A Place for Adventure

While PSU is definitely an urban campus, that does not mean that we vikings aren’t all about getting into nature. Wanna go to the coast? Sure, it’s just 90 minutes away. The mountains? Go hiking around Mt. Hood or in the Columbia Gorge. Feeling aquatic? Paddle out onto the nearby Willamette or Columbia Rivers.

“I love the access PSU has to wild spaces. It was one of the big reasons I wanted to come here,” says Jacob McCoola, a second-year graduate student in the Leadership and Sustainability Education program.

“Portland was the perfect fit for me. I had always wanted to live in a big city, and not only did Portland seems like a very cool place to live, culturally, but it had such unique closeness to the outdoors.”

Jacob, who spent two years as a naturalist in Colorado and has an intense fondness for outdoor education, is able to complement his degree program (the only one of its kind in Oregon) by working with PSU’s Outdoor Program.

The Outdoor Program, which is in its 50th year, is a resource center aimed at getting students into the outdoors by offering day hikes, weekend camping trips, rock climbing excursions, and much more, all of which are led by students.  

“It feels like half of my education has come from working with the Outdoor Program.” Jacob wants to continue using the skills he is gaining through the Program into life after college as an outdoor and sustainability educator.

“It’s the oldest university outdoor program in the country.” Jacob is not only an Outdoor Program Trip Leader, guiding students through explorations of the outdoors, but also the Program’s Outreach Coordinator.

“Being a trip leader is an amazing experience, and really helps students, myself included, gain leadership and management skills.” Any student, regardless of major can become a trip leader by completing the Outdoor Program’s Wilderness Leadership Development program (WiLD). “We get trip leaders from all over the university. We’ve had environmental science majors, linguistics majors, music majors. Anyone with a passion for the outdoors can do it.”

This inclusivity doesn’t only extend to the staff at the Outdoor Program.

The Program isn’t just for students who have experience in the outdoors, but for students seeking to learn new skills, broaden their knowledge of being outside and get to know their fellow students.

“We strive to make our trips and events accessible for all students, regardless of ability.” The Program often collaborates with the Disability Resource Center on campus to find ways to include all types of students in Outdoor Program trips.

“We recently had an awesome paddle boarding event out on the coast that we designed so that it would be inclusive for students with disabilities. It was great and everyone had an amazing time.”  

Jacob’s advice for students who want to make use of the Outdoor Program is simple.

“Come on a trip, any trip! I can’t think of a better way to meet people and form a real sense of camaraderie. Plus, it’s an adventure, and who doesn’t want that?”

Check out the Outdoor Program trip schedule!

Learn how to become a Trip Leader!

PSU is a Place for Community

The comfort that comes from a welcoming and accessible campus can make all the difference. If certain campus resources are offered, like those that help students graduate, it can make the task of choosing a college much easier.

Such was the case for Grace Piper, a senior Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major from Hillsboro, OR.

Portland State was a really easy decision for me.” Grace had grown up around Portland and knew about the resources and opportunities PSU offers, but there was one thing in particular that helped them decide.

“What ultimately drove me to PSU was that it was listed in the top 25 most LGBT friendly college campuses when I was applying back in 2012/2013. This year I think we actually moved into the top 10, which is really cool and important!”

Once on campus, Grace found the Queer Resource Center, a support resource for students along the sexuality and gender spectra. “The QRC was on my radar early on.” QRC events helped Grace get acclimated to campus life and surrounded them with a community that understood where they were coming from.

“At first, I felt pretty shy and nervous. I remember coming into the QRC, looking around and quickly leaving. Eventually, though, I felt comfortable hanging out more and coming to events. I have made my best friends through the QRC.”

Now Grace helps to support the QRC by acting as their Marketing Coordinator. “I first got involved after helping plan Pride Month freshman year and have been working here since.” Grace also helps plan QRC events on campus that bring students who are feeling marginalized into a safe, welcoming environment.

“I helped plan the Queer Students of Color Conference this year. Pride Month, too, which happens throughout the month of May and leads us into the city’s celebration of Pride.” The Queer Students of Color Conference (QSOCC) especially represents the broad outreach that the QRC takes on, reaching out to student populations that may feel excluded or without representation.

All students, regardless of sexual or gender identity, can utilize the services of the QRC, which gets over 3,000 visits a year.

Grace’s university outreach doesn’t just extend to the QRC, they are also a University Studies Peer Mentor, leading the Health, Happiness, and Human Rights Freshman Inquiry course.

“It has been a really cool opportunity for me. I want to go into education and advocacy work, so this position has given me a lot of experience in teaching and curriculum development.”

