Growing up on the big Island of Hawaii entailed a multitude of life-altering experiences for HSU Graduate student, Zahra Shine. From a young age, Shine saw firsthand the impacts of colonialism and social justice issues within her community. It was these experiences, as well as issues she dealt with in her personal life, such as homelessness, mental health, and poverty, that fueled her passion towards helping others overcome similar hardships. As a volunteer at Hospice of Humboldt, a domestic abuse shelter, and local elementary and middle schools, Shine has worked with people from all walks of life who are coping with loss, abuse, and mental health issues. She is also pursuing her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology with hopes of becoming a marriage and family therapist and professor.
It is this devotion to community outreach along with her robust academic excellence that has earned Shine a California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. Only one student from each CSU is chosen yearly to receive the award. The process to qualify requires an autobiography, speech and letters of recommendation—of which Shine was personally recommended by HSU President Lisa Rossbacher. The winners are chosen based on their academic achievements, community service, and ability to overcome adversity. On September 19th, Shine attended an award ceremony in Long Beach California where she received a 6,000 dollar scholarship for the 2017-18 school year along with certificates of recognition from Assembly member Mike Gipson and Chancellor Timothy P. White.
Before entering into her Master’s program, Shine earned a degree in Psychology here at HSU and was granted recognition as a Presidential Scholar. Next semester, she will continue to take steps towards pursing her goals by beginning to see clients at the Community Counseling Clinic. Additionally, Shine will go on to pursue her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a specific interest in helping to train other aspiring therapists, “I want to get my Ph.D. because of how much my Professors had helped me and really inspired me when I didn't see that in myself…as well as how amazing it is that they can integrate so much into a classroom to be teaching not just about the subject, but about building your character and identity as somebody that wants to give back—I think thats something our culture really lacks.”