Determined to provide her child with the support and stability she didn’t have growing up, Roberta “Bobbie” Fox decided to get an education to better her future for her and her son.  
Her determination is paying off – Fox, a Cal State San Bernardino social work undergraduate student, was selected as the William Randolph Hearst Scholar for the prestigious 2019-20 California State University (CSU) Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.
The award is the CSU’s highest recognition of success that is given annually to students who demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service and financial need. Only one student from each of the CSU system’s 23 campuses are selected for this honor.
Fox and the other students will be recognized during the first day of the upcoming CSU Board of Trustees meeting to be held Sept. 24 and 25 at the CSU Office of the Chancellor.
Despite the challenges of single motherhood and major setbacks in her youth – including the abandonment of her biological parents, leading her to suffer chronic poverty, psychosocial trauma and homelessness – Fox has persevered, maintaining a 3.9 cumulative GPA at CSUSB and she is expected to graduate in June of next year.
“One of the biggest challenges that I have encountered while pursuing my education has been balancing my professional and academic obligations with my responsibilities as a single parent,” said Fox, who is also a first-generation student. “Soon after my son’s birth, I realized that pursuing higher education would provide the best possible future for him.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Fox plans to apply to the combined Master of Social Work/Master of Public Administration program at CSUSB. Her ultimate goal is to work with clients throughout the county as a case manager with Child and Family Services, where she will assist them with support and resource directory.
“This intervention can help improve the quality of the lives of individuals, families, and communities,” she said. “I will advocate on behalf of our community for more socioeconomic opportunities, equality, and safety for our youth. I will use the knowledge that I have gained at CSUSB to lobby our representatives, formulate professional grant proposals, and help to organize the development of necessary social programs within our community. Ultimately, I plan to work towards the development of more emergency shelters and transitional housing facilities within San Bernardino. I anticipate the opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to me.”
“Ms. Fox is a very strong student. She has shown a high level of commitment to her studies in social work,” said Glenda Crawley, lecturer in the CSUSB School of Social Work.
“She understands the struggles of the clients that social workers serve, thereby, she is better equipped to empathize with them,” Crawley said. “She understands social work values and has a passion for social justice. It is my belief that she will be a strong social worker in the child welfare field.”
Fox currently works with elementary school children as a literacy tutor and instructional aide. She also volunteers at a community center that provides activities for at-risk youth and resources for vulnerable members of the community, and has volunteered with The Salvation Army and San Bernardino Corps.
“As a volunteer, I gained awareness of the unique needs that residents of San Bernardino experience, as well as the incredible strengths that we all share,” she said. “I realized the incredible capacity for charity and support that businesses and organizations throughout the Inland Empire possess. Overall, this experience was instrumental in my decision to pursue my BASW.”
Although academic responsibilities take a lot of time and commitment, Fox knows receiving an education will give her and her son a better life.
“As a single mother, I have struggled with financial obstacles, scheduling difficulties, and caregiver concerns throughout my four-year tenure as a collegiate,” Fox said. “While these difficulties have proven strenuous, no aspect of this role imbalance is more disconcerting than the amount of time that I must spend apart from my child. To this point, I have developed time management skills and prioritized the quality of our time spent together. I realize that each stride forward creates a better future for him and myself.”
More than 360 students have been honored with the Trustees’ Award since the scholarship program was established in 1984 by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. In 1999, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation partnered with the CSU Board of Trustees to supplement the endowment with contributions from CSU Trustees, CSU Foundation Board of Governors, and private donors. Each student scholarship bears the name of a donor.
Visit the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement website for bios on all 23 scholars as well as donor information.