Ramona Dowdell

Scholarships Help Students Realize Their Dreams

 Ramona Dowdell
Ramona Dowdell is deeply committed to helping people. That’s clear in her choice of social work as a major, in her service as a volunteer in a wide range of community activities, and in her determination to set up a community youth center some day. Dowdell was honored as a Medford Scholar not only for her volunteer work, but also for her leadership in encouraging other students to become involved in community service and to reflect on the value of that service.

The Medford award includes a partial scholarship, which is a key part of Dowdell’s tight budget. To pay the rest of her college expenses, she works as an orientation counselor in the summer and as a resident assistant during the school year. She also is receiving loans through a federal program for higher education. With that combination, Dowdell hopes to have a debt of no more than $10,000 when she graduates.

“I will value my education more because I had to pay for it myself,” she said. “I’m grateful for the scholarship, and I wish more students could get one. When you dream of becoming a doctor, or a lawyer or a teacher, and you don’t have the money to get through school, your dreams are lost. You can’t think of a scholarship as ‘free money,’” she said. “You have to be qualified and keep your grades up. You have to work for it.”

Dowdell’s work as a Medford Scholar involves serving on an advisory committee, making presentations to her peers, and maintaining a 3.0 grade point average or better. But it’s the service requirement she really loves. Get her to tell you about helping an 80-year-old Louisiana man find a photo of his mother in a house that Hurricane Katrina left swamped in stinking sludge. Would she do it again? Absolutely. “Helping others gives you a whole different perspective on life," she said. "It makes you feel good."

That feeling—and the opportunity to help students who will go out and help others—is something to keep in mind when you consider your own participation in the Campaign for Western.

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