In 1998 she entered art works at Spokane's annual Juneteenth celebration; she expressed African-American themes through collages and mixed-media works.
Her family drove three hours from their home in Montana to enable her to display her work in Spokane.
Following the completion of high school, Dolezal attended Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, receiving her bachelor's degree in 2000.' came up, and we were contacted and agreed to speak to the press," Ruthanne said."It is a sad situation, but the truth is best for everyone." Kurt Neumaier, a former member of the oversight board of the Human Rights Education Institute, said he had suspicions about Dolezal and that he was concerned that the decision to hire her was done without proper vetting and checking into claims about her background.Her parents and brother said that when Dolezal applied to Howard, because of her art work, the admissions office assumed she was black and awarded her a scholarship.Her younger brother, Ezra Dolezal, said that "because of her work in African American art, they thought she was a Black student during her application, but they ended up with a White person".