KUWomenofDistinction

Jill K. Wenderott

Jill K. Wenderott

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

  • Watkins-Berger Scholar (2010-2014)
  • Robert C. Byrd Scholarship Recipient
  • Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honors Society (2011-12)
  • Peer Mentor – University Honors Program (2011-12)
  • Center for Community Outreach Helping Unite Generations (HUG) Coordinator (2011-12)
  • Owl Junior Honors Society (2012-13)
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics Honors Society)
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant - Chiu Lab Group – Condensed Matter Physics (2012-present)
  • National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Intern – University of California, Santa Barbara (Summer 2013)

How I became interested in my area of study:

By chance, my freshman honors seminar, taught by Dr. Phil Baringer, was a descriptive introduction to quantum mechanics. I was confused, intrigued and amazed the entire time. Physics was a discipline with attitude. I knew I could spend my entire life studying it and never fully master it. I liked that idea.

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

Serving as the Executive Director and HUG co-coordinator for the Center for Community Outreach were transformative experiences. I met passionate student leaders (some of whom would become my best friends) and became deeply connected to the community of Lawrence. I also learned that every person, in some capacity or another, has a gift to give, and together, our impact is powerful. Through my involvement with the CCO, I have come to realize how essential service is in my life and in the world.

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

My grandmothers – two of the strongest, sassiest and most steadfast women I’ve ever known. They speak their mind, typically without filter. They are selfless when it comes to supporting those around them. They understand what really matters in this life and don’t waste their time otherwise. I can only hope to be half as wise and resilient.

My favorite KU memory:

During my first week at KU, I stayed up an entire night with newly-met friends from my residence hall floor. It was a strange and eventful evening (and morning) as people just starting their lives at KU got to know one another over rides on a Vespa scooter named Katy Midnight, a visit to IHOP and hours of sleep-deprived chatting. We watched the sun rise over Fraser Hall from our blankets outside McCollum Hall. I knew then KU would become my second home.

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

Challenges are just another opportunity. To live a life unimpeded is to live a very bland life indeed. It is not easy, but if you can learn to take the trying times in stride, you’ll find you learn a lot about yourself.

An important life lesson I have learned:

Take the time to enjoy and appreciate all with which you’ve been blessed. It’s easy to listen and not hear, look and not see, live and not reflect. We are all fortunate beyond our wildest dreams – each day is a chance to remember this.

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

It is okay to not know what you want to do. College is a time to try out the person you think you are and mold yourself into the person you want to be. Take classes outside of what you think you’re interested in, just because it is good for you. Lastly, find something to put your effort toward that feeds your soul. This way, even when you are down, haven’t slept for days, you’ll keep going because you’re fueled by your heart.

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

“Today is enough.”

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the future or the past and forget the here and now. Every day should be lived in such a way that if it were your last, it would be enough. This simply means experiencing, accomplishing, learning, and loving all you can while you can.