#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Past Scholarship Winners

Scholarship Winners 2009

Author Linda Lael Miller’s Scholarships Help 10 Women Work Toward Helping Others

SEATTLE, WA—Ten women who’ve struggled with poverty, prison or health issues have won the 2009 Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women. Each winner, despite her current life challenges, seeks to obtain her education so that she may be of service to others.

“My philosophy is, ‘Educate a woman, impact endless future generations,'” said Miller, a New York Times bestselling author of more than 80 novels.

Miller has awarded scholarships for the past nine years to women 25 years or older who have a difficult time finding scholarships for which they qualify. As in previous years, the grants may be used not only for tuition and books, but also for child care, transportation and other expenses not covered by traditional scholarships. Each of this year’s winners will receive $1,000.

Miller is no stranger to adversity. She struggled for years as she worked toward her dream of becoming an author. She started the scholarship program “as a way to give back. I was once a single parent, with my back to the wall a lot of the time, and I know how it feels.”

More than 1,700 women across the United States and Canada applied for Miller’s 2009 scholarships. Application essays were judged on readability, demonstration of commitment to the applicant’s education/career and on the possible impact of the scholarship on the life of the recipient, her family and/or her community. These following 10 women received top scores in all categories by the judges.

The 2009 winners of Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women are:

Rebecca Kolar, Edmond, OK

Rebecca Kolar fondly recalls when she was happily married and pregnant with her second child.

“My life was magical, and I was so very happy,” Kolar said.

Her daughter was born eight weeks early, tiny and struggling to breathe. The little baby survived and joined the family at six weeks old. Just over a year later, the toddler suffered a stroke.

“My daughter’s entire right side was paralyzed,” said Kolar. “She’s dealt with years and years of therapy and medication. After my daughter’s illness, my marriage failed. I look back and try to understand how I made it through such difficult times, and it was always with the help of wonderful, caring nurses.”

With her children grown and doing well, Kolar, 45, decided to fulfill her dream of becoming a labor and delivery nurse. Kolar said she feels grateful that she has the opportunity to give back in the same way that the nurses helped her daughter.

Kolar’s advice for overcoming adversity: “Look for the silver lining in everything; it is there—you must look through your tears sometimes to find it.”

Kolar will pay for tuition with the scholarship.

Jennifer Key, Kansas City, KS

At age 23, Jennifer Key decided to take life into her own hands. She made peace with her father’s suicide and her mother’s addiction, left her abusive husband of eight years and returned to school.

Today, at age 28, the mother of five has completed her GED and is a full-time student studying to be an attorney.

“I would like to eventually work in the social services field,” said Key. “I want to work in a position that allows me to help make the quality of other people’s lives better.”

Key volunteers at the local domestic abuse shelter and serves on the board of a youth soccer association. She said her children and her goals keep her motivated.

“Each one of us is blessed with special abilities and talents, and adversity adds character,” said Key. “For me, adversity has allowed me to see in a positive way what others would see negatively.”

Key will use her scholarship award to pay for gas and tuition toward a degree in law and society.