#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Past Scholarship Winners

Scholarship Winners 2010

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:

Jeanne Malmgren Melvin, South Carolina

A storyteller herself, Jeanne Malmgren Melvin worked as a newspaper journalist for two decades. While on assignment in Cambodia in 2000, Melvin fell in love with three orphans, whom she and her husband adopted. The family moved to South Carolina to care for Melvin’s terminally ill father. The journalist, however, found she could no longer practice her craft.

“After a long, fruitless job search, I realized that many years away from a newsroom, combined with my age and the sad state of newspapers in general, meant that I had to find some new way to make a living,” said Melvin.

Due to their years of deprivation, her children also required extensive medical intervention. The youngest needed repeated surgeries for hearing loss. Her oldest suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and required “a small army of psychologists and psychiatrists, plus long-term medication, to address her issues.”

Inspired by her children, Melvin decided to pursue a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. She would like to treat children and veterans suffering from PTSD.

“It’s a challenge, taking classes alongside students half my age, delivering kids to soccer, taking my 94-year-old mother to the doctor, squeezing in late-night writing assignments,” said the 54-year-old. “But I can handle it. There’s something to be said for plunging ahead with blind faith and trusting that your inner strength will be there when you need it most.”

Melvin will use the $1,000 scholarship to cover tuition at Clemson University.

“This scholarship is an amazing gift,” said Melvin, “not only because it will help pay my tuition, but also because I no longer feel so alone in my struggle to help my family.”

Christina Martin, Pennsylvania

As a nursing major, Christina Martin seeks to change her story from one of emotional suffering to a story of caring for and offering hope to patients.

“My story of being stuck in an abusive marriage has ended; I am finally out of my cocoon,” said the 42-year-old divorced mother and grandmother.

Martin said she had planned on going to college after graduating high school. Pregnant in her senior year, she had to redirect her goals. She married and two more children joined the family. Unfortunately, family proved not to be a safe haven when her husband became abusive.

“I knew I had to get my children away from this awful life and get out, even if it meant losing all material possessions,” said Martin, who finally had to file for bankruptcy.

Pursuing her education and becoming a nurse offers Martin hope for a better life. “I love interacting with people, helping and caring for them, touching their lives and having them influence my life. I must reach my goal of becoming a nurse not only to fulfill a lifelong dream, but also to break the chains of dependency once and for all.”

Martin will use the $1,000 scholarship for transportation costs as she attends Cedar Crest College.

“I have experienced many life lessons and learned I can go most anywhere through hard work and a belief in myself. Sometimes it seems impossible, but it is amazing how strong we as women really are.”