Strawberry Festival: Meet Princess Kendall Crawford

Kendall Crawford wants to be president some day.

“I say that to everyone I meet,” Crawford said. “(I’m) trying to get votes now.”

Before that day comes, if it comes, Crawford is enjoying her time as a Strawberry Princess and planning her path to becoming a doctor.

Crawford, 18, is the daughter of Jason Crawford and Michele Crawford.

She will attend Willamette University in the fall.

She wants to be a doctor but also is interested in politics.

“I’d like to go to Africa,” Crawford said. “I want to work in free clinics there and help with women’s health care and reproductive health education. I’d like to get a degree in biological sciences or maybe human bio, but I’d also like to minor in something like international relations or political science so I can sort of supplement the hard science with the soft sciences. If I’m going to Africa I need to be able to understand their culture and not offend people, but at the same time try to change their culture into accepting modern medicine because they have really poor healthcare.”

Crawford has spent the last two summers as an intern at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest.

“During the summers, it’s five days a week,” Crawford said. “My mentor is a professor there, Brion Benninger.”

She said she has learned how to use the ultrasound machine, given tutorials, sat in on lectures and completed a research project.

Crawford hopes to spend a couple of months there this summer as well, after her Strawberry Court schedule lightens.

One of her favorite parts of the festival is the parade.

“I have a picture on my wall framed (of) me and my dad,” Crawford said. “He’s in the chair next to me and I’m eating a bunch of candy. He’s got his arm around me. It’s really cute.”

Crawford has a tradition with her dad that fits well with the camping theme of this year’s Festival.

Her dad has taken her and her sister camping every summer for almost 10 years, she said.

“We go to Silver Creek Falls, a father-daughter camping tradition since I was like 8 or 9,” Crawford said.

“The first time we did it, it was a train wreck of a trip. We packed the wrong tent, so we had to pitch it in the back of our truck. There were holes in the bottom and he accidentally packed the wrong chairs, so two of the chairs were broken. The cooking was terrible so we just ate cookies for dinner. It was so much fun.”

Crawford says Yellowstone is her dream camping destination.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Yellowstone,” she said. “I tried to convince my mom to take us for a week.”

That trip didn’t happen, but she definitely plans to go.

Crawford grew up in Lebanon and said she wants to give back to the community that has given her so much.

“I’ve been raised in this community my whole life,” she said. I’d like to leave a lasting influence on younger generations. A positive influence.”

Part of that is to show them they can achieve their goals, even if they are from a small town.

Crawford keeps her ultimate goals in mind as she meets new people during Strawberry Court events.

“We went to the state capital and met Sherrie Sprenger,” she said. “I’m going to Willamette and that’s right across the street, so if I wanted an internship, she’s probably someone that I could call.”

Crawford hopes her future career echoes the experience she has had as Strawberry Princess.

“It’s been great,” she said. “It’s a lot a fun, a lot of work, but a lot of fun. It’s how I want my career to be some day. I don’t want to wake up dreading going to work every day, I want it to be fun and exciting.”