In 2008, Brigid Schwilling lost in that year’s Ms. Wheel-chair Kansas competition. She said her aith prompted her to compete again last month, and on March 16, she had her crown.“For six years the coordi-nator kept sending me an application to run again and I didn’t run and I didn’t run and I didn’t run, and I really elt like God was just telling me, ‘You need to run again,” Schwilling said.Schwilling graduated rom the University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in elemen-tary education. She continued on to Washburn University to get her master’s degree in social work. She worked as a therapist or eight years, but quit because o health prob-lems a year and a hal ago.“I was a therapist at a com-munity mental health center and I love counseling peo-ple and [quitting because o health problems] was real-ly hard or me,” Schwilling said. “For the ﬁrst year I was depressed [and] angry. I elt lost.”Te challenges o her health and the adversity other people with disabilities aced inspired Schwilling to speak out. “Unortunately, there are still people out there that be-lieve that people with disabil-ities should just stay in their apartments and receive their disability checks and keep their mouths shut,” she said. “I’m here to say that we, as a community with disabilities, we have something to say.”Since her victory, Schwilling has been working to spread the message o her plat-orm—“Finding a Purpose Trough Adversity.” “I think people with disabil-ities, they go through a lot o adversity,” she said. “My ad- versity was I’d lef my job due to health issues and I elt like I signed up to compete in the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas com-
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F I N D I N G S A D D A M
Alumna uses pageant title to raise disability awareness
Brigid Schwilling uses her Ms. Wheelchair title to spread her message about others’ attitudes toward people with disabilities.
On Tursday, April 10, nine outstanding emale students were recognized by the Em-ily aylor Center or Women and Gender Equity at the Women’s Recognition Ban-quet.Each year, the center hon-ors women at the Univer-sity or their achievements on campus and throughout the community. Apart rom students, the event also rec-ognizes women aculty, staﬀ and alumnae who have made a diﬀerence in the campus community through things such as service, teaching or involvement. Each o the students who received an award was nomi-nated anonymously.Among the nine students were Leigh Loving, a junior rom McPherson, Jill Lan-glas, a senior rom Wheaton, Ill., and Hannah Sitz, a senior rom Andover. Loving received the “Out-standing Woman Student in Leadership.” Other than being a tutor in science courses, her participation in alternative breaks, serving as a research ellow or the Kan-sas Health Foundation and interning at Children’s Mer-cy Hospital, Loving said she eels she received the award because o her work with Jay-hawk Health Initiative, a pre-health program, o which she is ounder and president.“I eel very honored to re-ceive the award, especially with how many outstanding women leaders there are here at the University. I think it takes a unique orm o lead-ership to create something like Jayhawk Health Initia-tive,“ Loving said. “It means my hard work has been rec-ognized by others and I know what I’ve done has made a positive impact at KU.”As the only emale leader on the National Champion Jayhawk Motorsports For-mula SAE racecar program, it’s not surprising that Lan-glas received the “Sally Ma-son Women Student in Sci-ence Award.”Langlas said that her role as team lead o Jayhawk motor
University honors female students