(September 23, 2011) – Cadet Stephen Lang has been named as Cal Maritime’s recipient of the 2011-2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. Lang was one of 23 inspirational student scholars honored this week by the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees.
The Hearst/CSU Trustees' award is among the highest forms of recognition for student achievement in the CSU. The award is given annually to one student from each CSU campus. In addition to demonstrating financial need, awardees must also have experienced personal hardship and posses other attributes of merit, including superior academic performance, exemplary community service, and significant personal achievements.
Lang began college in 2001, but he only finished one semester when the terrorist attacks of 9/11 motivated him to enlist in the military. Choosing country over self, he served six years of active duty in the Air Force, providing logistical support for missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea. Transitioning from active-duty military to student was difficult for Lang, even though he knew he needed to complete his college education to move ahead.
“I’m more focused now than I was before I joined the military,” said Lang. “The time I spent in the Air Force showed me how valuable an education is. There is definitely a glass ceiling in the military, and you have to get an education to get above it.”
It was not until a month after his first semester at Cal Maritime before he began receiving his G.I. benefits. In the interim, Lang and his wife Rachel barely averted homelessness by living in a cheap motel. Rachel and the couple’s 15-month-old daughter Alexis joined Lang at this week’s reception honoring him and his fellow Hearst/CSU Trustees' awardees. He says that he found the experience very humbling.
“The best part about the ceremony was meeting the awardees and hearing their stories,” added Lang. “They were fantastic. There was one guy from Guatemala who, at the age of 14, had had enough of his country. He and his brother just walked north and kept walking until they made it to America. It took them three months just to get through Mexico. He’s my age, and he’s finally making it through college and he’s doing well.”
Lang is in his senior year majoring in mechanical engineering, with an emphasis in energy systems. He continues to work weekends as a master sergeant in the Air Force Reserve, managing weapons-related logistics in the Asia-Pacific Theater. Despite this heavy commitment, he still maintains a 3.75 GPA. After graduating next April, Lang plans to enroll in a graduate program to enrich his knowledge in the conversion of energy systems.
ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP
The William Randolph Hearst Foundation originally established the endowed scholarship fund in 1984. In 1999, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees and private donors. From this endowment, the trustees award $3,000 to students who exemplify the scholarship criteria. Visit www.calstate.edu/foundation/hearst/awardees/2011 to learn more about the 2011/2012 award winners.
ABOUT CAL MARITIME
Established in 1929, The California Maritime Academy, a campus of The California State University, is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Cal Maritime was recently ranked by Forbes magazine as #18 in the “Top 20 Best Value Colleges” in the nation – and the #1 Best Value in California for providing students with the highest quality education for their academic dollar. Located in Vallejo, Calif., the campus serves approximately 900 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. It also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses. For more information about Cal Maritime, visit www.csum.edu.