Campus: CSU Northridge -- July 9, 2003
CSUN Student to be Honored as a Hearst/Trustees'
Cal State Northridge deaf studies student Shannon Starr is one of six
California State University students selected for the prestigious William
Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees Award Scholarship.
Starr, 24, will receive the honor at the CSU Board of Trustees’
meeting, Tuesday, July 15 in Long Beach.
The awards provide $3,000 scholarships to students with financial need
who demonstrate superior academic performance, community service and
personal accomplishments. The awards are funded by an endowment from
the Hearst foundation and individual contributions from the CSU Board
Starr, who received her bachelor’s degree in May, has been accepted
into the university’s graduate program in linguistics. She plans
to become a university professor teaching deaf studies and sign language.
Starr said she was stunned when she received the letter informing her
of the award.
“I was in shock, I couldn’t speak, my mouth dropped open
and I couldn’t speak,” she said. “My roommate came
and I kept pointing at the letter. For me, that was the sign that I
could go into graduate school, I always wanted to go to grad school.
Without it I wouldn’t be able to go.”
Starr’s educational journey has not been easy.
In 1996, Starr was exposed to a potentially deadly virus while on a
church mission to the Philippines. The virus caused her to have flu
like symptoms, seizures, amnesia, stomach pains, blurry visions and
After returning from the Philippines, she attended Palomar Junior College
in San Diego to learn sign language, complete her general education
and receive interpreter training.
But the illness still haunts her. Doctors told Starr twice that she
was going to die, including at the start of her first semester at CSUN
in spring 2002 when she was told she had four months to live because
parasites were attacking her heart.
Starr has been able to triumph over her illness and graduated in May
with a cumulative grade point average of 3.98. She is the treasurer
for the Deaf Studies Association, a representative and liaison for Deaf
CSUNians and works on campus as a professional sign language interpreter
for the National Center on Deafness. She also volunteers for her church
and the deaf community.
Starr said dropping out of school and not getting involved in extra
curricular activities while at CSUN were not options, despite her medical
problems. “I need to always be involved in school and activities
in helping others. That is what helps me to keep going.”
Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, firstname.lastname@example.org