Anna Chau, a graduate student in the counseling program at Cal State Long Beach (CSULB), has been honored as a recipient of a 2013 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Chau joined 22 other CSU students (one from each of the system’s 23 campuses) as they were recognized Sept. 24 by the CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Foundation Board of Governors, faculty, students, staff and public at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach in the Glenn S. Dumke Auditorium.
The CSU Trustees’ Awards are among the highest student distinctions within the university with each recipient demonstrating superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. Each Trustee award is accompanied by a scholarship of $3,000 to $10,000.
“CSU trustees’ scholars have defied the odds, rising above circumstance to become leaders among their classmates and exemplifying the CSU mission of access to a quality higher education,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “Through talent, determination and drive, they now grasp the promise of a brighter future–for self, family and community.”
The challenges award recipients have faced to get to where they are today makes for some compelling reading. They have overcome a variety of obstacles in their lives, including war zones, a prison cell, hospital room, welfare office, rehabilitation center and foster care home.
Chau’s parents migrated to America shortly after the Vietnam War, and her family endured many acculturation struggles. She grew up in a low-income neighborhood in San Francisco and began working at the age of 14 to help support her family. Today, she is a full-time student working on her master’s degree in CSULB’s counseling program with a focus on marriage and family therapy.
“I yearn to be a catalyst within immigrant families and help build trust between generations,” noted Chau, who was honored as a William Randolph Hearst Scholar at the Trustees’ award event. She said her $3,000 scholarship will go toward her tuition, helping her to decrease her loan amount.
Her interest in working with people began during her senior year as an undergraduate student when she volunteered as a peer educator, providing college students information regarding domestic violence, sexual assault and drug abuse. Currently, she is a conversation partner on campus, teaching and speaking English with international students. She also serves as a mentor for sophomore students through Project Rise at the Career Development Center.
As part of her practicum through the graduate program, Chau is serving as an intern at Kaiser Permanents in the Addiction/Medicine Department, where she is learning how to conduct groups and one-on-one sessions with adults and adolescents and learning ways to work with co-dependents as well.
She plans to use her experience to become a counselor who will instill hope in people and provide them with the highest level of social support.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go,” Chau explained. “With this scholarship, I will be able to learn more things as I get to see more places.”
The Trustees’ Award program began nearly three decades ago with scholarships endowed by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. More than 250 scholarships have been awarded since the William Randolph Hearst Foundation initiated its endowment in 1984 to help high achieving students who have overcome adversity. Past honorees have gone on to attend prestigious graduate programs and even to serve on the CSU Board of Trustees.