"CSU Long Beach embraced me. I truly feel like people want me to succeed." Growing up, Taryn Williams endured drug addiction and physical abuse and ended up in foster care. At one point, she'd given up all hope. Now she's healthy, considering a doctorate—and a President's Scholar at CSU Long Beach. Page ContentTaryn Williams was a junior in high school when she could no longer outrun the trauma she'd experienced as a child. In spite of the chaos of her early years, she received good grades and always loved to learn. "I was in the honors program in high school; I was in AP classes," remembers Williams. But her early childhood was rife with uncertainty—constant moves, a drug-filled home life, physical abuse and finally foster care. x Eventually, she moved in with her father and grandmother, who laid down strict rules. That worked for a while, but when Williams's grandmother passed away when she was 15, everything fell apart. "My dad worked long hours," she says. "I wasn't under supervision and fell into the wrong crowd. The lifestyle surrounding my drug use fueled truancy, until I couldn't manage going to school. I was like, I'm gonna end up like my folks anyway, so what's the point of trying?" By her junior year, her GPA was plummeting; one semester, she got a 0.2.