Sept. 14, 2021 – CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) pre-Nursing major Aurelia Nahue has been awarded the 2021 Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement by the California State University.

Known as the highest recognition for scholars, the award is given each year to one student from each of the 23 CSU campuses who demonstrates superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service, and financial need.​​​

Nahue embodies all of these qualities. Aurelia Nahue

Growing up with disabled parents—one deaf and mute, the other blind and hard of hearing—Nahue’s childhood was far from average.

She served as her parents’ caretaker, helping them with the mundane tasks of adulthood—filling out paperwork, trips to the bank and doctor's appointments. To this day she still functions as their main support system while also providing guidance and support to her younger sister.

“It was definitely hard, and I would question it at times,” Nahue said. “I’d wonder if my friends or classmates had to do the same stuff I was doing.”

Despite these hardships, the freshman’s performance in her Human Anatomy and Physiology class astounded her professor. The academically rigorous, fast-paced class provides a foundation for nursing and other health care professions. Most freshmen don’t typically perform well. In fact, the average grade in the class when Nahue took it was a C+. But Nahue ranked 10th out of 234 students, earning an A, and with extra credit, scored more than 100% of the possible points.

“In the context of Aurelia’s home responsibilities, her accomplishments in the classroom are all the more impressive,” said Biology Lecturer Lorna Profant, Ph.D. “Her exemplary performance in my classes speaks to her maturity, diligence, and work ethic. These qualities make her an eminently deserving recipient of the CSU Trustees’ Award.”

As a high school student, Nahue felt lost. While everyone around her seemed to know what they wanted to do in life, she had no idea.

It wasn’t until her aunt recommended she apply to a volunteer program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles that she found her calling. The then-15 year old shadowed medical professionals in each department for a week. It was ultimately the nursing staff who interested her the most.

“I got to see the interactions they have with people, the community, and the amount of support they give back,” Nahue explained. “My goal is to obtain a degree in nursing and be able to financially support my parents. I want to work with children, hopefully at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I aspire to help others in the way others have helped my parents in a healthcare setting.”

In addition to her studies and caring for her parents, Nahue finds time to volunteer in the Pediatrics department at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys.

“I’ll answer calls, ask the patients if they need anything, or help the nurses open up rooms,” Nahue said. “Whatever they need, I’m there to help them.”

Nahue will be honored during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 14 during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting along with winners from each of the 23 CSU campuses. Her $6,000 scholarship was funded by Sante Health Systems.

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