2nd grader Sarah Gomez-Lane dreams of becoming a paleontologist. Recently she won a $30,000 scholarship for a simple dinosaur doodle this week.
Gomez-Lane is the winner of the 2018 Doodle for Google contest. This is the 10th annual contest and this year the tech company asked young artists to create drawings about their life’s aspirations.
After Google achieved hundreds upon thousands of submissions, Gomez-Lane won the $30,000 prize after drawing a group of dinosaurs in the shape of the Google logo.
Gomez-Lane told Google she drew dinosaurs because she wants to become a paleontologist when she grows up.
“When they called my name I felt happy and suprised, she said. “I’m going to call my principal and he’s going to say, ‘Yay!” Gomez-Lane told CBS News.
After Gomez-Lane was deemed winner, the company’s “Doodle team” collaborated with her to regenerate her drawing into an animated, interactive Google Doodle.
“I just hope when people see the doodle they are also inspired to think about not only what they dreamed of and wished of when they were kids, but to also take a second to enjoy the simple things in life,” Perla Campos, Global Marketing Lead of the Google Doodle Team, said in a video.”
The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that allows awardees the chance to study at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are awarded the scholarship every year, and this time, a fellow Portlander received this award.
JaVaughn T. “JT” Flowers was a student at Lincoln High School. He did not perform well academically and even stayed a fifth year in high school at a boarding school in Connecticut. His efforts payed off, and he went on to study at Yale, founding an organization called A Leg Even to assist low-income Yale students by offering mentoring and tutoring services as well as connections to faculty. During his years at the Ivy League school, he studied in six different countries to examine the various cultures and politics. His thesis investigated Portland’s sanctuary city policy for immigrants undocumented in the United States. His academic excellence also resulted in receiving the Truman scholarship in 2016, which gives gifted students graduate support to help them prepare for government or public service careers.
He currently works for Representative Earl Blumenaur in Portland. “I’m essentially getting paid to learn about all the incredible work going on across all these different silos in Portland,” Flowers said in an interview with The Oregonian.
The competition for the Rhodes Scholarship is intense and involves a difficult, time-consuming application process. Finalists were flown out to Seattle for several events, including standing in front of a seven-judge panel. Rhodes Scholars have their tuition and all expenses covered to study for two or three years at Oxford.
Flowers was floored by the news. “I really don’t know how to attach words to it. I’m really at a loss. I’m so humbled.”
Blumenaur was thrilled by Flowers’ success. In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated, “He’s just an outstanding candidate for the Rhodes. He’s a very quick study, very good wth people, an incisive listener who is able to translate that back to people who contact him and to the staff in our office. We’re excited for him, and we’re excited for what he’s going to do when he’s back.
Flowers plans to earn degrees in Comparative Social Policy and Public Policy in order to give back to his hometown, Portland. “Portland is home for me and will always be home for me. I was born and raised here in the heart of Northeast Portland. I want to set up permanent shop here. I’ll be gone for a couple years, but then I’ll be right back here.”
Justin Juenemann, a backup kicker for the University of Minnesota’s football team, recently received an unexpected gift from an equally unexpected source. The 23 year-old has diligently worked as a volunteer at Masonic Children’s Hospital throughout his college years. His coaches and teammates were inspired to do something for him.
“Our goal was to create a moment of memory for Justin and his family forever because that’s what he earned,” said P.J. Fleck, head coach of the Minnesota Gophers.
Kyle Tanner, a teen patient at the hospital, spoke in front of the team and singled out Juenemann as his favorite player. Coach Fleck handed Tanner a t-shirt and told him to put it into a t-shirt cannon and fire it directly at Juenemann. He did so. Juenemann caught the white shirt, unraveled it and read the message on the front.
“Justin, congrats you have earned a scholarship,” it read. Justin and his teammates celebrated afterward and he FaceTimed his mother to show her the shirt.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Juenemann said. “It is something that I will never forget.”
“I’ve never seen anybody serve and give more than that guy who is not a star player,” Fleck said. “He could easily just not do it and nobody would ever say anything, and he does is continue to keep his oar in the water and live that holistic life academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually. His life is not about him. His life is about serving and giving to other people.”
This scholarship will help Juenemann complete his senior year.
“I am pursuing a human resources degree and I’m looking…to help people throughout the rest of my life,” he said.
Top model Karlie Kloss recently announced her new program, #KodeWithKarlie, to empower teen girls in technology. The announcement video released on Instagram asks girls to apply for a chance to win a scholarship to the Flatiron Pre-College Academy to learn computer coding.
“Code is only going to continue to play a major role in defining our future,” Kloss said in the video. “I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we, as young women, have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.”
The scholarship covers tuition to the academy’s two week summer course in Intro to Software Engineering.
Interested high school students are encouraged to upload a 60 sec video explaining to Kloss “how you imagine you’ll use your coding superpowers.”
After taking the software engineering course with the Flatiron Academy, Kloss is passionate about sharing the innovative power of technology with others. “You’ll be ready to take on the world,” Kloss said.
Christine and David Vernier, founders of the successful Vernier Software and Technology, recently announced their donation of $3.6 million to be used for Portland State University (PSU) scholarships.
PSU president Wim Wiewel said the university is well on its way to meeting the goal he and a fundraising team set: $50 million in 3.5 years. With the Verniers’ donation and an additional anonymous gift of $3 million, PSU now has $44 million in just over two years.
Until recently, a $10 thousand donation was considered a large gift for PSU, as opposed to typical donations to the University of Oregon — which recently received a $50 million donation from an alumna and her billionaire husband.
Wiewel and the head of the PSU Foundation, Françoise Aylmer, said there has been incredible growth during the past few years; the endowment earmarked for scholarship money grew from 15 to 25 million dollars. The number of students receiving scholarships also increased, from 576 in 2010 to more than 1,000 last year, according to Aylmer.
“I am so incredibly grateful [for the scholarship],” said Karla Andrade, a PSU senior who would have been unable to attend her final year of college without a donor-funded scholarship. She works 30 hours a week to pay for school and wants to become a Spanish-language journalist. She will be the first person in her family to graduate from college.
Christine and David Vernier, both graduates of Ohio State University, relied on scholarships through college. They said costs used to be low enough that a student could work part-time to pay for school and graduate without debt.
“So many students graduate now with huge debt,” said Christine Vernier. “If we can help one student, and they’re successful, then their children are probably going to end up in college too.”