Past Scholarship Winners
Scholarship Winners 2005
Linda Lael Miller Awards Scholarships To Women Who Overcome Adversity
Spokane, WA — A Washington author who knows what it’s like to struggle is awarding scholarships this week to six women 25 years and older who have overcome such adversities as spousal abuse and the death of children to pursue their educational dreams.
The grants, from $800 to $1000, are Linda Lael Miller’s way of helping women who don’t usually qualify for traditional scholarships. Moreover, Linda Lael Miller’s Scholarships for Women may be used not only for tuition and books but also for childcare, transportation and other expenses not usually covered by scholarships
This is the fifth year for Miller’s self-funded scholarship competition. The New York Times bestselling author of more than 70 novels about women who succeed despite overwhelming odds said more than 1000 entered this year’s competition. Entries were judged based on essays that convey why the applicants need the funds and what an impact a scholarship would have on their lives and the lives of their families.
Once a struggling single parent, Miller endured her share of hardships before her talent and perseverance paid off and her books scored berths on all the major bestseller lists. Her next novel, McKETTRICK’S CHOICE, a sweeping historical set in Arizona and Texas, will be published by HQN Books in March.
About her program, Miller said, from her home outside Spokane, “Educate a woman, and you will impact endless future generations. These grants enable the winners to demonstrate to their children and to their children’s children that a woman can overcome adversity and succeed, through education.”
The winners of 2005 Linda Lael Miller’s Scholarships for Women are:
Cherri Lynn Smith, 51, of Keller, TX
In 1996, she was enrolled in college pursuing a nursing degree when her 16-year-old son was killed. “My world was turned upside down. But now, after years of working office jobs, I can finally move on and finish what I started,” Smith said.
With one year left to complete the medical assistant program at Everest College, Fort Worth, TX, Smith hopes to work as a medical assistant in a children’s hospital. She maintains straight As and has two sons living at home. She also raises her grandson and works for an insurance company.
“I have had a rough life,” she admits. “And I want to have the career I have always dreamed of, which is making children happy and making them feel better. I will devote the rest of my life to this goal of seeing a child’s face light up and knowing I am helping them mentally and physically.”
Adelaida Cardenas, 52, of Security, CO
She is only six classes away from graduating with a degree in business administration from Regis University in Denver. Although she works full-time at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, she spends much of her time at a local soup kitchen, cooking for the senior citizen hall and raising money for various charities with the Ladies Auxiliary Fraternal Order of Eagles. She also volunteers as a translator to children who are battling cancer.
“I am a strong believer in education, and I passed this belief on to my daughter,” Cardenas said. “She excelled in school, was on the honor roll and was a member of the Honor Society in the last year of her life. She died at the age of 13 from leukemia. It took me quite a while to get over her loss and get back on my feet, but I did, and I decided to go back to school to earn a four-year degree.”