All of these experiences are helping Grace gain the skills they need for life after graduation. “If I can, I want to work somewhere focusing on queer and trans and/or communities of color, which pairs really well with my campus experiences.”

Grace’s advice to new students?

“Seek community. Being marginalized makes completing your degree harder, so exploring the resources available to you is really important for support and making friends. Put yourself out there to find where you feel comfortable.”

Learn more about the QRC and find more LGBTQ resources on campus.

Passions Find a Home in Portland

It’s all about finding your niche. Where you fit in, what you like, what you don’t. Discovering where you can thrive can radiate throughout your college life and out into your career.

“Getting involved and recognizing all the opportunities around you makes all the difference,” says Vineta Gleba, a Ukrainian-born, Beaverton-raised, junior majoring in Marketing. “Knowing what’s around and taking advantage of it means everything.”

That is part of the reason Vineta chose PSU to begin with. “I knew it had a really good business school. Plus, having it be right in the city meant that there would be all sorts of opportunities for me to get in contact with the community.”

Through the College of Business, Vineta has been able to meet with and tour several of the national organizations that call Portland home, like international ad giant Wieden + Kennedy.

Through the College and Business and the Honors College, Vineta was also able to complete an Internship abroad in Panama with Kalu Yala, a sustainable housing non-profit focused on building homes in the developing world.

She is also getting to meet with professionals at Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, through the Athletic and Outdoor Connect program within the College of Business. “I’m really into sports and physical activity, so it was great to meet with companies that shared my interests and with whom I could network.”

Vineta is also able to merge her passions for business and marketing with sports with her job at Campus Rec. “I do Marketing and Outreach so it really combines my interests.” Vineta helps students by promoting Campus Rec at resource fairs and by helping facilitate and represent Campus Rec events like PRIDE Kickball and Cornhole in the Plaza.

“I want students to know that Campus Rec is an amazing resource available to them, and that it’s included in their student fees.”

Vineta’s work with Campus Rec is helping her gain the skills she needs to pursue a career in business and marketing after she graduates. “I want to work for organizations that are interested in helping the developing world navigate environmental and social issues.”

That goal is enhanced by the Certificate in Social Innovation that she is getting from the College of Business in addition to her degree in Marketing.

“Being able to meet with companies in Portland, my job at Campus Rec and the innovative Business degree program are all giving me the skills that can help land an amazing job after I graduate.”

Vineta’s advice for students?

“Take advantage of all the incredible resources on campus. Discover your passions and surround yourself with people who love what you love. Especially Campus Rec, although I might be a little biased.”

Check out all the amazing programs and resources at Campus Rec that are included with your student fees.

Check out Vineta’s Blog and YouTube channel!

Accessibility Meets Opportunity

The benefits of experience cannot be undervalued. Those who seek out the avenues to build their skillset are able to venture into the world prepared to make the biggest impact, a fact which Justin Orendorff, a junior Liberal Studies major from Canby, Oregon, understands.

“I want to learn as much as I can so that I can do something great after I graduate.” Justin aspires to be an author and to go onto graduate programs in creative writing, so it made perfect sense that he would get involved with Ooligan Press, the PSU student-run book publishing house on campus.

Couched within the Master of Fine Arts in Book Publishing program, Ooligan affords both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to get hands-on professional experience with book publishing.

“I don’t think I could have gotten those kinds of experiences and skills at another university, not like this.” And Justin’s right. No other school in Oregon offers undergraduate students the chance to work on books that will actually go onto store shelves the way PSU does.

“It’s invaluable to see the process, especially since I want to be an author.” What’s more is that students participate with Ooligan as a class, so they get credits they can use towards graduation.

What’s especially unique about Ooligan Press, and PSU student groups at large, is that students don’t need to be in a specific major to participate.

“I’m a Liberal Studies major, so I take classes in sciences and education, but Ooligan, which I thought was only for English majors, was excited when I asked about joining. My major didn’t matter, they just wanted me to grow.”  

The ability for undergraduate students to get professional experiences while still in school is not only limited to Ooligan. Every major has ways for students to get involved with community or research projects, all of which are enhanced by the vibrant Portland geography.

Justin transferred to PSU from another Oregon university that was in a much smaller town.

“It definitely didn’t have the same resources and opportunities as Portland. Plus, I love that the campus is right downtown. It makes everything so accessible.”

That accessibility is playing into Justin’s project at Ooligan, where he is helping to organize the annual Write to Publish conference where authors can learn the ins and outs of getting published. “Since I want to be published one day it’s a perfect fit.”

