Jennifer Paul, age 18, Vancouver, WA

Jennifer PaulJennifer, who grew up aspiring to be a Guthrie-Koch award winner from the time she was young after reading stories in the newsletter, hopes to go to Pepperdine University in California next year with an undeclared major and a Spanish minor. Her interests are wide-ranging, from the Dance and Film Studies to Cultural Studies, and so her career path is not yet settled. But she wants to in some way help or serve other people. She has studied Spanish for 6 years and is passionate about the language and culture and hopes to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina while in college.

An excellent student, Jennifer has been on the honor roll throughout high school and has taken numerous honors and AP courses. Dancing is her love and she has received 8 awards for effort and performance as a member of the high school dance team, and is team captain. She is also president of the Dance Honors Society and has organized Zumba classes at a local senior living center. She volunteers with a soccer organization that assists special needs children with soccer and social skills. She also plays the violin as a beginning student, tapping into her longtime dream of learning to play the violin. She has attended PKU camp in Oregon, every year since she was 6 years old, and has made lasting friendships with girls her age.

Jennifer relates that growing up, she didn’t always have the most positive outlook on PKU and struggled with her acceptance of formula drinking. But as she matured and became responsible for her own diet, she learned that “PKU does not define me . . . I hope that I can be a role model for others who may struggle with PKU because of my many struggles. I can show others that just because you fall off the tracks a little doesn’t mean it IS possible to find your way back.” She has a younger brother with PKU and is his role model.

One of her references says “Jennifer has stellar integrity, maturity, and strong leadership abilities and has consistently demonstrated determination and perseverance in everything she has done. A teacher says, “Jennifer is bright, eager to learn, and a leader amongst her peers. She always has a positive attitude in class that is contagious and I love having her in my class.” As a tutor in the Resource Center at her high school, her supervisor comments that “she is always prepared and is both personable and patient with the students who drop-in for help. She displays determination and discipline in her life both in and out of the academic realm. She is ambitious, dedicated and relentless in her pursuit of excellence.”