By Rob Cullivan | CNews Editor
Rowan Dodero, 18, a graduate of Faubion Elementary School as well as Jefferson High, can speak Spanish, paint murals and talk fashion—Roman fashion, from back when the Caesars were emperors, not salads.
A fan of anthropology and history, Dodero is a valedictorian of the Class of 2022 and says she’s fascinated by how folks lived in the past. “I’m interested in the people,” she says. “I really like looking at what they wore and learning about what they believed and why and what they did.”
In addition to the aforementioned subjects, Dodero has also learned about biotechnology as an intern at her high school’s OHSU program, and she enjoys writing as well. The stellar student earned 40 college credits while in high school by attending Portland Community College classes through its Cascadia campus, graduated with a 4.2 weighted GPA and is enrolled at the University of Oregon.
She earned a Pathways Scholarship to the home of the Ducks, which she says will cover her tuition, and plans to pay her housing bill with the help of a $1,000 Stumptown Scholarship. Dodero was one of 16 East Portland high school graduates who won such a grant. Stumptown Scholars are primarily funded by retailer Mattress Lot and local donors. Scholarship awards are based on an essay, academic performance, community leadership and financial need.
For her Stumptown essay, Dodero was asked how she would teach young people 20 years from now about what it was like to be a student during the Covid lockdowns.
“I would start by delving into the effects that quarantine, masking and social distancing had on people,” she wrote. “I would focus on youth because I have first-hand experience being a high schooler during the pandemic, and I could relate it to my students. I would look into the long-term effects this had on my generation, how school etiquette and social skills were hindered.”
“Our scholarship committee was super impressed by Rowan’s essay,” Michael Hanna, a Stumptown spokesperson, said. “Rowan is a creative and thoughtful writer. She writes clearly, in an organized manner. We liked her description of life during the pandemic for high school students and her description of how the pandemic changed our culture and society for years to come.”
Dodero credited her parents, Calley Dodero and Stephen Phillips, for supporting her academic journey, and added that her interests are varied, ranging from volunteering on behalf of the Oregon Food Bank to serving as a Portland Parks and Recreation camp counselor this summer, as well as an art camp counselor the previous three years.
Although she would love to study Spanish abroad, Dodero said she has not yet made up her mind what she wants to pursue as a career after university. “I’m just trying to learn a bunch of stuff and see what I like.”
CNews Editor Rob Cullivan is a veteran journalist, publicist and grant writer who has written about everything from rock ‘n’ roll to religion. He possesses a deep affection for writers and photographers who hit deadline.