Jill Pudlinski-Honoring a Life of Boundless Curiosity and Never-ending Discovery

Barbara and John Pudlinski created a home environment where their children thrived on curiosity and creativity. Both educators at Torrington High School, Barbara and John instilled in their children a love of math and science that inspired their son Christopher to earn a doctorate and become an educator.

Their daughter Jill, an avid mathematician and science scholar, passionately pursued a career in the scientific research of the natural environment, an extension of her love of all things that swam, skittered or trotted in the water and over the land.

“Jill was known for her intelligence,” said Barbara. “She was a curious kid who loved nature, insects, critters, dogs and marine life. She was skilled in science and math, but she also loved the arts, participating in drama and band. She had so many interests. Jill’s mind was always going.”

As a young adult, Jill worked as a life guard, and SCUBA diver. She studied Marine Biology at Colgate University, spending a semester at sea learning how to captain a ship off the shores of Cape Cod. After graduation, her love of nature led her to a science research position at Smithers, where she worked for 18 years conducting environmental, marine and clinical trials for pharmaceuticals, and as a senior reporter for the lab.

She lived on the shore on West Island Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Her friends on the island consisted not just of human residents, but the wild foxes and rabbits she often befriended.

“She called it her ‘island paradise,’” Barbara recalled.

When she wasn’t working, Jill was exploring. She visited Hawaii and the Bahamas, travelled through the Panama Canal, and most recently, visited Iceland with Barbara and John.

In June of 2020, Jill unexpectedly passed away. Friends from near and far reached out to each other. They shared memories of growing up together in Torrington—fun-filled days at Mother Goose Preschool, laughing and learning in the classrooms and in the halls of Torrington High School.

They decided the best way to honor Jill’s curiosity, intelligence and love of learning was to establish a scholarship in her name. They collected donations in Jill’s honor and reached out to Barbara.

In late Spring, Barbara Pudlinski established the Northwest CT Community Foundation Jill Pudlinski Tavano Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded to graduating seniors of Torrington High School who have demonstrated achievements in math and science.

“We wanted to work with the Community Foundation because we want Jill’s legacy to continue indefinitely,” said Christopher. “We know under the management of the Community Foundation that Jill’s fund will continue to grow and award scholarships in her name long after we are gone.”

“There is so much more research left to do,” said Barbara. “The recipients of Jill’s scholarship will continue on—they will continue the great work that she would have done had she lived.”

Make a gift to the Northwest CT Community Foundation Jill Pudlinski Tavano Memorial Scholarship Fund

Contact your Community Foundation staff at: (860) 626-1245 to discuss your charitable giving options and goals.