlines; has initiative; and is open to reflection. As a painter, she has produced brilliant large scale still life paintings, selling paintings in the first student competition she competed in. Beckie has portrayed herself and those close to her in another series of paintings. Her work has been exhibited in area juried Intercollegiate and professional art competitions. It is exciting to see the development of her project as we meet each week.”
For her honors thesis, Schneller painted personal icons of Christian writers, missionaries and visionaries. She researched the Christians that she wanted to honor. In preparation for her project, she interviewed area portrait artists, Jill Maxwell, Tootsie Nichols and Mike Lanier, noting their techniques and media. Then she interviewed an Eastern Orthodox icon painter, Linda Fowler, learning of her painting methods and spiritual application.
Schneller wrote her research on the Christian heroes and developed sketches of them. She completed her twelve iconic images she used for her thesis and senior art exhibition
Professor of English Richard McLamore, who Schneller also credits as a strong influence in her academic life, said she is one of the most gifted student writers ever to have studied at McMurry.
“Beckie is observant, clever, and compassionate, the quality of her thinking and writing already is the equal of a skilled graduate-student or professional. Her work provides a clear example of how committed faith can lead to equally committed scholarly discoveries.”
Schneller isn’t all about the study. She was secretary for Gamma Sigma women’s social club and participates in the Art Club and Sigma Tau Delta, the English honors society. “Since I’ve been at McMurry, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know people.”
Beckie is now in an MFA Program in Painting at Stephen F. Austin University.