Taking on community projects and hands-on skills during undergrad can have impacts that ripple out through a student’s life, and the staff and faculty at PSU are excited to facilitate students’ in their efforts serve Portland.

Learn about ways PSU undergraduates gain professional skills and interact with the city.

Home Away from Home

For anyone coming to college for the first time, the task of making friends and joining a community can be daunting. This is especially true for students coming from outside the continental U.S., who may not know  a single person when first arriving on campus.

“Oh yeah, it can be super intimidating,” says Jovi Valencia, a senior Philosophy major from Waimea, Hawaii. “However,” he adds, “don’t let that stop you from reaching out. Everyone on campus is so welcoming and open.”

Jovi is speaking from experience. When he first got to campus he was reticent to attend Pacific Islander Club (PIC) events, but after his first experience he wished that he had meet up with the Club sooner.

“At first I didn’t go, but after a while I just came and hung out and everyone was super welcoming.” Now, in his final year at PSU, Jovi is on the Board of PIC and supports many different cultural centers on campus by attending events and meetups.  

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from if you want to get involved with a cultural club or organization on campus. If you click, you click, it’s that simple.”

The Cultural Resource Centers on campus serve not only as a place where students can interact with their peers, but also as a platform to help inform the population on campus about social issues that are important to each specific organization.

“It’s definitely about community awareness. Whether it be through talks, panels or culture shows, each club is passionate about letting people know about what’s important to them and their culture.”

One such piece of community awareness is coming up soon. The Pacific Islander’s Club, of which Jovi is a member, is putting on its Lu’au this Saturday, an annual tradition which is in its 15th year.

“It’s going to be great and is definitely our biggest event of the year. There’s gonna be lots of representation from many different cultures along the Pacific Rim, including lots of traditional dance, song, and good food.”

Jovi’s advice to students looking to get involved?

“Just come and hang out, you’re sure to find a group that you connect with. There really is something for everybody here, regardless of where you’re from.”

Check out the Pacific Islanders Club on Facebook!

Surprise in the Unexpected

Sometimes a plan comes together in the shadow of uncertainty. For Hayley Pritchard, a first year School Health Education major from Nevada City, California, the decision to pursue college was never so clear. “College wasn’t really on my radar.”

It wasn’t until she visited Portland and learned that PSU had a degree that interested her, that college became a possibility in her mind. “I’ve been interested in health education ever since I started volunteering with health organizations in the seventh grade, so I was thrilled to learn that PSU had a School Health Education degree.”

Hayley is wasting no time in making her mark on campus. She is going to be an RA next year, and she sees a lot of potential to use what she is learning in her classes to help incoming students.

“What I’m learning in my Stress Management (PHE 275) and Community Health (PHE 446) classes I can apply to working with students living on my residence floor and help get them through their first year.”

Transitioning from living at home to living on campus in a big city can be a big change for some, but Hayley sees living in the heart of Portland to be an amazing chance to explore. “I love how connected all the student housing is with the city. It really allows you to explore and go everywhere. It’s unrestrictive.”

Hayley is exploring all that the city has to offer. “I feel like I’ve been all over Portland this year, tasting all the amazing food and experiencing all the amazing culture the city has to offer. I even found a place I can go blues dancing, a passion of mine.”

Getting around Portland from PSU is easy since the Max (light rail), streetcar, bus and BIKETOWN (bike share) all have a presence on campus. “You can even walk to most places you want to go.”

Don’t think that living downtown means you’ll be living in cramped spaces. PSU has a wide range of on-campus housing options, all of which, from the modern residence halls to the historic ones, include everything students need to thrive in their first year.

“Living in the dorms really helps create a community, too. You’ll get to meet a really diverse set of people.”

Hayley’s advice to students coming to campus this fall? “Make sure you are proactive. Not just in school, but to yourself as well. Make sure you take care of yourself and do what makes you comfortable. Surround yourself with everything you need to be successful, it makes all the difference.”

Learn more about Housing at PSU and sign-up to take a Housing tour!

International Baccalaureate Credits Give Students a Jump Start

If you’re an student applying to PSU and want to get ahead, International Baccalaureate (IB) credits are one of the best ways to go.

IB Credits

Earned by completing IB classes and passing end-of-year exams during high school, IB credits are equivalent to university credit at many universities, including PSU. That means that the credit you earn during high school can take the place of actual classes in university.

IB courses are ideal for students who want university-level coursework and preparation during high school, and are available at many secondary schools around the world.

