Women of Distinction


Jenny Guthrie (Left)

Jenny Guthrie, Fitzmorris and Mariscal


  • Volunteer Advocate for the Willow Domestic Violence Center
  • E.C. Buehler Outstanding First-Year Basic Course Instructor, 2008-‘09
  • Trustee Scholar, University of Missouri, Kansas City, 2003-‘06
  • Outstanding GTA 2009-2010 & 2010-2011, Awarded by Students in Communication Studies (Department of Communication Studies, University of Kansas)
  • Member of University of Missouri-Kansas City Arts & Sciences Alumni Board of Directors (Kansas City, MO, 2007-2008)
  • Chief Editor of Number One Magazine, (University of Missouri – Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, 2005-2006)
  • English Departmental Service Award, 2006 (Department of English, University of Missouri – Kansas City)
  • First Place Winner of Faye Kircher Public Speaking Contest, 2003 (Department of Communication Studies, University of Missouri – Kansas City)
  • Heartland Exchange Club Student of the Year, 2003

How I became interested in my field:

I have always been interested in written and oral communication, but taking my first interpersonal communication class with Scott Stackhouse at the University of Missouri – Kansas City is what sold me to the field. His class literally changed my life because it made me a better communicator, but it also made me realize the power of communication within close relationships and the tremendous affects our relationships have on our health, happiness, and overall well-being. Needless to say, I immediately changed my major to communication studies after taking his class. My advisor at UMKC, Dr. Linda Kurz, as well as my professors at UMKC were also tremendously influential regarding my choice to study communication.

In addition, numerous scholars in my field have cemented my passion in communication studies by applying their research in their communities. Their examples of how to use knowledge from the field to better people’s lives makes me proud to be a part of the field of communication studies.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me:

Although every recognition means so much to me, I must say that being selected as one of the KU Women of Distinction is one of the most meaningful. When I heard of the calendar after coming to KU, I absolutely loved the meaning behind it, so it is an incredible honor to be selected.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

My mother, father, and sister (Gwen, David, and Melissa Guthrie) have been incredible role models for me. Growing up, they taught me the importance of hard work and integrity, but they also have huge hearts and demonstrate incredible kindness and generosity every day.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:

I have been extremely fortunate in life to be surrounded with fabulous mentors, teachers, and friends who have influenced my life and been very supportive. Dr. Linda Kurz really took me under her wing during my undergraduate career and provided me with valuable opportunities and knowledge in the field. She is a wonderful friend and mentor, and I will always be grateful to her!

Also, my current advisor, Dr. Adrianne Kunkel, has been tremendously influential. She serves as an excellent role model as she exemplifies using knowledge and experience for the betterment of the community. She is the epitome of a mentor, and I will always be grateful for her shining example and guidance.

My favorite KU memory:

There are so many fond memories, but the central theme of all these memories is the camaraderie I have found with the people at KU.

An important life lesson I have learned:

My dad used to tell me growing up that every day we decide what mood we want to be in. I think this is so true – it’s easy to get caught up in the little things that don’t go our way or to focus on the negative things in life. Finding the silver-linings in life and focusing on the positive is an important lesson my dad taught me early.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

I would want her to know that she should use this time to find what is really important to her. She should explore all there is to offer in order to help prepare her to do what will truly make her happy in life. Also, some of the classes that influenced my life the most were not my core classes, so follow your interest!

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The biggest crime is to throw up your hands and say, ‘This has nothing to do with me. I just want to live as comfortably as I can.’”
Ani DiFranco

Both of these quotes mean so much to me. My family taught me early on that we should always lend a hand, an ear, or whatever to help others when needed. Even everyday small acts of kindness can mean so much to others, and the world will only be a better place when we collectively work to make it so.