Jenna Sheldon-Sherman

Junior, Psychology and Women’s Studies
Co-Coordinator, Alternative Weekend Breaks, 2004–2005
Watkins-Berger Scholar
Vice President, Governmental Affairs, Honoread Council, 2003–2005

Other Achievements or Honors

Chi Omega Executive Board: House Manager
Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society
Owl Society
Preparing for College Success (PFCS) School Coordinator
Summerfield and Watkins-Berger Chancellor’s Honor Committee
Dean’s Honor Role
4.0 GPA
University of Kansas Honor’s Program
Coca-Cola Scholarship Recipient

What led you to your area of study/field of interest?

My love of Psychology stems from a lifetime’s fascination with people. This intrigue, coupled with a desire to help others, has led me to this field of study. My interest in Women’s Studies is also deeply rooted in my being. As an innocent child, I was angered by little boys thinking they were faster, smarter, or funnier than girls. As an opinionated adolescent, I feverishly vocalized my sentiments that women were just as good, if not better, than men. As a maturing young adult, I realized the importance of standing up for myself, my beliefs, my rights, and the rights of women everywhere. Now, as a college junior, I comprehend the significance of advocating not only for women’s rights but for equal rights for everyone regardless of gender, race, class, religion, or sexual orientation. The field of Women’s Studies gives me an outlet to explore and attempt to defend against the disparities that exist in our world and to try and achieve an environment of acceptance and equality for all.

What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?

My work and involvement as Co-Coordinator for Alternative Weekend Breaks provides the most fulfillment in my life through the significant impact I am able to have on the lives of others. Alternative Breaks is an amazing organization that allows me to work individually and collectively with hard-working, open-minded, community-oriented, and caring KU students, faculty, and staff along with numerous philanthropic organizations. Through Alternative Breaks, I am able to educate myself on and assist with a wide array of social and economic conditions, personal health problems, and environmental issues. I am also able to interact with remarkable individuals who enlighten me, teach me, support me, and encourage me to be a kinder, more accepting person.

Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life?

They embody such inestimable qualities as wisdom, kindness, moral values, and inspiration. They provide me with support, guidance, love, and a sense of self. They are community role models, leaders, teachers, and friends. They are invaluable in my life and in countless others. And, although ordinary people to most, in my eyes, they are much more. They are my parents, my friends, and my inspiration. They have centered their career on educating young adults and have centered their lives on educating me. And through them, I have learned life’s most valuable and meaningful life lessons. My mother has shown me that I can find the positive in every person and every situation; my father has shown me that I can learn something from every individual and every encounter. My mother has said that I should dream big dreams and never give up trying; my father has said that I can accomplish these big dreams through hard work and dedication. My mother has maintained that life is too short to worry about the small stuff; my father has maintained that life is too long to regret past quarrels and mistakes. My mother has encouraged me to open my heart to all people; my father has encouraged me to open my mind to all ideas. My mother has taught me to be a strong woman; my father has taught me to be a strong individual. And both have taught me that no matter where I go, who I am with, or what I am doing, to be true to myself because they love me no matter what. This is the most inspiration of all.

Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?

In a society that too often evaluates women based solely on their physical appearance, it is important to encourage those women who are achieving and succeeding through use of their intelligence, motivation, and work ethic. In a country where men still comprise a significantly greater portion of executive positions and a woman earns notably less than a man for the same job, it is necessary to highlight those women who achieve beyond the scope of typical expectations. And, in a world where many women are excluded from the opportunities accorded to those in the United States, it is imperative to celebrate the freedoms of this country and the women who are utilizing these liberties to the fullest extent. We must continue to reinforce the idea that women are valued more for the content of their character and less for the aesthetics of their appearance. We need to celebrate the same qualities of strength, ambition, conviction, and intelligence in successful women as we do in successful men. We must never forget to instill in ourselves and our fellow human beings that accomplished women should not be viewed as opinionated, pushy, and threatening, but as determined, goal-oriented, and resourceful. And, we must hope that someday these dynamic and influential women will not be the exception but rather will be the rule.

What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?

KU-35, MU-14. The fans went wild, the goal posts came down, and the Tigers returned home in shame. Last year’s home game against Missouri was definitely one of my favorite memories at KU. Although typically a basketball fan, I attended this football game as a favor to a friend and am forever grateful that I did. The excitement in the air, the beauty of the fall day, and the spirit of the KU fans are something I will never forget. As a Lawrence native, I have witnessed Jayhawk pride my entire life. Being a student, however, changed my perspective as the pride that was within me my entire life swelled to enormous proportions. I have never been more delighted to be a Jayhawk!

Least Favorite
January, 20 degrees, snowing. The spring semester of my freshmen year I came down with a bad case of mono and somehow thought I could continue attending classes. It was during one particularly cold and snowy day, however, when I realized that what I usually saw as the beauty of the campus turned into its greatest curse. The rolling hills now became my enemy and as I tried to walk from Daisy Hill all the way down the hill and back up to Wescoe, I felt faint and light-headed like I was going to pass out. Fortunately, I made it to the stairs of Wescoe and triumphed at my accomplishment. I proceeded up the stairs at a lively pace, smiling at my success. As I reached the top, however, I missed the step, slipped, and fell all the way backwards down the stairs providing those around me with quite a sight and I'm sure a good laugh. Who knew my clumsiness and not my illness would be my ultimate downfall!

What is your definition of success?

Best expressed by one of the world’s greatest literary minds, success is:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson



The Emily Taylor
Women's Resource Center

1301 Jayhawk Boulevard
Room 400 Kansas Union
Lawrence, KS 66045-7548

Contact Information:
Phone: 785.864.3552
Fax: 785.864.4595
Email: etwrc@ku.edu