#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:

Christina Brown (name has been changed), San Rafael, CA

Christina Brown has spent her life caring for others. Her dad’s absence and her mom’s special needs required Brown to serve as mom to her five younger siblings. Today, the single 30-year-old is rearing three children and she continues to care for her 25-year-old autistic brother.

While giving of herself, Brown has kept the goal of being the first in her family to receive a college degree alive and well. In 2000, she graduated with honors and two associate’s degrees. She then transferred to San Francisco State University to continue to work toward her dream of becoming an attorney. Her studies—and life—were interrupted by a diagnosis of cancer—stage II Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Successfully treated, Brown looks forward to graduating in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

“I have had a very hard life and many obstacles to overcome,” said Brown. “I am determined to break my family’s cycle of poverty. I don’t want my children to have to endure the struggles that I had growing up.”

Brown’s advice to other women struggling with life’s challenges: “Always, always think positive, help others and do your best.”

Brown will use her scholarship to pay for school supplies and gas.

Deana Becker, Los Angeles, CA

Deana Becker About a year after Deana Becker’s son was diagnosed with autism, she noticed that her child was mesmerized by TV shows. The pre-schooler, now 6, who had lost his ability to communicate, began to imitate the dialogue he heard on screen.

“I took full advantage of his new interest,” said Becker, 40, “and I exposed him to as much educational television as I could. By using the television as a learning tool, I was able to engage in dialogue with him.”

The realization sparked an idea and then a goal. Becker dreams of creating TV shows for children with special needs.

“My goal is to one day create programming that will be the standard by which all children’s television will be judged,” said Becker, who’s pursuing a degree in film making.

What wisdom has Becker gained from life’s struggles? “You are usually capable of much more than others expect of you. Look at obstacles as another opportunity to succeed and feel as if you’ve conquered the world.”

She will apply her scholarship award toward student fees.