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Homecoming Queen Candidate Justine Schultz

 

Justine Schultz, an aerospace and mechanical engineering double major, would feel honored to earn the title of 2015 Homecoming Queen. Growing up in Stewartsville, NJ, she was surrounded by farms and cornfields. Her parents were great role models for her, with her father being a State Trooper and her mother as a teacher. When deciding to go to West Virginia University, she knew she had to go to a big football school. Her high school, Phillipsburg High School, has one of the oldest school rivalries in football and she knew she couldn’t leave that spirit behind. She knew she wanted to go to college for engineering and planned to go to a large school, liking the idea of having larger opportunities. She chose WVU for their incredible engineering program, which has beat MIT two years in the running with the robotics program and won first place in the nation in a recent competition. While she also loves to paint, she spends her time in 4 different organizations on campus, each of which she helped establish. Alpha Omega Epsilon, a sorority for women in engineering and technical sciences, is something she is extremely proud of. Having helped start this her freshman year, she likes how it is both social and professional. She also helped begin the Experimental Rocketry club, which later encourage the creation of a rocket sciences class at the university. The Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement, which is open for anyone in the university, is another club she helped form for the school. Schultz went out of her way to start a government funded outreach team, called Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT). SPOT is a NASA and NRAO funded organization that encourages students from kindergarten to twelfth grade to show interest in sciences, technology, engineering, and math. She’s a three time NASA winning grant scholar and supports the science and math fields whole-heartedly.

 

Q: What made you want to run for Homecoming King or Queen?

For me, it’s always been about getting acknowledgement towards the engineering campus. Women are a minority in engineering and most technological fields. In my aerospace class, it’s me and two other women out of 75 students, and that’s it. You stand out a lot, everyone kind of knows you but you don’t know them because you’re one of three females. So for me, I think there needs to be a bigger spotlight on women in engineering and technological sciences because it’s important for women, especially young girls, that are insecure, and men too, that maybe want to be in the cool crowd or whatever that is. But they don’t put a lot of emphasis on math or science because maybe that’s that not the thing to do or a cool passion so I want people to know that you can get recognition for giving back to the community and being intelligent and doing things basically instead of just knowing a lot of people on campus.

 

Q: Why do you think you would be a good Queen and why do you deserve this title?

I think that kind of goes off of it, but I think that sets a role model, too. You’re representing the university in a certain way and for me, I want to represent the university as a smart, independent woman. I’m taking a women studies class this semester, too, which is fabulous and women are still getting paid 76 cents to a man’s dollar. So it’s kind of unacceptable and I want to show that women are just as successful. Women are just as positive, and good influences, and can give back to the community just as much and I kind of want to get that spotlight back onto women in science.

 

Q: What does WVU mean to you?

Well, I will say it is the best decision I’ve ever made. I say this all the time, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. If you asked me three days before the deadline where I was going, I would have said I had no idea. I was a little wishy-washy in high school, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. A lot of the schools I was looking at were a lot closer to home being from New Jersey. But this was a big step for me. As soon as it was the first week here and I didn’t call my parents at all, and they called me on the weekend and said, “Justine, how are you, we haven’t heard from you all week,” I was like I’m having the time of my life. I’m meeting great friends, I’m doing big things, all of my classes were immediately applicable to engineering. So for me, it means opportunity. West Virginia University means people aren’t going to take no for an answer. Mountaineers Go First is my favorite slogan ever because it’s true. We’re doing state of the art research here, and we’re changing the game of the future. So for me, it’s people not taking no for an answer.

 

Q: What would it mean to you if you were named the 2015 Homecoming Queen?

It would be extremely humbling. It would be so humbling, I would give credit to absolutely all of my friends, my family, my support, and everybody who voted for me. Because it’s almost arrogant to ask for people to vote for you and I want people to think that I should represent the entire university for Homecoming. If I were to win, it would mean everything. But if I receive that kind of support, it would be everything.

 

Q: What are your connections to the state of West Virginia?

Since I was born in New Jersey, I don’t have many here. I don’t have family here, but I actually just bought a necklace that has the state of West Virginia on it and says home. Because this is my home now. I’ve lived here for four and a half years, it made me who I am today. If you met me in high school, I was shy, I was insecure, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. When I came here, I consider myself a very young successful professional right now. I have a job lined up for after graduation, I’m getting my masters paid for, I’m so excited for the future because West Virginia set me up for that. The best friends I’ve ever made are here, my sorority sisters who are family for me are here, so for me it’s always going to be home.

 

Q: If you had one message for the students of WVU, what would that message be?

I think it would be that people should keep more of an open mind towards science fields. I think it’s easy to get absorbed into wanting to be famous, but it’s the nerds in the background that are going to change the world. It’s those people that are in a science lab coming up with the next research that are going to cure cancer. So for me, I think I want everybody who will ever be in a kind of political or leadership position in the future to know that the next big investment is always going to be research and development.

A junior at West Virginia University, Erin is majoring in Journalism (emphasis on Print) and working to achieve a minor in Creative Writing. Erin is currently the president of the Alpha Pi chapter of the national service sorority, Omega Phi Alpha, and is a member of the Alpha Pledge class. She plans to pursue a career in journalism and focus on arts & entertainment.
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