Linda Lael Miller Announces 2004 Scholarship Winners
Cave Creek, AZ — Overcoming childhood abuse, Bipolar Disorder, and multiple failed marriages, the winners in Linda Lael Miller’s 2004 scholarship program are prime examples of what women can do with their lives, given a second chance and the will to succeed.
Miller, a New York Times bestselling author who never forgets what it’s like to struggle, announced the five winners in her 2004 Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women competition this week. The Cave Creek, AZ author of more than 60 novels awarded five scholarships in varying amounts from $750 to$1000 to women who range in age from 31 to 55 and who live in Arkansas, Massachusetts and Florida.
Having endured her share of hardship before she became an internationally recognized name in women’s fiction, Miller annually stages a scholarship competition unlike any she’s seen. Women from 25 to 105, who desire to improve their lot in life through education, may apply by writing essays. The winners may use their scholarship monies not only for tuition and books, but also for childcare, transportation or any other education-related expense that will enable them to leap the barriers keeping them from building a better life for themselves and their families.
“My philosophy is, ‘Educate a woman, impact endless future generations,'” Miller said, from the horse property outside Scottsdale, AZ, where she writes novels published by HQN Books. “Each of these scholarships will have a long-lasting effect on the recipient’s family and will help demonstrate to their children and to their children’s children that a woman can overcome adversity and succeed, through education.”
Always eager to learn, Miller is currently attending the Scottsdale, AZ Citizens Academy sponsored by that city’s police department. She plans to enroll in the University of Phoenix Criminal Justice curriculum, with the goal of becoming a volunteer victims’ advocate in her community.
Meanwhile, Miller continues to write novels about women who succeed despite overwhelming odds. Her next novel is McKETTRICK’S CHOICE, a June 2005 MIRA Books historical hardcover, set in her own state of Arizona and in Texas.
The special women who have been presented Linda’s 2004 scholarships are:
Dawn Velasco, 39, of Sarasota, FL
A single mother of two daughters, she works full-time while studying in the pre-nursing program at Manatee Community College, pursuing her goal of becoming a registered nurse. Working as a team, Dawn and her daughters have made many sacrifices to help pay for Dawn’s schooling, cutting out the extras, like cell phones and eating out and agreeing to take the bus when possible.
Dawn had a wake-up call that she was a role model for her children when her younger daughter stated in class that she wanted to grow up and be a waitress like her mom. Dawn realized that “What I do has an impact on the aspirations they formulate for themselves. I sat down that evening after she was in bed and thought about how my life had strayed so far from my childhood dreams. I realized that it is never too late to go back to school and still fulfill those dreams that were still tucked safe and sound in my heart.
“My children and I know that this time of sacrifice is for the greater benefit of us all,” Dawn confided. “We will be more financially sound. I will get that opportunity to have a rewarding career as I have always dreamed of having, and I will teach my children by example that anything is attainable if you are willing to do the work and give it your best shot.”
Eureka Wilcox, 36, of Gloucester, MA
Abused as a child, she overcame her feelings of low self worth through therapy. Now she has four children of her own, ages two to 13, and works full-time as a receptionist at a local bank while she attends the University of Phoenix online. With help of a supportive, disabled husband, who stays home with the children, Eureka has a 3.56 GPA.
“My children and my husband have sacrificed so much to enable me to further my education,” Eureka said. “I have finally been blessed.”