PITZER AND BEYOND
When she was 17, Dowd made her escape from the cult, enrolling at Pitzer in 1986.
“At Pitzer, people would ask me where I came from and where I went to high school,” she said. “I didn’t go to high school, of course. It was uncomfortable, and I’d say I was home schooled. I just couldn’t talk about it. I didn’t know any contemporary music, television, movies. I didn’t have a way to relate.”
According to Dowd, she didn’t choose Pitzer, Pitzer chose her.
“I didn’t even apply to the College,” she said. “Somebody sent my application, which I had written with a pencil, to Pitzer, and they sent me a note saying they received my application from another school and that they would like to offer me funding to come to Pitzer.” Dowd thought becoming a lawyer was a noble (and lucrative) pursuit, and she decided to major in English as part of her pre-law preparation.
But that changed when she encountered English Professor Jill Benton. Benton became her academic adviser, mentor, and later her friend. Dowd took four courses with her and realized that literary inquiry was an area that was joyful and worthy to stand on its own merits. She decided that she wanted to share that joy with others.
After Pitzer, Dowd earned a master’s degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is currently a journalism professor at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga.