Women of Distinction


Libby Johnson (Far Right)

Jackson, Ritter, Pavicic and Johnson


  • Student Body President
  • Organized Fundraising Projects that raised $5,200 for Court Appointed Special Advocates as Philanthropy Chair of Kappa Alpha Theta, 2010
  • Coordinator, Jubilee Cafe Breakfast Kitchen, 2009
  • University Honors Program
  • Four-year Student Senator
  • Campus Safety Advisory Board Chair
  • Alternative Breaks Site Leader
  • Young Democrats Social Chair
  • Kappa Alpha Theta
  • Women’s and Non-Revenue Sports Board Chair
  • Student Senate Executive Secretary
  • Honors Program Development Grant for Costa Rica Study Abroad

How I became interested in my field:

I have always been intrigued by science, especially the science of living things. In college I took Dr. Stephen Ilardi’s Personality Psychology course and that started my interest in psychology. I realized that by studying psychology and human biology I could combine my love for science with my love for people. The physical, biological mechanisms that make up life are fascinating, as are the more unique aspects of “humanness,” such as thought, emotion, and feeling; the mind is where these two intersect, and that is why I find this field so intriguing.

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

A few years ago I went to Juarez, Mexico to help build a house in the poorest community that I have ever seen. The five-person family we built the home for had previously lived in a structure made of cardboard and sheets of metal that was the size of a walk-in closet. The project did not take much time, but the looks on the family’s faces when they saw their two-room concrete and wood house made this some of the most meaningful time I have ever spent.

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

My grandfather (Popop) was one of the most amazing people I have known. He showed me what it means to be a kind person, and taught me the importance of investing in the lives of those around us, whether a close family friend or a perfect stranger who happened to cross his path. He was a constant learner who understood the value of discovering the various new things the world had to offer, even as a 95-year-old. He knew what was important in his life (for him it was family, church, and Tabor College) and that was what he focused on.

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

My parents have had the most influence in my life. My dad taught me the importance of caring about those around me and service to others. My mom is a strong, wise human being who knows what is important in life and knows not to worry about the rest. Both have been influential in my life, and both have been role models in very unique and invaluable ways.

As we all know, teachers add something inestimable to the lives of their students. I owe much to my teachers, who have been some of the most influential people in my life: Mr. Hoffman, Ms. Sanders, Ms. Anderson, Ms. Loomis, Ms. Souders, Ms. Cox, Ms. Crispino, Mr. Carriger, Dr. Klayder, Dr. Lombardo, Dr. Ilardi, Dr. McCluskey-Fawcett, Dr. Redd, Dr. Urie, Ms. Johnson, and many, many more.

Most favorite KU memory:

I participated in Dr. Mary Klayder’s Travel Writing Study Abroad Course ‘The Costa Rica Experience’ this past January. I went to Costa Rica with 27 other students where I had an average of two life changing experiences a day. The culture, people, and biodiversity in this country are unlike any other I’ve experienced. It introduced me to a slower-paced lifestyle in which people were more in-tune with their environment. Studying abroad with a group of perfect strangers who would soon become close friends was one of the amazing opportunities that KU has offered me.

An important life lesson I have learned:

Do the things that you find will make you happy instead of only the things that you think will make you successful. Once you decide to do what makes you happy, you’ll see how it can bring you success – it may surprise you. Finding your own success will give you peace of mind that striving for someone else’s definition of success never can.

That being said, the things that you will remember in life and the things that will make the most positive difference in this world are your relationships with other people. This is still a lesson that I am learning today: don’t be so busy with day-to-day work that you don’t have time to invest in someone else, and let them invest in you. Being driven will get you so far, but connections with people will make the journey worthwhile.

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

These next four years are going to go by in an instant and university life offers opportunities that you will never have again. So, be a proactive individual. Get to know as many people as possible because campus has a high density of extremely interesting people whom you could learn a lot from. The people you will meet and learn from here will have an impact on you for the rest of your life. Also, take as many opportunities as you can and be open to new things, because some of them will surprise you. You will never have as much time for curiosity and self-discovery as you do now.

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

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
E.B. White
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”