Student overcomes hardships, earns Hearst award

hearst-award-receipient.jpgMelany Aiken, a teaching credential student and future graduate student in history at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), has been selected as a recipient of a 2008-09 William R. Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.
The Hearst/CSU Trustees’ awards provide $3,000 scholarships to students who have demonstrated financial need, experienced personal hardships and have attributes of merit including superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal achievements.
This year’s award winners, one from each of the CSU’s 23 campuses, were honored by the CSU Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach.
“I am so appreciative of this award and thankful to the Board of Trustees for their support of my academic and career goals,” said Aiken. “Knowing that I have additional support for my college expenses from the Hearst/Trustees’ Award helps to relieve some of the stress that comes with student teaching.”
Aiken’s childhood was filled with hardship. Her difficult upbringing caused severe depression during her teenage years, resulting in risky behavior and self-destructive activities. Determined to make something of herself, she enrolled at a community college to earn an associate’s degree, but, as her self-confidence grew, she decided to pursue a teaching career.
In May 2007, Aiken graduated magna cum laude from CSULB with a bachelor’s degree in both history and anthropology. Currently, she is doing her student teaching at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, and she expects to complete her teaching credential requirements in February. From there, she anticipates beginning the master’s program at CSULB to earn an advanced degree in history.
“This was an extremely challenging application package for me to complete because of the childhood memories I had to face. However, revisiting these issues has made me realize how far I have come,” Aiken said.

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