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|AEB Profile Weidus|
Kristen Weidus AEB Profile
I majored in English and had a minor in ethics.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Brunswick, Ohio.
Where do you currently live?
I currently live in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
3 words to describe yourself?
Motivated, compassionate and—this feels like a job interview!—empathetic.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
I am currently doing the job that my mom thought she wanted to do twenty-five years ago. My mom, in a high school interview, was asked what she wanted to do when she graduated. She wanted to be a special education lawyer! She’s a teacher now but, yes, she does live vicariously through me!
How did you find Hiram?
I was recruited to play soccer; I played my first two years.
What clubs were you involved in?
I was in soccer, the Student Senate (I was elected vice president my junior year and the president my senior year), I was a campus tour guide, a teaching assistant, and an orientation leader.
Your favorite Hiram traditions?
Spring fest. I really liked orientation too since it involved new students in the first week of welcome. While helping out as an orientation leader, it was great to see people come to Hiram for the first time.
I have multiple: Professor Willard Greenwood, Professor Kirsten Parkinson, Professor Sandy Madar and Professor Colin Anderson. Professor Madar was my initial advisor so she helped me work through what I wanted to do after Hiram. When I realized I didn’t want to go to medical school, but law school instead, she was supportive. She was my freshman colloquium professor so she essentially introduced me to Hiram.
What is your favorite location on campus?
The Bowler lounge, the Student Senate office in Hayden, and the top of the library.
What is your favorite Hiram memory?
I went to China during my last three-week—that trip was an incredible experience. I also acted in a good friend’s (a theatre major) one act for his senior project called: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I also really enjoyed my time on the Student Senate. Eric Riedel, who was the Vice President/Dean of Students, remains one of my role models. Without his influence and guidance, I absolutely would not be where I am today.
What is the most important thing that you learned from Hiram?
To be willing to admit when you don’t know something, and to be open to other people’s points of view. I came to Hiram from a small, standard, conservative suburb, and I quickly realized there was a lot I did not know yet or understand. I left Hiram a very different person. Without Hiram, I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t have made the friends I have now if I had not learned from the new people I met and developed a more open mind. I couldn’t be happier with where I am now.
Do you feel that Hiram prepared you for your future?
Yes, absolutely. I don’t think I could represent the population I do or have made it through law school without Hiram. When I was trying to decide where to go for law school, my supervisor for my ethics minor, Professor John Moody, helped me a great deal. I had learned of a small, Hiram-like program in Washington D.C. The school had a similar public interest focus. Professor Moody helped push me, saying essentially that I do what everyone expected me to do, which was stay close to home and go to Case Western Reserve University, or I could “put my money where my mouth was” and go to a school that would help me do what I maintained that I wanted to do. I likely wouldn’t graduate and walk into a well-paid, corporate job but I would likely get to do meaningful work. His advice really helped me. He pushed me, and I was less afraid to try because he was confident in me. I would not be the person I am without Hiram.
What is your current employment? Retired? What are you doing now?
I went to the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law in 2012 and earned my JD. After I took the Pennsylvania bar exam, I moved to Monroeville, Pennsylvania to work for a small firm in Greensburg. It was a general practice firm, but one partner focused his work on assisting individuals with disabilities. The firm was called Tremba & Jelley, LLC when I started, but is now Tremba Kinney. I worked there as an associate attorney until September 2015.
I then transitioned my practice to Ruder Law, which is a boutique law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which primarily focuses on representing families of individuals with disabilities. I am the Senior Associate, and my practice primarily involves working with students enrolled in public schools.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
I am a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Greensburg. My former boss, Attorney Charlie Jelley, encouraged me to get involved since I did not know anyone in the area when I initially moved to Pennsylvania, and I was looking for a way to become more involved. I have been working with the same student for six years now.
I also enjoy outdoor activities. My fiancé owns a camp in the Allegheny National Forest, so we spend lots of time hiking, kayaking, and biking. Since December, though, we have been focused on planning our wedding, which is the weekend right after the first Alumni Executive Board meeting.
What brought you back to Hiram and why the Alumni Executive Board (AEB)?
I am a new member; my first meeting is coming up. I wanted to stay involved with Hiram, and although it took five years to get situated in my career to be able to commit to several weekends of travel to be in the AEB, I am glad to be able to do it now! A good friend of mine pushed me to join; she wrote my recommendation and said it is the time for me to do this now because I have always wanted to join. I visited Hiram for my five year anniversary on homecoming and it was nice, but I wanted to be more involved and do more than just visit.