Jennifer Hibberts traveled an especially unique path to Clemson, one that spanned nearly 7,000 miles, three generations, and the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Hibberts grew up on a small Army garrison in the Marshall Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines. About 1,000 people live on the island of Kwajalein, and Hibberts’s high school graduating class had only 18 students.
The laid-back island lifestyle in this tightknit community was all Hibberts had ever known until she enrolled at Clemson in 2014. “I was used to an endless summer, and always being able to relax on a beach in the afternoon or go surfing on the weekends. I had to adapt to the ‘brutal’ winters of the Upstate, and football now fills much of my free time on weekends,” said Hibberts.
Despite growing up thousands of miles away, Hibberts’ family has close ties to Clemson and the Southeast, as her parents are legal residents of South Carolina, and she’s now the eighth woman in her family to attend Clemson. “I’m proud to come from such a successful group of women, and grateful for the opportunity to receive the same quality education that propelled them into the careers they are thriving in,” Hibberts said.
Following in her family’s footsteps, Hibberts quickly forged her own path at Clemson in the biosystems engineering program, Calhoun Honors College, extracurricular activities like the debate team and club water polo team, and her community of friends. Hibberts is also a Grand Challenges Scholar at Clemson. The program, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineers, seeks to equip college students to become well-rounded engineers ready to tackle the world’s largest challenges.
Through the program, Hibberts has been provided opportunities to study abroad in the French Riviera, gain hands-on research experience and network with industry leaders. In spring 2016, Hibberts added another honor when she became one of five inaugural recipients of the Hubbell Lighting Annual Engineering Scholarship, established by Hubbell Lighting to provide scholarships to exceptional engineering students. Hubbell Lighting and the Hubbell Foundation also established the Hubbell Foundation Scholarship Endowment, which will fund scholarships for years to come.
As the recipient of multiple scholarships at Clemson, Hibberts understands the importance of giving back. When she graduates from Clemson in 2018, she plans to apply to the Peace Corps. Hibberts’ experiences growing up in the Marshall Islands and at Clemson have instilled in her a passion for service and a global perspective. “I have been blessed to be able to travel and live in so many places around the world, and it has sparked a deep wanderlust within me,” says Hibberts. “I’d love to continue to live and work overseas.” The gift from Hubbell Lighting and the Hubbell Foundation was part of the successful $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson campaign.