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New scholarship to support students with interest in exploration and travel


Jayne Zanglein snaps a selfie with husband Steve Wohlrab on a visit to France.

A recently established scholarship at Western Carolina University is designed to celebrate the life of a late professor of business law by supporting students who share her passion for travel, teaching, research and helping others.

Stephen Wohlrab, retired associate professor of music at WCU, created the $10,000 Jayne Zanglein Travel Scholarship Fund in September in memory of his wife, who died Feb. 22, 2022, after a six-month battle with brain cancer. The fund will provide $1,000 in annual support to students in good academic standing who have an interest in exploration and travel.

Zanglein taught mediation and law at WCU for 15 years and, as a professor emeritus in the College of Business, wrote “The Girl Explorers: The Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flew and Fought Their Way Around the World.”

“The Girl Explorers” describes the founding of the Society of Women Geographers, an organization of adventurous female world explorers. It examines how members of the society served as early advocates for human rights, paving the way for future women scientists by scaling mountains, sailing the high seas, flying across oceans and recording the world through film, art and literature.

“The women featured in the book proved that women were as capable explorers as men,” Zanglein said of her work. “They broke a barrier so women today can travel and explore without discrimination.”

zanglein class

Jayne Zanglein interacts with students in the classroom.

Establishing the scholarship fund in Zanglein’s memory is designed to enable worthy students to travel as part of their studies at WCU, said Wohlrab, associate professor of music at WCU from 2005 until 2017.

“While Jayne often traveled for research on the book, many times she would travel just to walk in the footsteps of the great women explorers that she was writing about. Sometimes the purpose was just to get a feel for the location, culture and challenges that they had to face,” he said. “Students are welcome to travel for that purpose also, even if there is not a specific research or academic goal.”

Zanglein served as a mediator for more than 30 years and taught mediation at all levels, from community mediation through law school. She founded the North Carolina Agricultural Mediation Program and FARM-VA, Virginia’s state mediation program. Zanglein served as president of Mountain Mediation Services for three years and was on the board of directors for an additional three years.

Recipient of WCU’s University Scholar Award in 2009, she previously served as provost of the National Labor College and as the J. Hadley Edgar Professor of Law at Texas Tech University. Before joining academia, Zanglein headed the employee benefits department at a New York City law firm, where she successfully represented union plans and employees. She had an international reputation on pension plan investments and was recognized as a national expert on employee benefits issues.

Zanglein served on various task forces including New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s Task Force on Pension Fund Investments and the American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee Task Force on Health Care Reform. She also developed a national trustee education program on behalf of the Center for Working Capital, and worked with South African trustees and the government of Ontario on pension reform. Zanglein was appointed to the N.C. Dispute Resolution Commission as a certified district court mediator on Oct. 1, 2020, a term that was set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023.

She received her bachelor’s degree in music from Berklee College of Music and her law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She was awarded membership in the Society of Women Geographers on the merits of her book.

Wohlrab, who now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, previously taught at Lehigh University, Mercer Community College in New Jersey, the College of New Jersey, South Plains College and Texas Tech University. A professional guitarist for more than 30 years, he has performed with national artists such as Sister Sledge, Peaches and Herb, Clay Aiken and Jaco Pastorius.

Wohlrab is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a master’s degree in music from the University of Miami. He and Zanglein were married for 41 years and raised two sons.

Potential recipients of the Jayne Zanglein Travel Scholarship will be identified by WCU’s Office of International Programs, subject to the review of the University Scholarship Committee, and must write an essay detailing how they exemplify her legacy of seeking to break barriers to travel and exploration.

To contribute to the fund, contact the WCU Division of Advancement at 828-227-7124 or, or visit the website

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