Arienne ArreolaArienne Arreola, a sophomore biology major from Bakersfield, is CSU Monterey Bay’s 2011 recipient of a William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. The award is among the CSU’s highest recognitions for student achievement.

Arienne and the other recipients were recognized at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach on Sept. 20.

The award is given to students who have overcome significant challenges to demonstrate superior academic performance and personal achievements and have demonstrated financial need.

Arienne wants to become a surgeon and be in a position to save lives. This ambition comes from a deeply personal place – when she was 2 years old, her mother died of an aneurism while giving birth to her younger brother. “I believe her death would have been preventable if she’d received proper medical care,” she said.

Following her mother’s death, her father left Arienne and her four siblings in the care of her grandparents, both of whom were fieldworkers. In middle school, she began acting out, and was suspended. Soon after, a teacher intervened and helped Arienne realize she wanted to put her life on a different course. She changed her attitude and began taking school seriously. She found she enjoyed the mental engagement classes offered, particularly solving science and math problems. “It’s like a game or puzzle to me,” she said.

Arienne gained a strong work ethic from her grandparents, but they had little experience or enthusiasm when it came to education. She was determined, however, and became the first member of her family to graduate from high school and attend college. She’s on track toward her goal, majoring in biology with a pre-med concentration and a 3.5 grade-point average. She did this all while working multiple jobs in order to support herself and help her family.

More than 412,000 students attend the campuses of the CSU system. Only 23 of those students are honored with Hearst scholarships. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation established an endowed scholarship fund in 1984 to honor the founder of the Hearst newspaper chain. In 1999, the foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees and private donors.