Wendy Adhearn

Wendy Adhearn
Photo by David Schmitz

Dean’s Scholar

Major: Kinesiology
College of Applied Sciences and Arts

Why did you choose your major?

I started dancing at the age of three and never stopped. Since retiring from a professional ballet dance career, besides teaching ballet, I have explored running, yoga, weight lifting, and martial arts as exercise modes and forms of movement expression. Kinesiology was an easy choice as a major since it combines the art and science of movement, which I find so personally interesting and enjoyable.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

It was not easy deciding on and implementing a return to school after more than 20 years since high school. This award is a reminder that I made the right decision and that I should be proud of the effort I put in.

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life?

My husband of 20 years, Terry, has influenced me tremendously. Not only is he encouraging and supportive in all of my endeavors, he is also a daily reminder and example of the benefit of effort and perseverance. He has set a high bar of hard work that I have tried to emulate.

In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

I have learned so much from each of my professors. But in my second semester at SJSU, Dr. Bethany Shifflett gave me an opportunity to really challenge myself and to interact with other kinesiology students and professionals at the Western Society for Kinesiology and Wellness Conference in Reno, NV. There, I was able to present a critique of research that interested me and I received invaluable feedback and encouragement from professors from other institutions. I also was able to volunteer at the conference and attend interesting presentations. I would like to thank Dr. Shifflett for her enthusiasm in helping me and others make the most of our time at SJSU.

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

I left home at the age of 15 to pursue a career in ballet. In New York City, without my parents, I had to learn how to live on my own while training in a rigorous ballet program and finishing my high school education. It left me with the belief that an earnest pursuit of something you want often delivers more than what you expected in the first place.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

In the end it is better to look back with as few regrets as possible. You will never regret applying yourself to the fullest. There is no burden in carrying that pride.

What makes you a Spartan?

I am a Spartan because I value the education I received at SJSU. I have such respect and gratitude for the high level of instruction as well as for my fellow students who made attending SJSU such an enriching experience for me.


Nominated by Bethany Shifflett
Professor, Kinesiology

Wendy is gifted dancer with a passion for learning.  She has excelled academically, had her critique of research accepted for presentation at a regional conference (Western Society for Kinesiology & Wellness), and is engaged in community service in ways that utilize as well as further develop her expertise in our field.”