Campus group gives non-traditional WKU students a place to call their own

Stephanie Stillwell attempts to kiss her daughter during a visit to anorthopedic doctor for her daughter’s broken arm on March 22.Over the past week, Stephanie’s grandmother on both sides of thefamily, her grandfather on her father’s side, and her daughter allpaid visits to the hospital for various conditions.

Kristina Burton

In your classes here at WKU, you more than likely see lots of traditional female students.

However, there are far more non-traditional female students at WKU than you might realize.

Women in Transition is an organization for these students, and its goal is to assist its members in achieving their goal of obtaining a college degree while meeting the demands of work, family and school. The group also provides a room where members can go to relax, study and enjoy the company of others similar to them.

Jennifer Howard is one of three advisors of the group.

“WIT was formed in 1989 by WKU professor Katherine Ward,” Howard said. “She wanted a comfy space for non-traditional female students, so she found a room in Garrett. However, when WKU moved as a community college, it was discovered that most non-traditional female students were on South Campus, and would benefit from having a room there.”

In 2010, all three WIT advisors were coming in new. One of their first orders of business would be to renovate the WIT room at South Campus.

“We came in this room and the fridge was disgusting with mold, computers were outdated, and the room as a whole was unsanitary,” Howard said. “We found out about a WKU Sisterhood grant that was worth $36,850. We applied, made it to the top five, gave a presentation and ended up winning. This room is now dedicated to that Sisterhood.”

Howard said that the money from the grant is enough to sustain WIT for 10-15 years. She said they used part of the money to renovate the room, and the rest goes to provide scholarships and fund different activities through the years.

Kimberly Moberly, a 35-year-old Russellville sophomore and WIT member, said that the WIT room has had a huge impact on her.

“There’s nothing like being able to go to that room,” Moberly said. “There are computers and a fridge readily available, and I can sit quietly and study. I know that I always have somewhere to go.”

For membership in WIT, female students must be over 25 years of age, married, have children, be returning to school after a break from college, or not fit in the category of a traditional student for other reasons.

Stephanie Stillwell, a 36-year-old Bowling Green sophomore, learned about WIT from seeing signs and flyers at South Campus.

“What really caught my eye were the scholarships they offered,” Stillwell said. “Being a wife, mom, and going to school, anything to help is great.”

Stillwell, who was actually a recipient of the 2012 WIT annual scholarship and recently chosen as president of the group, said she loves the meaning of WIT and what it stands for.

“A lot of us are in the same predicament,” Stillwell said. “We understand how hard it is, and our advisors are great ladies who are always there for us letting us know we can do it.”

Moberly also appreciates the community that WIT provides.

“It’s fantastic,” Moberly said. “Being 35 years old in a room of 18- to 19-year-olds, you don’t feel like you fit in. But with WIT, you’re around those similar in age or situations, who don’t live on campus. It’s nice to have someone to relate to.”

Stillwell hopes to expand the group and make a difference while president.

“I’d like to see it transferred to main campus and still have a convenient, quiet room for women,” Stillwell said. “I want to take up donations for women and show this community that we’re strong-willed and can make a difference. Not just WIT, but all women can make a difference.”

Stillwell said she wants to find ways of letting more women know about the group.

“This group is here for us, and we should take advantage of it,” Stillwell said. “If we want growth of the group, we need more help to reach out. I’m filling some big shoes with this role, but I want to fill them and provide growth for the group.”

If you’re interested in becoming a member, or just want to find out more about Women in Transition, visit