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A Passion for Coffee Stains & People

Jenn - discovers a passion for coffee stains and service

The Ripple Effect

When you leave
college you
go out into
the real world

But here,
we see how
our actions
affect others
the world
we're going into

Westminster College has affected senior physics major Jenn just as a stone dropped into a pond creates unending ripples. One smooth pebble changed her and expanded the world for her in a very tangible way.

Jenn with Gerard Collet preparing to twist a stack of copper discs for her research internship in Surface and Materials Science department of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, CAThe third of four sisters from Little Rock, Ark., to call the campus home, Jenn considered herself part of the package when Westminster reached out to them as possible students, and she saw it as a means to an end.

"My goal was to do three years at Westminster, then two at Wash U and be an engineer of some sort, work at an engineering firm, make lots of money, and be happy," Jenn said.

Jenn chats with 1976 Nobel Prize winner Burton Richter during her internshipAs a physics major, Jenn's love for science permeates everything around her. She sees it in everyday things - even in coffee stains - and wants to make it accessible to everyone. To that end over the past two summers, Jenn has held internships at Harvard and Stanford researching cell damage and capillary spreading, also known as the coffee stain project. She admits that the programs were intimidating, but Westminster gave her the confidence she needed to contribute to the projects.

But while her first love is still science, her passion has grown to include people, due in part to the Center for Leadership and Service. Providing a way to get involved and help in the community where you can, Westminster matched Jenn with Habitat for Humanity, a program she had been involved with since high school. Through the Westminster program, she saw the value in service and what it means to those she serves.

Jenn helps repair a community roof during a Family Weekend service project

"Working with people made me realize how important human interaction, communications, and relationships are," Jenn said. Now, she is expanding her love of science to encompass helping people.

Her plans have changed a bit from her initial goal. She began working in the Office of Student Activities two years ago and served as a Freshman Seminar mentor in the fall of 2008. This experience uncovered another field of interest: student development.
Washington University is waiting with a full scholarship, but Jenn has stayed an extra year at Westminster to explore this new-found interest and to help her freshman sister transition to college life.

Jenn and fellow Stone Group interns at the Harvard University Surface Physics Lab

In the meantime, the Student Life staff is helping her adjust her resume to emphasize both science and student development and encouraging her to do what she needs to do to be happy: Find where they intersect.

"They say when you leave college you go out into the real world, but here, we see how our actions affect others and the world we're going into," Jenn said.

"At Westminster, we learn how to share and depend on each other.
Instead of being competitive, we learn how to cooperate."

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