Hitting the track... and the books
April 26, 2010
By Jeremy Rosenthal IUHoosiers.com feature writer
Some people listen to music when they are getting ready to compete or after they finish. Senior Jenny Kulow studies astronomy, in hopes of one day becoming an astronaut.
Kulow, a member of the track and field team seems to always be doing homework. That is because she is majoring in astronomy, biology and physics, and minoring in math and chemistry.
Recently Kulow received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for her academic success. The $7,500 scholarship is given to students that excel in the field of science.
Kulow, a native of Nashville, Ind., grew up with science, under the guidance of her father, Carl, a biology professor at IU. She said both her father and high school influenced her to study science in college.
"I used to go in and work with him when I was little and help him set up the lab," Kulow said. "It showed me that science can be fun. What really got me interested in science were classes I took in high school."
Instead of helping him set up the lab, Kulow will be enrolled in her father's lab class next semester.
Being on the track and field team and taking such a rigorous course load is not easy for Kulow, who said she spends six hours a week studying for each of her six classes.
"It's very challenging," she said. "This semester I have classes four out of the five days we have practice during the week, so I have to do a lot of my runs on my own."
Out of all her classes and majors, Kulow has a passion for astronomy. Initially a biology major, she was only going to minor in astronomy, but liked it so much she wanted to take more classes. To continue in graduate school for astronomy Kulow would have to take the physics GRE, so she took enough physics classes to add that as a major.
Kulow is also the secretary of the astronomy club, a group that meets regularly to talk about the subject. In addition they also host events, including star parties, where they camp out and bring telescopes to look at the stars.
Even though she has so much work to do, Kulow said she really enjoys being on the track and field team, where she spends time with close friends.
"I don't know who my friends would be if I wasn't on the track team," she said. "Some of my best friends are on the track team. I also enjoy getting to compete."
One of her friends, senior Sarah Pease notices Kulow spends a lot of time studying, but admires her dedication. Pease said Kulow is so knowledgeable about astronomy that on long runs when they get bored, Kulow fills the time by telling stories about astronomy and the stars, which is interesting for the other athletes to hear.
Kulow would like to be an astronaut, however, if that dream doesn't work out she would like to be a professional astronomer, doing research and teaching classes.
Along with her knowledge of many subjects, one thing Kulow knows how to do very well is manage time. This becomes even more difficult considering she does cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring.
Even though she does have to spend a lot of time hitting the books, Kulow has fun in many of her classes, and draws admiration from her teammates.
"Obviously she has to study really hard, but I think she enjoys it," Pease said. "Even though I feel like she is studying a lot, its helping her achieve her career goals."
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