Student Spotlight: Jessica Weinbrenner
For first or second semester students, finding your way around the Residential Conference (RC) can be both exciting and overwhelming. We sat down with PhD student Jessica Weinbrenner at the January 2014 RC to discuss her intriguing background in mixed martial arts, the Marines and her second semester at Saybrook.
Jessica Weinbrenner, who hails from San Diego, is an active duty captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. “I always wanted to get into the military,” she says. “I appreciated leadership opportunities, being around those who were really motivated.” She was part of the Marine Air Ground Task Force and traveled to Guatemala and Haiti, teaching beginner level tactics and preparing citizens for hurricane emergencies.
In Oceanside, CA, Jessica is also a mixed martial arts instructor and part of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). “I was four years old [when I began martial arts]. My mom is an instructor; my sister and brother are black belts.” She is a second degree black belt and has been teaching for four years. “I’m thinking my dissertation will be using some form of mixed martial arts. It’s healthy. The marines tend to be more aggressive. It’s a great way to get things out - whether it’s PTSD or stress.” Jessica hopes to also teach female self-defense.
Jessica has an MBA from Boston University, but she says, “I always wanted to get a PhD in what I was passionate about. I loved Saybrook’s approach to learning. The people I meet here - the connections I’ve made - It’s great.” Jessica is studying for a PhD in psychology with a specialization in Existential, Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology.
In the future, Jessica would like to train at a Veteran’s Hospital or Wounded Warriors battalion. On her expectation at Saybrook, she says, “I really just want to learn as much as I can and discover the multiple directions I want to take it.”