Written by Jeffrey Angileri | Photos by Craig Schreiner
With a beaming smile, a conversational personality and a natural ability to make people feel at ease — Jaclyn Wolf is the kind of individual people gravitate to.
Whether it’s getting the kids at the church potluck “all riled up” or engaging in conversation with a newspaper subscription man at the grocery store, Jaclyn is passionate about people. And she greatly values empathy — that priceless quality that allows a person to imagine what it’s like to step into another’s shoes.
Perhaps her diverse and large family helped instill that quality within her. Jaclyn is part of a blended family: she has eight siblings who hail from places as far away as India and Korea, and her extended relatives include people from Japan, China and the Philippines.
The Janesville resident is drawn to community and nonprofit work.
“I want to work with troubled kids, whether it be as a social worker or a police officer. That way, I can help kids, and be a positive part of their lives. My experience in the foster care system for the first seven years of my life — living in 11 different homes — and as an adopted child allow me to relate to children who’ve gone through similar struggles. I understand them.”
For more than three years, Jaclyn has worked at Cedar Crest Assisted Living in Janesville, serving meals, working in the coffee shop and cleaning spaces. She’s also a drummer, pianist and singer who performs at church and in the choir at UW-Whitewater at Rock County.
She is graduating with an Associate of Arts degree, and has greatly appreciated the personal attention and care that her faculty at the Rock County campus have given her.
One of Jaclyn’s mentors is Ken Brosky, this year’s winner of the University of Wisconsin System James R. Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award, which pays tribute to faculty and staff who inspire in their students an enthusiasm for learning.
“He emailed me at the end of the semester to encourage me to continue to pursue my studies and my personal and professional goals,” said Jaclyn. “He said, ‘There’s no reason you’re not going to succeed.’”
A passionate Warhawk, Jaclyn will continue her academic career at the Whitewater campus, where she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication. She’s also interested in the university’s criminology and nonprofit leadership programs.
Each semester, UW-Whitewater holds a competition for the honor of serving as a student speaker at commencement. Jaclyn was nominated by the College of Integrated Studies (Rock County) and will join fellow student speakers in December’s Virtual Commencement for a joint address.