#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Past Scholarship Winners

Scholarship Winners 2008

Linda Lael Miller’s Scholarships for Women Fund Pursuit of Ten Winners’ Dreams

SPOKANE, Wash. — Linda Lael Miller loves to create women who make their own dreams come true against all odds in her novels. This year, the New York Times bestselling author has given 10 real-life women the opportunity to do the same with her Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women.

In the 8th year of Miller’s contest, 1884 applications were received from women hoping to further their education with the help of these $1,000 scholarships. From working with children as a grade school teacher to helping women as a midwife nurse, the goals of these inspiring ladies are as diverse as the women themselves.

The winners in the 2008 competition range from a 26-year-old majoring in dental hygiene to an American Sign Language major hoping to improve communication abilities with an ill sister, just two examples of the incredible women selected for the scholarships.

“My philosophy is, ‘Educate a woman, impact endless future generations,'” Miller said, from the horse property outside Spokane where she writes novels set in the west of today and yesterday that are published by HQN Books.

Miller hopes to see generation after generation impacted by women who may not have otherwise completed their education without the help of her scholarships. Her vision for the program may be realized sooner than she expected, as many of this year’s winners are mothers, whose children and future grandchildren will learn all the things that can be achieved through education against all odds.

To be eligible for the scholarship program, a woman must be a U.S. or Canadian resident older than 25 years and enrolled in an accredited institution of learning. Winners may use the funds for books and tuition but also for daycare, transportation and other expenses not usually covered by scholarships.

The winners are selected based on essays written by the applicants, explaining why they need the scholarship and how their lives and families would be impacted by receiving it.

Miller knows firsthand the hardships these women have endured. Before she was known as the First Lady of the West for her bestselling novels, she experienced her share of discouraging setbacks. Now, after writing more than 70 novels, Miller is an acclaimed author with her latest bestseller, Montana Creeds: Logan, flying off the shelves.

The 2008 winners of Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women are:

Jamie Smith*, 27, of Barstow, CA

When Jamie Smith was pregnant with her daughter, she felt ill on a daily basis, lost 30 pounds and felt she was not receiving the support she needed from her doctor. After her five-month mark, Smith tried a different route—a midwife practice. She said her pregnancy experience turned around the moment she stepped into the office.

It is because of her experience that Smith decided to become a midwife nurse herself.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found my midwives,” she said. “I felt like I was coasting, but now that I’ve had my baby, I’ve figured it out. This is what I should be doing.”

Leyn will be using her funds to provide childcare for her daughter while she attends class at Barstow Community College.

Shavon Parker, 28, of Blue Island, Ill. Shavon Parker certainly has a lot on her plate. Not only is she a single mother of two young girls, 7 years and 16 months old, but she also teaches Pre-K classes full time and maintains a 3.1 GPA at DePaul University.

After getting her Bachelor’s degree from DePaul, she hopes to go into a Master’s program. Ultimately, she wants to become a public school teacher in an inner city school district.

“I’ve always been the type of girl to try to help people on a positive level,” she said of wanting to become a teacher.

She will use her funds to pay the tuition and books for her remaining classes.

Jenelle Martin, 38, of Denver, CO

After working in the nonprofit world for 12 years, Martin decided it was time to follow her secret passion—American Sign Language.

“I love the idea that anything you think of can be communicated with your hands,” Martin said. “I’ve been in awe of how my deaf professors and mentors can actually paint a picture with their hands.”

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of her studies is the help ASL provides for communication with her older sister, who has a neuro-muscular degenerative disease that keeps her from comprehending complex information and inhibits her verbal communication. ASL has helped enhance Martin’s communication abilities and keep her sister involved in the decision-making for her care.

After graduating from Front Range Community College, Martin hopes to study Spanish in order to become a trilingual interpreter and complete a Master’s degree in health communications. She will use her scholarship funds for tuition.