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September 6, 2005
DH 05 RH08
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
(310) 243-2455/2001


CSUDH Senior Overcomes Obstacles, Mistakes, Wins Hearst

A California State University Hearst Trustee Scholarship went to a CSU Dominguez Hills student for the third year in a row. Senior Deidre Knighten, public administration, who returned to school after a 20-year hiatus that was filled with personal hardship, was awarded the scholarship for the 2005-2006 academic year.

She was one of only 12 to win a Hearst scholarship for the year out of the hundreds of thousands of students on the 23 campuses in the CSU system. The Hearst, as it is usually known, is given annually to a handful of CSU students who demonstrate financial need, superior academic achievement, and a commitment to community service. Hearst winners are also students who have overcome significant personal challenges.

Knighten’s commitment to community service included finishing the last weeks on her 10-month AmeriCorps internship. AmeriCorps is the domestic version of the Peace Corps and provides interns with on-the-job experience. Knighten’s internship was with the U.S. Vet, an organization that helps military veterans with the transition from the street back into society.

Her commitment is also close to home. “I have a personal history,” she says. “That’s why I have a passion for helping. My goal after I graduate is to open a recovery home for women, and that’s why I’m going for a degree in public administration. I want to open a home for women who are addicted to drugs so that they can recover from drugs and have sober babies. And have a safe place to go, and to be nurtured.”

Knighten went into a downward spiral when her mother suddenly collapsed and died of a burst aneurysm in front of her, she said. Among other things, she lost a full scholarship to UC Berkeley in the process. Knighten said she is from a family of six children and she, the youngest, was the only one to go through any addictions. All of the other five “stayed sober,” she said, and graduated from college, as have some of their children. Knighten described herself as “pretty down and out, with no hope that I would straighten out.” That lasted 10 years before she came out of it, thanks, she said, to the Tarzana Treatment Center in Signal Hill, the judge who made her go there, and the faith in her displayed by a Los Angeles pastor.

Since then, she also won the Best and the Brightest Millenium Momentum Award from the Millenium Momentum Foundation, Inc. for the 2004-2005 academic year. That award was presented to her by then-Los Angeles City Council member Antonio Villaraigosa, who is now the mayor of L.A. This year, along with the Hearst, Knighten won the Midway Credit Union Scholarship from the Midway Credit Union and the Black Caucus Spouses Scholarship from the Congressional Black Caucus.

Knighten is scheduled to graduate from Dominguez Hills at the end of the 2006 spring semester, which is the same time her oldest child, a daughter, is scheduled to graduate from Cal State Northridge. “She’s my biggest fan,” Knighten said of her daughter. Knighten has another daughter and two sons, all of whom, she says, are “smart and they’re good kids” and all plan to go to college.

For more details, go to http://www.csudh.edu/univadv/dateline/archives/20050822/studentnews/deidreknighten.htm

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
Welch Hall, B-363
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson, CA 90747

Dominguez Hills Dateline is produced by University Advancement/ University Communications
& Public Affairs

Media Contact:

Pamela Hammond
University Communications
& Public Affairs
(310) 243-2001


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Last updated Friday, September 6, 5:44 p.m.,
by Joanie Harmon