SAN MARCOS — Rachel England, a senior majoring in biological sciences at Cal State San Marcos, was named one of 23 California State University students to receive the 2010/2011 William R. Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.
The Hearst/CSU Trustees’ award provides scholarships to students who have a demonstrated financial need, experienced personal hardships, and have attributes of merit including superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal achievements. The award is among the highest forms of recognition for student achievement in the CSU.
“Rachel is an exceptional, hard-working student with a strong commitment to serving those in her community and beyond,” university President Karen S. Haynes said. “She exemplifies both outstanding achievement and academic excellence, and is highly deserving of this prestigious award.”
Having a financially strained but loving upbringing has inspired England to strive for greatness to help her family. A first-generation student, England has faced adversity and economic challenges.
England persevered through the dissolution of her parent’s marriage as well as her own emotionally debilitating divorce. Still, none of these obstacles have deterred from her drive to pursue a career in science. While balancing a rigorous academic schedule and earning a 3.14 GPA, she also provides intensive support and care for her sister who has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.
“Taking care of my younger sister has enhanced areas of my personal growth and taught me innumerable life lessons,” England said. “I am blessed to experience this care-giving role for it has developed my perspective and empathy towards the uniqueness of every person.”
In addition to her academic achievements, England works on campus with Campus Recreation, participated in a summer research internship program, and continues to volunteer throughout her community. Most notably, she organized a conference for 90 leaders from local nonprofit organizations, spearheaded a food drive, made monthly trips to help out at an orphanage in Mexico, and taught dance workshops at a women’s shelter.
After she completes her bachelor’s degree, England plans to continue her education and pursue a career as a physician assistant, allowing her to both serve her community as an advocate for better health and travel to other countries to conduct humanitarian work in the medical field.
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