SF State News {University Communications}

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Student wins CSU Hearst Award

October 06, 2008 -- Graduate student Laura Millar is the 2008 recipient of the William Randolph Hearst/ CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement, which honors students with exceptional academic performance, community service and noteworthy personal success with a $3,000 scholarship.

A photograph of Laura Millar, winner of the William Randolph Hearst/ CSU Trustees’ Award.

SF State Student Laura Millar

Millar is finishing her third and final year of her master's degree in Public Health (MPH) [http://www.sfsu.edu/~hed/masters/glance.htm]. Her academic program includes working as an intern for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) (http://prisonerswithchildren.org/), a non-profit organization that helps incarcerated mothers and their children. In addition, Millar is developing a curriculum to train correctional officers in California.

Millar spent much of her childhood in East Africa. There she learned of the cultural practice of female genital mutilation, and the devastating ramifications of HIV/AIDS, the Rwandan genocide and the cultural taboo of individuals with disabilities. In 2003 Millar was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition, causing her to become legally blind. Soon after, her new diagnosis was coupled with the challenges of being a new mother.

Millar refuses to let the walls that have been placed in her path stop or even slow her down. Her experiences have compelled her to focus her studies on bettering the health and living conditions of ethnically diverse cultures and have shaped her philosophical outlook on life.

"All of these experiences, such as growing up in Africa among diverse populations; adapting to vision loss; adjusting to life as a single mother; interning with LSPC and learning from the work environment, have come together to solidify my goal and commitment to advancing my education through an MPH degree," Millar said. "I am confident that I will make a valuable contribution to the field of health education and social justice."

The award has already made an impact on Millar's life. "It will allow me to concentrate more on my studies and remain at home with my son," she said. It will allow me to concentrate more on my studies and remain at home with my son," she said.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation originally established an endowed scholarship fund in 1984 to honor William Randolph Hearst, founder of the Hearst newspaper chain. In 1999, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees and private donors..

-- Student writer Rebecca Richardson with Nan Broadbent


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