A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
September 7, 2006 Volume 37 / Number 1


Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award Honors Sociology Student

Senior Anna Sorensen, a sociology major, has received the prestigious 2006 William R. Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Sorensen is the ninth CSU, Chico student to receive the award since 1993. There are a total of 20 awards given in the state. She received one of the top two awards of $6,000. She will be honored at a ceremony in Long Beach on September 19.

The Trustees' Award provides financial support to students who show superior academic performance, community service, and personal accomplishments in the face of personal hardship and challenges.

Sorensen, 29, is a full-time student and a single working mother of three daughters: Sarah, 11; Michel, 10; and Jennifer, 8. She’s been on her own since she was 14 and received her GED when she was 16. School for her has been part of her survival, she said.

“School is why I am here,” said Sorensen. “It is the reason I am a functioning member of society and able to parent my children and pursue higher goals.”

After attending three different colleges, she came to CSU, Chico as a junior. At Chico, she found a department full of professors who support her. She said that she can’t name all of them, because it has been everyone, but professors Kathy Kaiser and Cynthia Siemsen deserve special recognition. “They push me to go as far as I can go, which apparently is pretty far. I can’t express my gratitude to them as fully as I feel it,” said Sorensen.

Sorensen, an A student, plans to go on to graduate school and then teach at a university. She is interested in social policy, particularly good policy that results in social change. “The study of sociological theory informs us about the hows and whys of what is going on in society and can help us make positive change,” said Sorensen.

“Because I come from a place where most people don’t turn out to be university professors,” said Sorensen, “I have a litany of experiences that will allow me to be of benefit to others, both on the individual level and in terms of larger societal issues.”

Sorenson has been with Equality California and is the cochair of a local social action committee in Chico. She is active with the campus Women’s Center and volunteers for Relay for Life.

As for the difference the scholarship will make in her life, Sorensen said, “It is the difference of going into debt or not going into debt. It makes it that much easier for me to finish my bachelor’s degree, get ready for graduate school and still attend my daughters’ football and cheerleading events.”

The previous awardees from CSU, Chico are Elizabeth Coudright (2004), Ben Seigler (2003), Dijana Fazlic (2002), Patty Cotter (2001), Aimee Webb (2000), Lynn Wirt (1996), Kelly Baylor (1995), and David Ware (1993).

—Kathleen McPartland