#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:

Lisa Davis, Canada

Many stories regarding the child welfare system and foster care—a program designed to provide a safe, healthy home for kids unable to live with their families—are more akin to horror tales. Lisa Davis, though, found great comfort in the foster home in which she grew up and the social workers who supported her.

“The Children’s Aid Society has had involvement in my life since I was 3, and I became a crown ward at the age of 9,” said Davis. “At 19, I had a daughter, and then a couple of months before my 20th birthday, my foster dad, my only support network at the time, died suddenly of a heart attack. I knew I had to do something with my life, at least for my daughter’s sake.”

She obtained a cosmetician license and enjoyed the work, but knew that her lack of belief in her abilities kept her from her true passion—working with youth in the child welfare system. “I lived with self-esteem issues, thinking that I could never make the grade for university. Obviously I was wrong. I took a credit as a special student and achieved an A-. The decision was made.”

The mother of three, including one with special needs, Davis and her husband have also acted as guardians of her two young cousins. Davis volunteers as board president of a youth center, performs advocacy work and works part time for the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa.

“Child welfare has always been the most influential determinant for success in my life; I intend to pour my whole self into that sector,” said Davis, who’s working on a degree in social work at Carleton University.

She will use the $1,000 scholarship for transportation expenses and tuition.

“As a mature student with challenges such as extra transportation costs and the costs of raising children, I have found it really difficult to get the support needed to succeed,” said Davis. “This scholarship will help me with these challenges so I can concentrate on achieving my education goals and make a brighter future for me and my family.”

Mia Carrington, California

Mia Carrington likens trying to attend school while being medically disabled and having a daughter with autism to “a record playing, skipping and having to be restarted.

“My disability and raising a disabled child have delayed my goals, but not stopped me from pursuing them,” said Carrington. “I have had to drop many semesters due to illness, but I always return when I am able. Quitting is just not part of my character.”

She and her 10-year-old daughter live with Carrington’s parents and rely solely on Social Security disability for income. Pursuing a degree in Health Information Technology, Carrington has her mind set on landing a good job after she graduates.

“My family already gives me so much,” said Carrington. “I want to work and earn a living to support me and my daughter.”

Carrington will use the $1,000 scholarship for tuition at Santa Barbara City College and to pay for a national certification exam.

“Many times when you are having a difficult time, it is hard to share that with others and ask for help,” said the 33-year-old. “My advice for other women who are struggling, whether financially or with health issues, is to ask for help. I have always been a private person, not wanting to share my painful issues with others. Now that I have my daughter, I have learned to ask for help no matter what.”