As a high school student Jordyn Watts ’15 faced a tough question that many students must confront: would she attend the college of her choice or settle for something more financially accessible? Although she was academically well qualified Watts worried that her budget would put Colorado College’s first-rate education opportunities well out of reach.
Fortunately, Watts’ destiny changed when she was awarded two scholarships — the Jay D. Cayton ’52 and Betty G. (Saunders) Cayton Endowed Scholarship and The Woman’s Club of Colorado Springs Scholarship.
Throughout her ensuing years as an undergraduate, Watts has thrived. She is majoring in neuroscience and minoring in biochemistry and says the research opportunities that she’s encountered will position her well for graduate school.
“One of the most rewarding characteristics of a Colorado College education is the interaction students have with faculty,” she says. “These relationships have been critical toward determining my future plans and goals.”
Watts has worked in the lab of Associate Professor Lori Driscoll ’94 with research focusing on behavioral pharmacology. Watts has studied how different compounds influence the nervous system and, ultimately, behavior. Her thesis examines a sub-discipline, behavioral neurotoxicology and she has specifically studied the flame retardant compound polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). She will ultimately pursue a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience.
“Without the financial aid I received from the Cayton Scholarship and The Woman’s Club of Colorado Springs there is no chance I would have been able to attend Colorado College or any other school that could have prepared me as well,” Watts says. “I feel like a competitive applicant for my preferred graduate programs because of the experiences I’ve had at CC.”
A Love of Learning — Cayton Scholarship Perpetuates Education Excellence
Half a world away from Colorado Springs in New Zealand, Peggy Cayton talks eagerly about her late parents, Jay ’52 and Betty Cayton — and Jordyn Watts ’15.
The common thread that links Peggy, her parents, and Jordyn is the Jay D. Cayton, 1952 and Betty G. (Saunders) Cayton Endowed Scholarship, which Jordyn was awarded when she enrolled at CC in 2011.
“Jordyn is so well rounded and she has really been able to grow and broaden her mind at Colorado College,” Peggy says. “My parents would have appreciated knowing how well she has done academically while having their scholarship.”
Peggy’s father, Jay, grew up in a single-parent home during the depression and money was scarce. Later in life, when Jay was a student at Colorado College, he was helped by many people in the Colorado Springs community. Assistance from others and a lifelong appreciation for education that he shared with his wife, Betty, led to the couple’s decision to establish a scholarship.
After completing his bachelor’s in zoology at Colorado College, Jay held a number of positions including managing a construction company, owning a hardware store, and for 20 years serving as principal of a Northglenn primary school. A park adjoining the school bears his name. Betty was a homemaker until 1963 when she decided to take a step outside the norm and challenged herself to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Denver. She served as a teacher at Northglenn for 15 years.
“My parents both loved learning” Peggy says. “It’s important for their names to be associated with this scholarship and for their story to be told.”
Peggy and Jordyn have had the opportunity to meet with one another and they talked about Jay and Betty. Peggy gave Jordyn Watts pictures of her parents, biographical information, and told her about their passion for education in Colorado.
Coincidentally, Jay and Betty Cayton attended Colorado Springs High School, which today is Palmer High School — the same school Watts attended.
“I was honored to receive the Cayton Scholarship, particularly after meeting Peggy and learning more about the legacy her parents are passing down to Colorado College students,” Watts says.
The Cayton Scholarship was funded by gifts from Jay and Betty and by their realized bequest to Colorado College. Their contributions were matched by a challenge grant from the Walton Family Foundation, an incentive that Peggy calls “phenomenal.”