She’s a top student, athlete, and leader.
Her scholarship will help her become a college graduate.
Opening new doors
Juah Toe ’20 knew West Chester University was the right place for from the moment she arrived. During her first campus visit, she noticed the community had the familiar warmth of home — as well as the opportunities to try something entirely new.
“It just felt right,” Juah recalls. “The campus was gorgeous, and everyone I met was so nice. There were so many possibilities, it made me look forward to my future here.”
One of those possibilities was rugby. Juah first saw the sport on TV during the 2016 Summer Olympics but had never played it herself. She signed up at an Involvement Fair as a first-year. By her junior year, she was the rugby team’s captain.
In spite of her many athletic and academic successes — including becoming WCU’s first student athlete to win the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award — Juah was unsure whether she’d be able to graduate. Her family wasn’t able to support her tuition, leaving Juah scrambling for the funds to return her senior year.
Then she was awarded the Dr. Edward Matejkovic ’69 Endowed Scholarship, named after the longtime WCU athletic director who made the Golden Rams a regional powerhouse. For Juah, it was an honor — and a lifeline from having her education cut short. “My family doesn’t have the best financial situation, and a lot of my stress comes from not being able to pay for certain things,” Juah says. “It is a really big blessing that I am able to finish.”
The power of persistence
For Juah, the chance to graduate confirms what she says is the most important lesson she’s learned at WCU: never give up. “There have been so many times I’ve confided my doubts to my professors and advisor,” she says. “No one ever said I couldn’t do it. There were always people at the University supporting me, telling me today might be hard, but your future can be what you want it to be — you just have to keep getting back up and pushing forward.”
It’s a fundamental belief echoed in Juah’s studies — she’s a psychology major who counts Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Well-Being among her favorite classes. She also lives out her conviction by participating in a vast array of extracurricular activities and leadership positions.
In addition to being an Honors College senior with a 3.9 GPA, Juah serves as the University’s vice president of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa, secretary of the women’s service organization The Abbé Society, and sports and recreation director of the Honors Student Association. She has twice taken part in a delegation to South Africa to help develop after-school programs, and she established a local recreational program to build children’s teamwork skills. She also recently led the women’s rugby team to a national title.
“I have always been a ‘people’ person — I just get people, and I like helping them,” Juah says. “So I appreciate that service is built into the University’s culture. From getting the rugby team more involved in the community, to serving pancakes at the local senior center with The Abbé Society, community service makes my heart nice and warm.”
Juah Toe ’20
Recipient of the Dr. Ed Matejkovic ’69 Scholarship
“I would have not been able to come back for my senior year if I hadn’t received this scholarship. For someone to notice I was making a positive contribution and want to help me out — that means everything to me.”
“I want to leave the graduation stage knowing I did everything I can to leave an impact.”
Looking forward to giving
Busy as she may be, Juah has no plans to slow down in the coming months. Though she is no longer a newly visiting first-year, the campus still seems ripe with possibilities. Juah is determined to take full advantage of the opportunity she’s been given in the limited time she has left at the University.
“I want to get more involved — even though I’m probably already too involved,” Juah says. “I want to leave the graduation stage knowing I did everything I can to leave an impact.”
After she completes her degree, Juah plans to get a master’s degree in sports psychology. And whatever she ends up choosing as a profession, Juah wants to follow through on a lesson her mother passed on to her and her three siblings: “She told us if you get ahead, you can’t forget to go back to pick up your brothers and sisters.”
It’s a principle Juah looks forward to applying at her soon-to-be alma mater. “I tell my coach this all the time — whenever I get rich and famous, I can’t wait to pour my money into people that still go here,” Juah says. “Whether they’re on the rugby team or not, I want to help them thrive the same way I did.”