2019 Trustees’ Award Winner Finds a Sense of Belonging at Humboldt - Humboldt State Now

2019 Trustees’ Award Winner Finds a Sense of Belonging at Humboldt

Lauren Werner didn’t have a good foundation in school. Growing up in foster care, she has lived in more than 40 locations and attended numerous elementary and high schools.

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Lauren Werner
She spent the first years of her college career at community colleges in the Sacramento area, homeless off and on and debilitated by a serious accident and a toxic relationship. It’s all part of what she calls “a life marked by change.”

Now a junior at Humboldt State University, she is majoring in International Studies with an emphasis in Global Culture, and minoring in Political Science. She’s also among 23 students who won the annual California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, the CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement. The awardees will be publicly recognized during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach on September 24.

The last year has been full of personal and academic achievements. She has led workshops, worked in focus groups, and spoken at a youth empowerment summit advocating resources for foster youth. She traveled to Guatemala to deliver medicine, clothes, and supplies to orphanages and homes of children in need. She’s aspiring to be a court appointed special advocate with CASA of Humboldt, advocating for children and teens in court, and is currently in training. She continues to volunteer medical assistance at large events in her spare time.

Werner was able to find a sense of hope, belonging, and identity in her education and, after graduation, she plans to put her experiences towards a profession that will allow her to help others and strengthen her community.

She hopes to be an ambassador, and plans to join the Peace Corps to gain experience. Her life has given her skills to navigate complex, intimidating worlds and processes that have direct impact on people and their communities.

“I feel the only way I can be fulfilled is to help others who share my situation find success,” Werner says. “Every human deserves respect and equal treatment. As long as I am helping others, the lessons earned from my struggle will not go wasted.”

About the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement

The CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement recognizes students who epitomize superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal achievements. These students also overcome tremendous personal hardships and demonstrate financial need. The base scholarship is $6,000 with opportunities to receive enhanced awards. Read more about the awards and winners on the CSU website.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation initiated the program in 1984 with an endowment that supports six scholars. Individual contributions from members of the CSU Board of Trustees and CSU Foundation Board of Governors, in addition to other supporters, sustain 23 awards. Campus presidents nominate one recipient per campus.