Scholar of the year: Jordan Stevenson


Richard N. Clark IV

Jordan Stevenson, EWU senior, poses for The Easterner's first scholar of the year award. “It’s about service for me,” Stevenson said.

By Sam Jackson, Copy Editor

Our inaugural Eag of the Year awards recognize three members of EWU who have gone above and beyond to represent the campus community. One scholar, one athlete and one staff/faculty member. The awards, which were voted on by students from various organizations on campus, were given to nominees who adhered to the following, based on EWU’s five core values: quality, inclusiveness, integrity, collaboration and student-centered.

Jordan Stevenson isn’t taking her ability to attend university lightly.

Throughout Stevenson’s secondary education she felt that her worth was dependent on what university she attended. During high school, her parents informed her that they would not be able to financially support her through college. Stevenson said she had to take a really hard look at who she was and from that moment she would gear her worth toward serving others, while going to college.

After high school, Stevenson took a year off—working 40-50 hours a week at multiple jobs—so that she could earn enough money to go to college. Stevenson, 21, is a senior graduating next year. She said her parents do provide her a great deal of emotional support, but she’s paid for every cent of her college education.

“I really appreciate the ability to go to college at all. You know, that’s not a certainty for a lot of first-generation students,” Stevenson said. “It makes you really appreciate your status in the world and want to give to others who don’t have those same privileges.”

At EWU, Stevenson has been an active member of the Women’s and Gender Commission for the Office of the President, an international peer advisor and the co-president of the Planned Parenthood Generation Action Club. Currently, she’s a student employee for the Institute for Public Policy and Economics Analysis.

“I really believe that every moment I can serve I should serve,” Stevenson said. “I just feel like my time is best spent giving to others.”

Stevenson said her most significant contribution at EWU was helping to lead the charge toward getting a vending machine that offers emergency contraceptives on campus. That vending machine now resides on the first floor of the PUB.

It was a hard fight according to Stevenson.

“I think that … sexual and reproductive health services are incredibly important,”  Stevenson said. “They make the difference on whether students continue school or they drop out.”

Serving others

Stevenson was nominated by her husband, EWU student Tynan Stevenson, for Eag of the Year. He said that her commitment to service is what sets her apart from other students for the award.

“As an Eagle myself, I believe that she exemplifies all the core values of being an exemplary Eagle including quality, inclusiveness, integrity, collaboration and student-centered,” Tynan said in the nomination. “She does so while representing our school at the regional, national, and international levels.”

Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted, professor in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, said in an email to The Easterner, that Stevenson is one of the best students she’s had in the classroom.

“Her sense of service to the larger community, whether international or local, is exceptional as she has devoted hours of labor for various (non-governmental organizations),” Zeisler-Vralsted said. “She plans a career in International Relations with graduate school in the future.  I have no doubt she will be a success. EWU is fortunate to have had this student—she’s an asset to the International Affairs program and the university.”

I really believe that every moment I can serve I should serve. I just feel like my time is best spent giving to others.”

— Jordan Stevenson

Stevenson has interned for the Spokane Law and Justice Administrator, done grant research for ARTogether—a refugee organization, and been a civil society participant at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On June 4, Stevenson left for India to study Hindi, women’s rights and culture through a third party program called the University Study Abroad Consortium. She will also be conducting independent research on women’s rights and volunteering as much as she can while there for the summer.

“(Stevenson) loves to be challenged in her thinking,” Dr. Kristen Edquist, professor in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, said in an email to The Easterner. “She truly appreciates it when something she has believed to be true gets upended or deepened.”

Stevenson plans to apply for grad school in Washington D.C. after she graduates from EWU. According to Stevenson, balancing all of her goals and responsibilities is possible through the support from the people close to her and by remaining focused on the reason she does everything she does—for the sake of service.

“It’s about service for me,” Stevenson said. “Serving other people is about not just helping them, not just fixing them, but authentically engaging with their culture, with their context and just trying to give some of yourself to them.”