Alumna Jacalyn Strong invests in future teachers with endowed scholarship

As a high school mentor, Strong ’81 has witnessed the power of teachers

Jacalyn Strong

When Jacalyn Strong visited WSU recently to be honored as a new member of the Society of 1895, which recognizes those who make estate gifts to Wichita State, she met the first recipients of her education scholarship. Adam Cameron, left, and Joseph Ryan Vogel, right, are pictured here with Strong, second from left, and Sharon Iorio, dean of the WSU College of Education.

Jacalyn Strong has a passion for education. Her experience mentoring at-risk students and observing dedicated teachers in her family and community inspired Strong to establish the Jacalyn Strong Scholarship, a renewable scholarship for education majors.

   “I just see how hard teachers work,” Strong says. “I value education and I feel teachers are overworked and underpaid.”

   Strong graduated from Wichita State in 1981 with a bachelor’s in Business Administration in Management from the W. Frank Barton School of Business. She worked at BP America Inc. until she retired to raise her son.

   Mentoring at-risk teenage mothers in Houston, Texas, schools helped her recognize the importance of good teachers during adolescence.

   “When children have mentors, studies have shown their grades increase,” Strong says.

“I value education and I feel teachers are overworked and underpaid.”

- Jacalyn Strong

   She also became aware of the significant need for male role models and teachers, so she’s particularly excited that the first recipients of her scholarships are two young men, sophomore Adam Cameron and senior Joseph Ryan Vogel.

   “(This scholarship) helped me focus on school and extra-curricular activities,” says Cameron, a National Merit Scholar. “I don’t have to go into debt and work a lot.”

   Strong has good memories of her time at Wichita State, attending football, baseball and basketball games and weekly events with French club. But working 30 hours a week while enrolled full-time did not allow her to engage in all aspects of campus. She hopes to spare students from missing out on college life by providing them with funding so they can focus on education and create networks that could be useful down the road.

   Her scholarship is especially helpful to education majors who must spend a semester student teaching, says Sharon Iorio, dean of the WSU College of Education. Cameron, for example, will start student teaching next spring and he currently spends three hours a week observing classes at a Sedgwick County school.

   “We require our students to have extensive field experience in schools, which means that frequently they do not have the flexibility to have outside jobs,” Iorio says. “This scholarship provides them with strong support and financial stability while they are still in school so they have the resources to build the skills they need to become excellent teachers.”


circle arrow If you would like to establish a scholarship to help deserving education students, please contact Caleb Klein, WSU Foundation development officer for the College of Education, at (316) 978-3839 or at

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