Brandman Student to Receive Award

March 19, 2010 by Social Team

Willena Glaster overcomes obstacles to pursue undergraduate degree; Award provides further financial assistance

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (March 19, 2010) – Brandman University student Willena Glaster will be presented the Soroptimist International Women’s Opportunity Award by the organization’s Central Solano County Chapter at the annual Women Making a Difference luncheon on March 23.  The award assists women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills, and employment prospects.

An undergraduate student at Brandman’s Fairfield Campus since March 2009 studying Early Childhood Development, Glaster has overcome many obstacles while pursuing her dream of a college education; she will be the first in her family to obtain a college degree.   “Getting a degree at Brandman University means that I have fulfilled a goal I set many years ago”, says Glaster.  “Life’s requirements took me out of college over 25 years earlier and I never finished my degree.”

Following a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2007 Glaster made the decision to return to school once she was physically strong enough.  Enrolling in community college in July of 2007 Glaster persevered through complications from her diabetes and cancer treatments, maintaining a 4.0 grade-point-average.   Encouraged by a family friend to preview Brandman University, Glaster transferred to the University to complete her Bachelor’s degree.  Following her first term, Glaster became her family’s primary financial provider after her husband lost his employment.  Working full time as a day care provider, she continued to take her courses at Brandman through their online degree program.  “Because of Brandman’s flexible schedules and online courses, I was able to keep working and provide for my family”, says Glaster.

Glaster is on track to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Development in 2011.  “We are proud of Willena’s accomplishments and that she is receiving this award”, says Brandman Fairfield Campus Director Dr. Kandy Simmons.  “She exemplifies the Brandman student and proves that a college education can be attained no matter what the circumstance; she has overcome many obstacles but has kept her sights on her dream.”

Glaster’s long term goals are to ultimately obtain a Doctoral degree and open a chain of private schools focusing on tolerance, self-love, and acceptance.  “I believe I have been given another opportunity to complete my education so I can continue the movement towards equality in education for all who desire to learn.  I’m thankful to Brandman University for the ability to pursue my education and to Soroptimist International for this award.  The financial support ensures I can continue my courses at Brandman and finally earn my college degree.”

About Chapman University
Founded in 1861, Chapman University ( is one of California’s oldest, most prestigious private universities and is home to more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 1,500 graduate students at its home campus in Orange, California.

About Women’s Opportunity Awards
The Women’s Opportunity Awards program is Soroptimist’s major project. Through the program, clubs in 19 countries and territories assist women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills, and employment prospects. Each year, more than $1 million is disbursed through cash awards at various levels of the organization. Recipients of these women awards, many of whom have overcome enormous obstacles including poverty, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse, may use the awards to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education.


About Brandman University
Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. As part of the Chapman University System, Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with innovative curriculum and strong support services designed for students with busy schedules. The university offers 50+ undergraduate, graduate, credential and certificate programs across its schools of arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and health. Brandman serves 12,000 students annually with programs available online and at 26 campuses throughout California and Washington. The university’s online programs consistently rank among the top in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

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