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:
Lisa Leyn, 42, of Blanchard, OK
When her grandmother began needing full-time care, Lisa Leyn knew she was the right person for the job. She has been so inspired by caring for her grandmother that she hopes to work for a nonprofit organization caring for the elderly and disadvantaged youth after graduating from the University of Oklahoma.
Leyn’s two children, 13 and 17, are sure to be equally inspired by their mother’s work.
“I wanted to be an example for them, not just tell them to do something without doing it myself,” Leyn said.
She will use her scholarship funds to cover the costs of books and school supplies for her remaining semesters in school.
Melissa James, 35, Taylor, TX
Coming from a family of 16 children, most of whom had children by the age of 15, and none of whom have a high school education, James made it her personal goal to break the cycle of her family tree. Her first step after getting her GED was to join the U.S. Army and begin online college classes. However, after serving two months in the Middle East shortly after 9/11, she learned her mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. So James returned home with an honorable discharge to take care of her five-year-old son and eleven-year-old brother.
Now that her son has graduated from high school and plans to attend college, she has set a deadline on her goal—to complete college before her son.
Now that she is paying tuition for her son, her younger brother and herself, she will use the scholarship funds to finance for the last 12 credits of her degree at Temple College.