When choosing a college, sophomore marketing, public relations and advertising student Sarah Coyan had good reason to consider Stephens College. If she were to choose Stephens, Coyan would be following in her mother’s footsteps and begin a family legacy.
Coyan’s mother, Jacqueline Wissel-Coyan, became a Stephens Susie in 1982 when she began studying communications. She later moved to Sammamish, WA where she continues to live today.
Some may feel that becoming a legacy seems like following too closely in the footsteps of family members, but Coyan feels differently. She did not choose Stephens simply because it is where her mother attended. She wanted to find the perfect fit for herself, her goals and her interests.
“Stephens was my top choice,” Coyan said. “I wanted to go out of state and try something new. My mom never forced me to go to Stephens, but she definitely wanted me to.”
Both Coyan and her mother have traveled great distances to attend Stephens.
“It’s hard for me to let you go!” Wissel-Coyan said. “It’s made me realize how hard it was for Grandma. It’s made me realize what my mother went through.”
Both women quickly became involved on campus through various organizations. Wissel-Coyan was an announcer for KWWC 90.5 FM, Stephens’ campus radio station, while her daughter chose her own path, joining Kappa Delta, Student Government Association and Student Ambassadors.
In regards to their shared experiences at Stephens, Coyan finds the generational differences to be the most interesting. While Coyan enjoys the convenience of modern technology, her mother was not so fortunate. Wissel-Coyan recounts waiting in line to use the hallway telephone to call home and using a typewriter for homework.
Another change from then to now has been the guest policy. Wissel-Coyan attests to the fact that Stephens was much stricter. In fact, students were once required to show identification to bring a man past the front desk.
“The doors weren’t always locked,” Wissel-Coyan said, “but there was always someone manning the front desk.”
Coyan and her mother share a special bond as Stephens Women. Coyan has followed her mother’s footsteps and begun a legacy of strong, intelligent women to attend Stephens College.
“She wanted me to make my own decisions,” Coyan said, “but I think in the end she always knew that Stephens was going to be the place for me.”