New Haven Native, SCSU Student Joins Prestigious Alma Exley Scholarship Family

West Hartford, Conn. (May 6, 2014) – Jessica Myers, a junior at Southern Connecticut State University, has been honored by the Alma Exley Scholarship Program, which promotes greater diversity in the teaching profession.

Ms. 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.

Ms. Myers is a native of New Haven, attended New Haven schools and 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.

Ms. Myers joins 24 others previously honored in the program established in memory of Ms. Exley, a former teacher and an employee of the State Department of Education. The program has awarded approximately $60,000 in scholarships since its inception in 1996.

Previous scholarship recipients are serving in public schools in Avon, Bloomfield, Manchester, Meriden, New Haven and Westport, Conn., and in schools from Boston to Los Angeles. Meet them at

The sholarship 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.

Ms. Exley envisioned the program as a way to recognize and support outstanding persons of color who are preparing for careers in education. She believed that students of all ethnic backgrounds would benefit from greater diversity in the teaching profession.

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.

Alma Exley Scholars are chosen from applicants who are enrolled in teacher-preparation programs in Connecticut. The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain administers the scholarship program.

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit