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October 16, 2012 > Her time to shine!

Her time to shine!

By Miriam G. Mazliach, Photo courtesy of CSU Trustee Scholarship Committee

Erin Enguero, a 2011 Washington High School graduate from Fremont, was recently selected as a recipient of the William Randolph Hearst/ CSU Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement and named the Trustee William Hauck Scholar. The award recognizes one student from each of the 23 CSU campuses who has overcome adversity and demonstrated extraordinary personal and academic achievement as well as community involvement. Enguero, who attends San Josˇ State University (SJSU), was diagnosed with bilateral (both ears) genetic hearing loss. She first shared her personal story with the community, during a Fremont Unified School Board meeting in June 2011.

Subsequently, Enguero convinced the Department of Rehabilitation that an assistive hearing device would provide critical assistance during her college education. The assisted hearing device she uses is generally referred to as an FM System, a transmitter device with tiny receivers attached to her hearing aids.

At SJSU, Enguero is a Kinesiology (human movement) major who is active in many campus clubs and activities. Additionally, to gain further experience in her field of study, she works at the Student Health Center as a physical therapy aide, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. The work experience will be beneficial to her career path and ultimately her goal of earning a doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Tri-City Voice recently interviewed Erin Enguero about the recognition.

TCV: When did the ceremony take place?
Enguero: September 18 in Long Beach at the CSU Chancellor's Office.

TCV: How were you nominated?
Enguero: I applied for the scholarship through the Stars Online Scholarship Tracking and Review System utilized by SJSU. It is a database of scholarships that makes it easier for students to search and apply for several awards. It also allows scholarship administrators to easily organize and narrow down their candidates.

At SJSU, 11 candidates were called in to the Financial Aid Office for a one-on-one interview. I am amazed that I was selected to represent SJSU and join 22 other candidates honored by the California State University School system.

TCV: Did you receive any funds for this honorary recognition?
Enguero: All candidates, including myself, were awarded a monetary scholarship. We were also given a surprise package of electronics, courtesy of Sony. In addition, I was awarded $1,000 by Trustee William Hauck, who endowed a scholarship fund back in December 2010 to recognize the Hearst Award recipient from San Josˇ State University.

TCV: What is your response to having been selected?
Enguero: It is still overwhelming and exciting to realize that I was chosen to represent San Jose State University for a California State University based scholarship. At the time I applied to the scholarship, I was a freshman in college and didn't have as many college experiences under my belt. This is the first year the Hearst Scholarship has freshmen award winners; I am one of three!

TCV: How are you enjoying your studies at SJSU?
Enguero: SJSU was the last college I expected to attend. In high school, I was involved in leadership for four years, participated in several clubs, performing arts, and various community service activities! I was known as the gal who piled her schedule with so many extra curricular activities, my peers expected me to end up at some big UC or private college, not a campus that was so close to home.

What they, nor I didn't realize until completing one semester, was that San Jose State University is an amazing school! Despite budget cuts and tuition increases, my visit to the CSU Chancellor's Office to receive the Hearst Scholarship has given me a greater respect for the California State University school system.

My family often reminds me that it is what I make of my experiences that matters and that is true; I love my studies at SJSU! The professors, the campus, and the diversity of students - everything! I am especially grateful to major in Kinesiology where we have a friendly department that welcomes new students with open arms. My involvement in the Pre-Physical Therapy Club allowed me to meet individuals with the same goals who were supportive of each other's achievements. In fact, these were the first group of people who posted my award on Facebook before I even got the chance to tell everyone myself!

TCV: When did you select your field of study - Kinesiology - and what are your career plans?
Enguero: Back in October 2008, my sophomore year of high school, the economy began to enter a recession. At that time, my father lost his engineering job and my mother developed a foot infection that required surgery. This forced me to think about my future career goals in which I could have a stable job that would always be in demand, and to take part in a career that would make a difference in people's lives. Watching my mother quickly recover and learn how to walk again made me realize physical therapy was a great field.

My desire to go into the medical field was confirmed in my last year of high school. By volunteering at the Fremont Kaiser gift shop, I would listen to customers tell their life stories. Empathy and patience are two traits of genuine care and sensitivity mechanisms I developed when learning how to cope with my hearing impairment.

Majoring in Kinesiology will help me achieve my goals of becoming a physical therapist. After I earn my undergraduate degree from SJSU, I will need an additional two to three years of graduate school before I can officially practice. I would also like to write a book one day about my experiences as a hearing impaired individual; this scholarship is certainly a landmark to write about.

TCV: Anything you would like to add?
Enguero: I have overcome social and educational obstacles as a hearing impaired individual; this has pushed me to a higher sense of success. At the same time, other candidates faced homelessness, abuse, poverty, and additional hardships. I was in awe of what my fellow award winners have accomplished; we all shared the sentiment that other candidates have stories more inspiring than ours! I feel blessed to have met such a talented, humble and resilient group of students. Scholarships often recognize individuals for their community service and leadership, but to celebrate life challenges that have strengthened our spirits is truly an exceptional recognition.

Upon receiving a surprising bundle of gifts from Sony, a standing ovation from members of the Chancellor' Office, and the opportunity to shake President Qayoumi's hand, I am still trying to understand what I have achieved. The one thing that is clear in my mind, however, is the thrill of being a member of the CSU system and a representative of SJSU.

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