Jessica Myers of Stratford, a junior at Southern Connecticut State University, has been honored by the Alma Exley Scholarship Program, which promotes greater diversity in the teaching profession.
The scholarship program is intended to honor future teachers who mirror the diversity of the student population, understand students’ diverse cultural backgrounds, serve as positive role models for minority and non-minority students, and provide a classroom environment that respects and celebrates a diversity of cultures.
According to figures from the State Department of Education, only about seven percent of public school teachers in Connecticut are persons of color, whereas nearly 40 percent of students were from minority groups.
Myers was introduced to educators, previous scholarship recipients and supporters of the program at a reception on Tuesday, April 29, at the Elmwood Community Center in West Hartford, Conn., the hometown of the scholarship program’s namesake, educator Alma Exley who died in March, 1995 following a battle with breast cancer.
Myers is a graduate of Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School in New Haven. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies at SCSU.
As a member of the university’s Urban Education Fellows program, she is exploring issues related to race, ethnicity, culture and poverty in education, which will prepare her to fulfill her goal of teaching in an urban school district.