CSU outstanding grad continues her family’s legacy

For Kathleen Wendt, coming to Colorado State University was an easy choice: it was in her blood.

Wendt’s mother and brother both attended CSU, and two of her other siblings are currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at the University. Wendt and her three siblings participated in the University Honors Program. Wendt will continue her family’s CSU legacy by earning her degree from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in spring 2018, earning a 4.0 GPA.

But Wendt is not stopping with her undergraduate degree. She received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to continue her studies at CSU in the fall.

Kathleen Wendt Headshot

Overcoming Challenges

Wendt and her family moved from Denver to Fort Collins before her senior year of high school. Wendt said that she chose CSU long before she moved to Fort Collins, as her choice in higher education was made in part because of CSU’s affordability, while also influenced by her family’s history with the University.

“I knew it would be the best place for me to study and thrive,” Wendt said. “I live with my family in Fort Collins to make higher education feasible. My siblings and I find motivation and inspiration in the hardship and tribulations, as we are dedicated to our educational and occupational endeavors.”

Educational guidance

Throughout her time as an undergraduate, Wendt got involved in several educational extracurricular activities in order to hone her skills as a researcher, teacher, and community advocate. With the guidance, support, and trust from her family members and mentors at CSU, Wendt has been able to overcome the difficult challenges set before her. Douglas Coatsworth, professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and Mary Swanson, associate director of CSU’s Office of Undergraduate Artistry, are only a small handful of people to whom Wendt attributes her success.

“These two in particular have been instrumental in shaping my future as a scholar and professional,” Wendt said. “However, there are other important advocates in my life, particularly Melissa George, Rebecca Toll, Aimee Walker, and Lise Youngblade in HDFS, Martín  Carcasson in Communication Studies, and Pam Vaughan Knaus in the CSU Honors Program.  Each has inspired, encouraged, and supported me in various ways, even if they did not realize it at the time.”

Continuing her education

Though Wendt’s time as an undergraduate has ended, her time as graduate student will begin in Fall 2018. Wendt has been accepted to the Applied Developmental Science doctoral program in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Wendt will continue her research on family relationships, resilience, and mindfulness “to help elucidate relational processes that contribute to healthy development,” she said.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

To support her graduate studies, Wendt is a recipient of the 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The program is dedicated to supporting and recognizing outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM fields or in STEM education.

This prestigious fellowship will support Wendt’s research and educational endeavors at CSU for five years, providing active funding for three years including a large stipend along with a cost-of education allowance and international research opportunities during her time as a fellow.

Wendt is excited to continue her studies at CSU. “I joke that I will spend a decade in the Behavioral Sciences Building, and that is quite alright with me,” she said.

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.