August 23, 2004 Vol. IX, No. 1

Northridge Student Named Hearst Award Winner

Becky Berger is One of Only 14 CSU Students to Earn Special Trustees Honor

Cal State Northridge graduate Becky Berger is one of fourteen California State University students who received the prestigious William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees Award scholarship at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in July.

Funded by an endowment from the Hearst Foundation and personal contributions from the trustees, the $3,000 systemwide scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need, superior academic performance and outstanding volunteer community service.

"I didn't believe it," said Berger about her receipt of the award. "I was very surprised, moved, and humbled to hear that all my hard work was appreciated by this university."

Berger, who learned English only six years ago, is pursuing further coursework in Jewish Studies after earning bachelor's degrees in both child development and psychology.

Orphaned at the age of six months, Berger spent a difficult childhood in nurseries and orphanages abroad. Homeless after running away from an orphanage, the honoree recalls, she managed to survive by developing "defense mechanisms" that helped her overcome calamities such as the death of her first husband.

In America, Berger found herself trapped in an abusive second marriage. After a bitter divorce, a custody battle and a stroke that paralyzed half of her body for nearly three and a half years, Berger was determined to help others by becoming a counselor and child advocate. She has been called an "icon of resiliency" by those who know her.

The mother of three has worked hard as a role model, serving as president of Tau Alpha Epsilon at Los Angeles Valley College. At CSUN, she became a lifetime member of both the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Named to the Dean's List and the President's Honor List at Northridge, she also received the President's Distinguished Honor Award.

An active volunteer, Berger has worked with organizations such as the Jewish Home for the Aging and Residents Against Graffiti (RAGE).

"All my life, people and especially children have been my principal passions," she said. "Now, my desire is to make them my cause. I look forward to making a difference in someone's life, to consummate my life's purpose, and to make a better world for all."

@csun | August 23, 2004 issue
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