September 28, 2007

Sacramento State student overcomes odds to receive Hearst/CSU scholarship

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Photo by Erhardt Krause - Sacramento Bee
Joanna Siefert was one of 23 California State University students selected to receive this year’s William R. Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award.

A Sacramento State social work student, who survived ovarian cancer while caring for her injured mother, recently received a $3,000 scholarship for outstanding achievement from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the California State University.

Joanna Siefert was one of 23 CSU students selected to receive the 2007/08 William R. Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award. One student was chosen from each campus in the system.

Siefert earned a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley in 2006 and entered Sacramento State’s social work program later that year. She says she chose social work while taking care of her mother, who had been injured in an automobile accident.

During that time, Siefert noticed she was feeling weak and she was eventually diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. After recovering from surgery and chemotherapy, she says she realized she wanted to help others and decided to get her degree. Since then, she has worked as a hospice volunteer, a reader for the blind and as a jail intern counseling inmates. She is currently interning at a hospice and adult day services in Napa Valley.

The Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award provides a $3,000 scholarship to students who have demonstrated financial need, experienced personal hardships and have attributes of merit including superior academic performance, exemplary community service, and significant personal achievements.

The Hearst Foundation originally established an endowed scholarship fund in 1984 to honor William Randolph Hearst, founder of the Hearst newspaper chain. In 1999, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from trustees and private donors.

Seifert and the other winners were honored by the trustees Sept. 18 at the CSU Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach, California.

For media assistance or information on Seifert contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.