Linda Lael Miller Chooses 15 Women to Help Rewrite Their Life Story
Spokane, WA – Fifteen women, trying to overcome challenges to completing their education, will receive help with educational funding thanks to New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller.
Once a struggling mom herself, the author of more than 100 novels has selected the winners of her 2010 Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women—stipends designated for those 25 and older who typically don’t qualify for traditional scholarships.
“Reading the essays, I was so amazed by the fortitude, commitment and selflessness these women displayed,” said Miller, from her home in Spokane, Wash. “I have also been so humbled by the graciousness and authentic appreciation even those not selected have expressed.”
In its 10th year, the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women received more than 700 applications. Each applicant wrote an essay discussing the challenges to meeting her educational goals. A team, including Miller, judged each essay on readability, demonstration of commitment to the applicant’s education and career, and the possible impact of the scholarship on the life of the recipient, her family and her community.
“I feel so privileged to be able to do something to help women meet their educational and life goals,” said Miller, who funds the scholarship program from her speaking engagements and book-related income.
A regular on the national bestseller lists, Miller knows about crafting an amazing story. She also knows about rewriting her personal life story. Once upon a time, Miller struggled as a young, single mother with limited financial resources.
With perseverance and the support of family, Miller edited her life story to become one of dreams fulfilled. Ten years ago, Miller decided to offer other women the opportunity to rewrite their own story and has offered the scholarship program each year since.
“There are so many women out there who just need a little boost to set them on the way to a better life for themselves and their children,” said Miller. “I know I can’t help them all, but I can help some. I can show them that someone cares.”
Winners may use the scholarship award for tuition and books, but also for child care, transportation and other expenses not covered by traditional scholarships. Miller’s intention for the scholarship program is to help women leap the barriers keeping them from building a better life for themselves and their families.
“I hope that each scholarship has a long-lasting impact on the recipients’ families by demonstrating to their children and their children’s children that a woman can overcome adversity and succeed through education,” said Miller.
The 2010 winners of Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women are:
Carla Pray, Michigan
All her life, Carla Pray struggled with making sense of the world. At 7, her family doctor diagnosed her with Attention Deficit Disorder and told her she’d grow out of it. As an adult, however, she experienced abuse, homelessness, joblessness and the inability to care for her three children.
“A year and a half ago I was diagnosed with cyclothymia bipolar disorder,” said Pray, 27. “I have struggled with every aspect of my adult life, never understanding that my problem was mental illness.”
Family support and therapy have allowed her “to concentrate and accomplish basic and complex tasks without interruption or failure. Best of all, I have gained control of my life and have begun to build much needed self-esteem. Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you are any less capable or deserving than the next person.”
Working toward a degree in Computer Information Systems at Oakland Community College, Pray will use the $1,000 scholarship for transportation costs and books.
“Achieving my educational goals will give me and my children a chance to have a full and happy life that we never have had before. With my education I can afford to give them the things that right now I have to rely on others to help me give them.”
Maria Navarrete, Arizona
Maria Navarrete and her husband were busy raising their four daughters with the strong values and traditions of their native Mexico when he died suddenly in an accident.
“I came from a traditional family where labor was a priority instead of obtaining an education,” said Navarrete. “When my husband died, I realized the importance of being highly educated in order to overcome the obstacles in life.”
Pursuing a degree in speech and hearing science, Navarrete sees she’ll not only help her family financially when she finds a position after graduation, but she’ll also change the story of the lives of her future grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I would be the first generation to obtain a higher educational degree in my family,” said Navarrete. “I want to make a difference in my daughters’ lives and our descendants. I am looking forward to becoming an advocate in education for others by sharing my personal story of struggles and successes that led me to where I am now.”
Navarrete will use the $1,000 scholarship for tuition at Arizona State University.
“I have learned to be strong when a problem arises. I have learned that no matter what obstacles come my way, I have to maintain my calm and think thoroughly to determine the best solution,” said Navarrete. “Sacrifices and obstacles only last for a short time, but a success lasts forever.”