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Gardnerville woman named Regents Scholar for WNCC

Staff reports

Hard work, perseverance and the willingness to follow a dream are paying off for Western Nevada Community College education student Mindy Millard.

Millard, a Gardnerville resident, has been named the 1998 Regents Scholar. The award, which comes with a $5,000 check, is given to top students of the University and Community College System of Nevada for their academic achievements, leadership abilities and service contributions.

Millard is one of eight students statewide who are being recognized with the award this year. She has earned a 3.98 grade point average and plans to continue her college education after graduation this spring, majoring in elementary education at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“When I heard about the requirements of the scholarship, I knew immediately that I would nominate Mindy; she was an obvious choice,” said WNCC English/Development English Instructor Michelle Trusty-Murphy. “Not only is she a great student, but she is a caring mother, a hard worker and a genuinely kind person.”

The single mother of five daughters began her education career at the WNCC Yerington center in 1996. After she had taken all the classes she could at that location, she began commuting to WNCC Douglas and Carson City.

“The interactive video courses I took in Yerington were a wonderful opportunity,” Millard said.

When she began attending classes on a full-time basis, she made the decision to move her family to Gardnerville, after living in Yerington for 14 years.

“The first time I met Mindy, she was attending my class via interactive video from Yerington,” Trusty-Murphy said. “It is not easy to know your students at a remote site, but there was something about Mindy that translated even over the video. I could tell she was energized about learning and about sharing that learning with others as a teacher. When she moved to Douglas, and I saw her in my class in person for the first time, I was thrilled – thrilled that she could have an opportunity to take all the courses she wanted to take – and thrilled that I would be able to work more closely with such a talented and promising student.”

“I married into a family that didn’t encourage the women to go to college, but I always wanted to go,” Millard said. “My ex-husband was really against the idea when I started. Now, he’s one of my biggest supporters, helping to take care of the girls while I’m in class.”

When she was first divorced, she was forced to receive public assistance for her children, but soon was hired at a video store in Gardnerville.

“I started as a customer service representative and within four months was made supervisor,” Millard said. “It’s been a good job – I’ve met a lot of people and have made friends working there.”

Millard will graduate from WNCC this spring with honors, is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (she’s one of this year’s WNCC nominees to the USA All Academic Team) and has completed two honors projects.

Millard said she’s considering using the award stipend to buy a newer vehicle for commuting to UNR next fall.