CSUSB Palm Desert Campus announces Jane Straus scholarship recipient


Rachel Lawson of Indio has been chosen as the 2013-2014 Jane Straus Scholar at Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus.

Jane Straus (l) and Rachel Lawson

Jane Straus (l) for whom the Jane Straus Scholarship is named, and the 2013 recipient, Rachel Lawson.

Lawson, who is the first in her family to attend college, said, “The word ‘college’ was rarely mentioned in my home growing up.”

Since childhood, her dream and goal has been to pursue higher education, teach high school English and become an ESL instructor. As a child, Lawson says her mother would read English books to her, and it was from there that her love for English words and language developed. As she got older, she began to believe that self-expression is the deepest foundation for developing a higher sense of self-esteem, and being able to speak English is such a valuable asset in today’s society.

“I was and am still convinced that teaching youth the value of words and language is my mission in life,” Lawson said.

She has worked as a tutor and teacher’s assistant and was also able to help a refugee family from Eritrea with English language acquisition, which aided them in assimilating into American society.

Lawson is currently pursuing a teaching credential and would then like to further her education by pursuing a master’s degree in English.

Straus was a renowned life and relationship coach who died in 2011. She wrote the book, “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation” and was a supporter of the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus. She served as the judge on the television competition “Coachella Valley Grammar Bee.” The scholarship is awarded in her honor.

“Jane Straus fell in love with the study and instruction of English early in her career,” said Fern Field, executive producer of the “Coachella Valley Grammar Bee.”

“We join her family, friends and colleagues in thanking the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus in perpetuating her dedication to encourage and promote the correct use of English by establishing the Grammar Bee/Jane Straus Scholarship Fund,” Field said.

For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the campus’s Office of Public Affairs at (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107 or msinger@csusb.edu.