Stena was not an aggressive woman. She was a humble woman with many insecurities. Yet she was a highly accomplished woman who made valuable contributions to the church and her community.
In 1922, Stena Scorup became the second female mayor in Utah. She accomplished this only two years after national suffrage had been granted (although Utah had given women the vote many years prior). Her calm manor caught people off guard – she said that at municipal conventions, people expected an aggressive woman and found, in her own words, “a homely, humble school teacher.” Stena was a good mayor. Under her leadership, Salina’s main street was surfaced, electric lights were installed on main roads, water conditions were improved, and she decreased the city’s debt. And she did it all while teaching a course in English at the high school and caring for an invalid brother.
Prior to becoming mayor, Stena was a well-loved teacher in Salina. She was passionate about education, and many students praised her ability to inspire them individually and convince them they were intelligent and capable. Stena’s love of education went beyond teaching. She was a lifelong learner in every sense of the word. She attended summer school and earned her B.S. from Utah State in 1928, and her masters from BYU four years later.
Stena had also served a mission to the northern U.S. when she was 29. She thrived in atmospheres many missionaries hate – street contacting and tracting. She had a talent for calming down hostile individuals and convincing them to hear what she had to say. When she returned from her mission, she stayed highly committed to the gospel for the rest of her life, serving in MIA presidencies, primary presidencies, and was a very popular Sunday School teacher.
I admire Stena’s ability to accomplish her goals while maintaining her sense of self. It would be easy to feel the need to be pushy or aggressive to accomplish what she did, but she just worked hard and honestly, and everything worked together for her good.
Sister Saints, by Vicky Burgess-Olson