Jessica Stitt '09 gives back in honor of WSU Summer Puebla Program's 50th anniversary

Jessica Stitt
Jessica Stitt '09 credits her participation in the Puebla Summer Program to helping her further her career. With her gift, she hopes to help other students have similar opportunities.

Jessica Stitt returned home last month after spending a year in Queretaro, Mexico, as a bilingual engineer for Bombardier Learjet.

   A former participant in Wichita State’s Puebla Summer Program for two summers, Stitt decided to create a scholarship for current students in the program after reading about the upcoming 50th anniversary.

   “In this day and age everything in engineering has become so global that if you know some sort of a foreign language, you are so much more marketable,” she said.

   The Puebla Program is designed to increase a student’s proficiency at speaking Spanish. For six weeks students take classes, live with host families and participate in weekend excursions in neighboring states.

“The Puebla Summer Program really helped me develop the foundation for what I went on to do in my career.”

- Jessica Stitt '09

   “(The Puebla Summer Program) really helped me develop the foundation for what I went on to do in my career,” Stitt said. “I had a job with Learjet where they sent me to a foreign country, and a big reason they sent me is because of my language skills.”

   As a Wallace Scholar and Senior Honor Woman, Stitt graduated from Wichita State in 2009 with degrees in industrial engineering and Spanish. She also studied abroad in Yucatán, México, for a semester.

   While Stitt was working in Mexico with Learjet, she was invited by Eunice Myers, director of the Puebla Summer Program, to join the group for breakfast and a day-long tour of Querétaro.

   “I remember last summer when they came, how exciting it was to see this new group of students that were a part of what I had done,” Stitt said.

   When Stitt learned that the 50th anniversary was the following year, she knew she wanted to use that as an incentive to give back to the program.

   Stitt requires her recipients to be involved with science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) and have an interest in studying Spanish.

   Myers said there are other alumni giving to existing funds because of the 50th anniversary as well as alumni visiting Puebla for a special week of activities in July.

   This year there are 33 students participating in the program, and one of those students is an engineer.

   Kevontrez Jones, sophomore in aerospace engineering and physics with a minor in Spanish, is the first recipient of the scholarship.

   Stitt hopes to develop relationships with the recipients and continue the legacy of her scholarship donor, Velma Wallace.

   “Mrs. Wallace was such an inspiration. Not only did she donate money to students to go to school, but she was interested and actively involved in our lives,” Stitt said. “I hope that I can have a similar impact on a student’s college experience.”

circle arrow If you would like to support the Puebla Summer Program, please contact Mike Rishell, WSU Foundation director of development for Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at 316-978-3945 or

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