Section 36 had another visitor! Jennifer Schmidt is passionate about controlling diabetes, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Wisconsin. I was thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.
Photo Denise Watrous
So, let's see what happens when Jennifer Schmidt visits Section 36!
How did you celebrate winning the Miss Wisconsin crown?
I did a taco tour of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, eating at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants with my friends and family everyday for a week! The months leading up to the Miss Wisconsin competition were so busy with work and preparations that I did not get to spend much time with my loved ones. Aftering winning Miss Wisconsin, I wanted to celebrate by sharing my favorite food with my favorite people.
Do you have a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Wisconsin?
Of course! My goals are:
- to use my professional nonprofit experience to establish a donor development program to increase the Miss Wisconsin scholarship fund.
- work with my social impact initiative to bring funding, resources, and programs back to Wisconsin that were lost when the American Diabetes Association (ADA) permanently closed their Wisconsin office.
- make Wisconsin proud at the 100 year anniversary Miss America competition.
I am proud to share that I am currently working towards each of these!
What did you learn about yourself at the miss Wisconsin competition that will help you at Miss America?
Everything happens for a reason. In May of 2020, the Miss Wisconsin competition was postponed and the ADA permanently closed their Wisconsin office in response to the pandemic and a lack of funding. I struggled to find my purpose knowing that the job I pursued for 8 years no longer existed. But then I realized that, while I lost my job, Wisconsin lost a valuable resource. I felt compelled to relentlessly pursue the job of Miss Wisconsin so that I could promote my social impact initiative, “Diabetes, YOU Have the Control” and fill the void left in the Wisconsin diabetes community. I am certain that, if I had not lost my job at the ADA, my name would not have been called as Miss Wisconsin 2021.
How did you select your social impact initiative, “Diabetes, YOU Have the Control”?
My entire life I have watched my grandmother struggle with type 2 diabetes. I have watched her struggle with the daily responsibility of monitoring her blood sugar, the financial burden of insulin, and the terrible health complications of the disease. My grandmother inspired, “Diabetes, YOU Have the Control” and my initiative to eliminate risk, unnecessary suffering, and tragic death caused by type 2 diabetes.
As a talented dancer, what do you enjoy most about performing on stage?
Aw! Thank you for saying I am talented! Growing up, I was incredibly shy, however, dancing was a way for me to express myself when I did not have the words to. While I am not too shy anymore, my favorite thing about performing my talent is being vulnerable and sharing a story or message with the audience.
You have a degree in Rehabilitaion/Psychology. Where would you like to see that degree take you?
At first, after graduating with my bachelors degree in rehabilitation psychology, I wanted to pursue my masters in occupational therapy. However, I had a lot of student loan debt so I decided to take a few years to work and save money. I did not know what I wanted to do but I knew who I wanted to work for. My involvement in the Miss America Organization, work with my social impact initiative, and years of volunteering with the ADA ultimately led to my employment as their Manager of Donor Relations. Realizing my skill and enthusiasm for fundraising, I am now working as a nonprofit professional and pursuing a career in donor relations and fundraising.
If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
I would choose Princess Jasmine from Aladdin because I always thought Aladdin was the cutest prince! Haha! ;)
If you had an extra ticket to a Brewers - Red Sox game, who would you take with you? Why?
I would take my godmother. She is the biggest Brewers fan I know! Also because, when I was a senior in high school, my parents lost their small business and they struggled to find jobs without college degrees. At the same time I learned the value of a college degree, I did not think there was a way for me to pay for one. With the scholarship dollars that I earned competing in the Miss America Organization, I had just enough to pay for my first semester of college. After my first semester, my godmother cosigned my loans and helped finance the rest of my college education. Without her I would not be able to call myself a first generation college graduate so I would take her in a heartbeat!
Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?
Unlike my godmother, I have to admit, I am not the biggest baseball fan. However, as a former Milwaukee Bucks Dancer, I am definitely a basketball fan! I would love to be invited to attend the Milwaukee Bucks home opener as Miss Wisconsin, show off my Show Us Your Shoes Parade costume and shoes, and celebrate the 2021 NBA world champions as they receive their rings!
As always, I want to thank Jennifer for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to go with the interview.
As Jennifer continues her time as Miss Wisconsin, I encourage you to follow her title's Instagram and Facebook accounts. You should also check out the official Miss Wisconsin website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on!
I also want to wish her the best of luck when she competes for the Miss America crown this winter. It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!