Student Veteran Lands Wells Fargo Scholar/CSU Trustees’ Award
By Margaret Chantung
Cal State San Marcos student veteran Maylin Caldwell was one of 23 awardees—one from each of the CSU campuses—recognized on September 8 by the CSU Board of Trustees and the CSU Foundation Board of Governors for demonstrating superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need.
A Marine Corp veteran, Maylin was one of three women sent to Afghanistan in 2011 with a unit of over 200 men. During the seven month deployment, she completed over 100 supply distribution and rescue missions, receiving medals for her efforts.
However, due to traumatic experiences abroad, Maylin developed post-traumatic stress disorder, making the transition from the military to civilian life very challenging. Nonetheless, she was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA for three years while majoring in biology at Palomar College, was selected for the 2014 Community College Academic Team and is a National Institutes of Health Bridges Scholar.
Today, in recognition of her dedicated military service, she is this year’s Wells Fargo Scholar and a recipient of the California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, which comes with a $6,000 scholarship.
“These trustees' scholars are leaders on their campus, in the community and among their peers," said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. "Their stories of drive, commitment and perseverance—often overcoming great odds—serve as testaments to the indomitable spirit of CSU students."
While conducting undergraduate biology research at CSUSM, Maylin is also an intern at an organic farm, works as a science tutor at Palomar College, and is a STEM ambassador for local youth.
After earning her doctorate in plant biology, she has her sights set on building a sustainable organization that benefits underrepresented communities and the planet.
“I plan to establish a sustainable farm and store to create jobs, help improve the quality of our environment, and give the local community access to natural products at a fair price,” she said.
The CSU Trustees’ Awards are among the highest student distinctions within the university system with each student nominated by their respective campus presidents and selected for designated awards by a committee formed by the CSU Foundation.
The Trustees’ Award program began about three decades ago with scholarships endowed by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. More than 300 scholarships have been awarded since the Hearst Foundation initiated its endowment in 1984 to help high achieving students who have overcome adversity. Past honorees have gone on to attend prestigious graduate programs and even to serve on the CSU Board of Trustees.
For more information about Maylin and the 22 other awardees, visit the CSU Trustee Awards website: http://www.calstate.edu/foundation/trusteesawards/