Overcoming Hardships, Student Honored by the CSU - Humboldt State Now

Overcoming Hardships, Student Honored by the CSU

Zahra Shine led a difficult childhood, suffering neglect, abuse, poverty, and mental health issues.

Zahra Shine
Shine committed herself to helping children and families facing similar hardships, enrolling as a Counseling master’s degree student at HSU, and earning a California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

HSU President Lisa Rossbacher recommended Shine for the award, which is given every year to one student from each CSU who demonstrates superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service, and financial need. It comes with a $6,000 scholarship for the 2017-18 school year. Shine received the award from Chancellor Timothy White at a ceremony in Long Beach this week.

Shine has endured homelessness, her parent’s divorce, and the compounding effects of their mental health issues. However, Shine’s mother instilled a love for reading that would blossom into valuable a tool for self-education and healing. This passion would help her cope with the depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder she experienced in high school.

“Fortunately, I dreamed of studying psychology so I could help others improve their lives as therapists had helped me,” she says. “This dream motivated me to enroll in college, and as a first generation college student, learning immediately became my passion.”

Shine earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Humboldt State, getting a 4.0 GPA in her major and a 3.85 GPA minimum overall, earning her recognition as a Presidential Scholar.

Shine has worked locally with at-risk students, battered spouses, and the families of the deceased through her volunteer work at elementary and middle schools, a domestic violence shelter, and as a hospice grief counselor.

Keenly aware of the burden mental health issues can place upon families, Shine hopes to become a marriage and family therapist.

“Additionally, I would like to earn my Ph.D. in counseling psychology so that I can research effective therapeutic treatments and use my research to help shape public policy and improve access to affordable, quality mental health care for underserved populations,” she says.

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.

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.

This story was originally published on September 20, 2017