Student and Faculty Spotlights

Fall 2021 Senior Showcase Wendy J. Wenner Senior Thesis Award

Fall 2021 Senior Showcase Wendy J. Wenner Senior Thesis Award

Each Fall and Winter, the IRIS Department recognizes outstanding senior projects through two awards: the Wendy J. Wenner Senior Project Award and the Stanley Krohmer Senior Project Award. The Wenner award carries the name of the founding Dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and recognizes senior projects distinguished by their academic excellence. Dr. Wenner is a lifelong advocate for social justice, interdisciplinary inquiry, equity and inclusion.

Wendy J. Wenner Senior Thesis Award - Jenna Johnson "The Gendered Differences in Diagnosing ADHD"

Some thoughts from Jenna:
"I chose this topic because I identify as a woman with ADHD. I was diagnosed in the 8th grade, but only ever looked at it as something to do with school. When we were in lockdown for COVID-19, I, like many others, spent a lot of my time scouring the internet. I found a group consisting of other people with ADHD, and my entire world opened up. I started to learn how ADHD affects your everyday life and began researching as much as I could about it, learning a lot about myself along the way. I wondered how many people were in the same position as I was prior, and wanted to uncover why so many women are left undiagnosed and uninformed.
It feels surreal to finally finish my degree. I started my college journey at Grand Rapids Community College, and after finishing all my gen-eds in my first year, I wasn’t sure where to go next. I decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy for my sophomore year; one of the best decisions I ever made. I took a class called “Rape, Marriage, and Legalized Crime in Italy”, which started my path towards studying Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. When I returned home, I met with Melanie Shell-Weiss, who convinced me to join the IRIS program at GVSU. My college journey has been one filled with endless hurdles to overcome, and five and half years later, I finally made it. Words cannot express the pure bliss of knowing I made it to the end goal.
Studying Integrative Studies was the only way I could have ever made it through college. My brain is interest driven, which has contributed to the challenge of graduating. To be able to study intersectional feminism and learn how to apply critical thinking skills to a multitude of diverse issues, is a life skill I am proud to have. My studies have been passion based, and I feel lucky to be equipped with the needed information to drive my activism further.
One of the classes I struggled to pass was Research Methods, the prerequisite for my Capstone, setting back my graduation date when I had to retake the class. To get recognition for a paper I put so much of myself into, means the absolute world to me. I am so proud of myself for never giving up, and creating a piece of work that advocates for myself and a community that is often overlooked and misunderstood. To be able to apply my studies to something that personally affects me, and an issue that I am passionate about, was immensely rewarding. Thank you again for presenting me with this award, it is such an honor!"

Congratulations Jenna!!!!

Share this spotlight

Return to the listing of student and faculty spotlights.

Page last modified December 16, 2021