Washington and Jefferson Graduating Senior, Jayla Harshey, smiles.

Charles West Scholar Perseveres to Finish Five-year Journey at W&J

Created: December 10, 2021  |  Last Updated: January 10, 2022  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (December 10, 2021)—Though 1922 Rose Bowl Legend Charles West hasn’t played collegiate football in nearly a century, he’s still scoring touchdowns for Washington & Jefferson College by empowering students like Jayla Harshey.

A senior Psychology major and English and Spanish double minor, Harshey said her experience as a Charles West Scholar grounded her at the college and gave her confidence.

“I think it gave me a sense of community,” Harshey said of the scholarship awarded to high- performing and community-focused black/African American students living in Pennsylvania. “[In life,] you can find a lot of people with different backgrounds, but sometimes it’s hard. Especially my freshman and sophomore year, I kind of needed to interact with different people, and [being a Charles West Scholar] gave me the opportunity to do that.”

As a scholar, she participated in a number of volunteer projects with other Charles West scholars and even hosted several prospective students—something she said would have caused her anxiety before coming to W&J.

Now, she wants to make others the center of her professional life.

“I want to help people, and not just English-speaking people,” Harshey said, noting that she hopes to attend graduate school and become a psychologist or counselor. “It’s something that gives me passion and that I can be proud of.”

Though she admitted reaching that goal will come with challenges, she said W&J has prepared her well.

“My advisor and the professors that I’ve had—they have given me so much information,” Jayla said. “I’m an anxious person by nature, but they know how to connect with you and talk with you.”

Others, Harshey said, know how to provide different kinds of support.

“Bethany [Bowman, the director of the Office of Financial Aid] is an angel,” Harshey said. “She answered every question I had and helped me through the financial aid appeal process to get me situated for my final semester.”

That’s why, despite the challenges she faced, Harshey, is proud to be a president.

“I’m glad I chose the path that I did,” she said.


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu or call 888-W-AND-J.