KUWomenofDistinction

Jill S. Kuhnheim, Ph.D. (Right)

Jill S. Kuhnheim, Ph.D. (Right)

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

A special recognition for me is the notes I’ve received after a class is over from students who appreciate my work and share what they are doing and what they’ve taken away from their experiences with me at the university.

How I became interested in my discipline:

Literature captured my imagination so I became an English major in college, but graduated with an undergraduate thesis on Julio Cortázar. After working a few years at a number of jobs, I missed intellectual intensity and decided to go to graduate school, so I combined my interest in Latin American literature with a desire to broaden the horizons of students in the US, as mine had been, by teaching the literatures and cultures of Latin America.

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

Learning how to combine parenting and an academic career at a relatively late age. Why? It’s challenging and genuinely rewarding.

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

Several of my former professors, such as Bill Lankford, who modeled a deep interest in form and in the process of constructing literature and whose attentiveness to complexity helped to make me an insightful reader, as well as multiple friends and colleagues along the way.

My favorite KU memory:

Running up Mississippi to Memorial Drive past the forsythia in bloom on a cool spring morning.

When times get tough, something that helps me get through it:

Perseverance, physical exercise, taking time out, and a sense of humor.

An important life lesson I have learned:

A job is not a life.

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

That she should explore and get to know people, food, music, ideas that are different than those she brings with her; to regularly challenge herself; and to learn to talk to people face to face, where she is, rather than relying on devices (texting, email…).

A favorite quote or saying:

“None of us is as smart as all of us”

(the meaning seems self-evident)