Well-traveled student finds home at PSU

Just over 19 years ago, in a military hospital on the island of Guam, a girl was born into a lifestyle that would take her on many journeys around the world.

As the daughter of an Air Force officer, Elizabeth Rossi came to experience life in a way that most kids who grow up in civilian households do not.

Living a military life meant picking up and moving each time Uncle Sam said so, which became an enjoyable and challenging task for the Rossi family.

“Being of an Air Force family gave me the opportunity to travel around the world when I was young,” she said. “Traveling has allowed me to experience other cultures up close, and I have good memories of the many places and people.”

Being in such a mobile family created a strong bond between her, her sisters and her mother.

“My mother, me and my sisters became much closer as a result of moving a lot,” Elizabeth, who goes by Liz, said. “Each time it was like survival of the fittest. We would group together first, get settled in and then move on out into society.”

She gave a laugh and her eyes got big with excitement, as if she’s remembering how things used to be.

Moving to new places meant meeting new people, which is something Liz became quite good at.

“You have to learn how to make friends and can’t be shy if you want to meet people,” she said. “It’s much easier for me to meet people now and it’s not unnerving at all anymore, like it was at times as a child.”

By the time Liz ended up in high school in Corvallis, she had already been to four different schools and her new high school made it five.

As a result of living in places like Spain, California, Washington, New York (Long Island) and Oregon, Liz has gained a perspective about people that she feels she may otherwise have never acquired.

“I am so much more open minded now about all people and cultures. I believe all cultures have value, no matter what they are,” she professed.

Now, at 19, Liz is on track for a career in digital graphic design. She sees herself, in 10 years, living in New York City and working for a company that designs digital backgrounds for movies.

She transferred to Portland State at the beginning of this school year from Oregon State to study in the graphic design program.

Her philosophy on life is quite simple. Since no second chances in life are guaranteed, you have to live while you can. Along with this view comes her favorite quote, by Charles DuBois: “The important thing is this: to be able to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

Liz’s favorite movie is “Traffic,” and although she has sampled cuisines from around the globe, she would prefer to be eating barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob while watching it.

The most enjoyable place she has been is Madrid, Spain, because of the great food and beautiful weather.

Her scariest moment at Portland State came a few months ago when she was flashed by a man, who began stimulating himself, near Hoffman Hall. This was the man later apprehended by Campus Public Safety and connected to a series of related incidents on campus.

“That was no doubt the most disturbing thing I have experienced while here in Portland,” Liz said. “The fact that he walked past me and brushed up against me a few days later really freaked me out. I’m so glad they caught him.”

Her pet peeves are cigarettes, people who stop the dryer in mid-cycle and don’t restart it, and people who preach out loud in public.

She has not lost the travel bug at all. When asked what she would do if she won the lottery tomorrow, she replied, “I’d pack my bags overnight and head straight to New Zealand.”

The funniest gift she has received was a pair of George Foreman grills for high school graduation. It was a family joke intended to insult her cooking skills.

The best advice she has received came from her grandfather, who said: “If you don’t like someone or how they’re treating you, stay the hell away from them.”