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Big-time scholar

Drew Shipley adds Rhodes Scholar to impressive resume
by: Vern Uyetake, Drew Shipley, a 2002 Lakeridge High School graduate and Fulbright Scholar, recently earned another prestigious title — Rhodes Scholar.

Lakeridge High School graduate Drew Shipley credits a number of factors that helped him earn the title of Rhodes Scholar, the latest in his long list of achievements.

For starters, his parents Janet and Carl, who fostered intellectual debate at their home and pushed him to read Dante's 'Inferno' in the eighth grade.

And his professors at the University of Oregon, who became mentors and wrote letters of recommendation for Shipley's lengthy application.

But when asked how he managed his responsibilities so successfully, his answer boils down to four hours of sleep each night - and caffeine.

'I drank a lot of coffee,' Shipley said. 'My parents gave me an espresso machine my junior year … it paid for itself in three days.'

Shipley, who grew up in Lake Oswego and graduated from Oregon in June, was named a Rhodes Scholar on Saturday and joins a group of 32 other Americans who will attend Oxford University in England next fall.

Earlier this year, he nabbed a Fulbright Scholarship, another prestigious program that sends students abroad to conduct research in a variety of fields.

The 22 year old is the first Lake Oswego School District alumnus to earn a Rhodes Scholarship - a distinction shared by world leaders, artists and CEOs - according to Lake Oswego School District Superin tendent Bill Korach.

Shipley's achievement 'says something about what the teachers and curriculum in this district can produce and inspire a young man to do what he's done,' said his former lacrosse coach Curt Sheinin.

Shipley's AP history teacher at Lakeridge, Karen Hoppes, said his Rhodes scholarship didn't come as a surprise.

'He had a real maturity about what he wanted to learn,' she said. 'He's a good kid, a good brain and an articulate human being.'

The all-expenses paid three-year doctoral program is sure to propel Shipley's already impressive resumé, which includes a 4.04 GPA, published research articles, world travel and a dedication to helping people in need.

'People often think about making their impact on the world and that is often a pipe dream, and like them, I never thought about mine seriously until recently,' Shipley said. 'It looks like it might become a reality.'

At Lakeridge, Shipley wasn't the valedictorian or a top scholar, but he did excel in English and history and played several sports. He says the district helped instill in him a sense of intelligence and poise and better prepared him for life in higher education.

'My focus was really on athletics,' he said. 'I made significant sacrifices for that and was less willing to make those sacrifices for academic work. I also liked being with my friends probably more than I should have.'

With his dad's encouragement, Shipley enrolled at Oregon following graduation in 2002. He majored in political science and psychology, but purposely dabbled in other areas.

'I really studied social behavior, because there's no field in the social sciences or humanities that isn't relative to it,' Shipley said.

In his spare time, he wrote for the student newspaper, tutored, became the president of his freshmen dorm, taught fly-fishing in Alaska and trained for triathlons.

At Oregon, his curiosity and fascination with culture blossomed. To further his passion for applied research, he traveled to Ecuador, Ghana and the Caribbean island of Martinique. Soon, he will take off for New Zealand, where he will study national identity and ethnic attitudes amongst Maori and European New Zealander youth as part of his Fulbright Scholarship.

Though his research focuses are often complicated and abstract, Shipley said he would ultimately like to unravel the dynamics that lead to conflict between groups and develop better cooperation - through policy - in multicultural societies.

The opportunity to study as a Rhodes Scholar is one big step toward achieving a prominent voice when it comes to national social issues, he said.

'The world is facing a lot of critical and urgent problems and … policy makers aren't paying attention and need to be,' he said. 'I want to develop a career to help bridge that gap.'

He'd also like to try his hand at writing and teaching at the university level.

A finalist for the Rhodes last year, Shipley decided to give the arduous application and interview process another shot. He had to be nominated by Oregon, go through 20 drafts of his personal essay on 'social identity' and spend one year developing the most competitive application possible.

'I grew a lot intellectually in that year,' he said. 'I needed to go in and be prepared to share with the committee who I was and hope that was enough.'

The experience was emotionally draining, he said. A series of interviews held during a three-course meal gave committee members the opportunity to grill each applicant one-on-one.

'They want people who have a zest for life, who want to get out and do things,' Shipley said.

This week, news of Shipley's scholarship broke in the news and across the Oregon campus. People began to approach him on the street to ask him, 'Aren't you that Rhodes guy?'

'For everyone (finding out the news) was an incredible relief,' he said. 'You're able to sort of go on with your life.'

But it also means adjusting to his celebrity status. Shipley spent hours on Monday interviewing with broadcast and print journalists who eagerly wanted to tell the story of Lake Oswego's golden boy.

At the end of the day, he came home exhausted, and for once, he fell asleep early.