Benefits

PSU offers a range of benefits for students applying with IB credit. Any student who applies to PSU with an IB diploma (IBDP) with a score of 30 or higher will be guaranteed:

  • One full year of equivalent university credit at PSU. This means you will enter PSU with sophomore class standing AND 45 university  credits.
  • A merit-based scholarship.
  • An automatic waiver from PSU’s English proficiency requirements. You WILL NOT need to take the TOEFL or IELTS test to demonstrate English proficiency.

Save Time and Money

Beyond the immediate benefits of applying with IB credit, students who enter their first year at PSU with university coursework already completed tend to have more free time to study other disciplines they may be interested in.

Plus, having classes already completed means spending less money and time toward completion of your degree. IB credits = money saved.

See which PSU classes you can check off your list using IB credit and learn about all the ways you can earn university  credit before you even arrive on campus.

Submit your IB Transcripts to PSU today!

Excellence is the Norm

At what point does a chance encounter become more than just coincidence? For Frances Hanna, a junior International Studies Major from Indiana, Pennsylvania, her road to PSU seems almost fated. “I randomly visited Portland with my mom for fun and my mom recommended that I apply because she thought it would be a good fit.”

Good call, mom.

Frances found an amazing community at PSU, all of who supported her interest. “From day one I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to learn about ethical textile production in Southeast Asia. So I became an International Studies major focused on East Asia with a minor in Mandarin.”

To help her get the most of her studies, Frances’ admissions counselor encouraged her to apply to PSU’s Honors College. “They connected me with the Director of Honors at the time and Brianna Avery, the Honors Advisor.”

That choice to pursue honors has paid off in dividends. “Honors gave me scholarships that allowed me to afford PSU as an out of state student.”

Frances’ Honors College experience has allowed her phenomenal opportunities as an undergraduate, all of which will help her land a rewarding career after she graduates. “My connections with honors have helped me develop a greater understanding of the manufacturing industry in Southeast Asia by allowing me to study abroad in China through scholarships.”

“I was able to improve my mandarin in Shanghai and am now applying for an internship in Shanghai for this fall.”

Her goals after PSU? “I’d like to work for an American company that is focused on ethical production.” Her professors in the Honors College are helping her make that goal a reality by providing encouragement and support at every turn.

“I think every Honors professor I’ve ever had has written me a recommendation letter for something.”

Frances’ experience is not abnormal. The staff and faculty at PSU are passionate about helping students succeed and are excited to assist students who are seeking out internships and other professional opportunities.

But of course, you have to ask first. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out,” Frances urges. “The staff and faculty are incredibly excited about the PSU mission and everyone cares.”

So, go ahead, get in contact with a professor who shares your interests. At the PSU Honors College, the only urban-focused Honors program in the country, the international faculty bring a worldly perspective, engaging with students on a personal level and helping them pursue their career goals. At Honors at PSU, the city Portland acts as the culturally rich backdrop for an unmatched education leading to unparalleled opportunity.

Accepted to the Honors College at PSU? Confirm your enrollment today!

A Wealth of Experience

There’s something to be said about seamlessness. Apart, peanut butter and jelly are good, but when blended together they create one of the greatest culinary inventions of all time. And while we are no means comparing ourselves to the heaven that is PB&J, we think that PSU does seamlessness pretty well too.

The interaction between the city of Portland and campus is one of the things that draws students from all over the country to PSU. It certainly was a factor when Abby Williams, a Marketing and Advertising major in the School of Business and Honors College student, was choosing schools to apply to. She loved that, “You can’t tell where Portland starts and campus ends.”

PSU’s urban geography enables students to experience a multitude of cultural, professional and academic environments. “The opportunities at other schools in the Pacific Northwest don’t compare with those at PSU.”

And Abby would know. She is a first-hand recipient of many of these unique experiences, having had amazing internships every single year since she got to PSU. “My first year I got an internship through one of my business professors, who worked with the Port of Portland. I helped throw events for major airlines and helped with a community event for over 5,000 people called the Seaport Celebration.”

Professors at PSU are always encouraging students to pursue internships where they believe students can learn new skills and get hands-on experience in fields in which they want to pursue careers. PSU also has amazing resources for students looking to get real-world experience during their time as an undergraduate.

PSU’s Office of Advising and Careers Services, a resource for students, has internship and job databases, hosts career fairs, brings industry professionals to campus and provides personalized academic and career advising to every student.

“My second summer I worked in the marketing department at Blount International, a company that makes products for forestry workers. I helped them build their website so they could better communicate with customers. They had previously only marketed to businesses, their new website was part of their launch into a new market targeted at consumers.” All of Abby’s internships have helped her gain skills and use the things she is learning in class to build her resume and help her plan for her career.

And she’s not done yet. She continues to interview for even more internships around Portland. “Every summer I try to intern in different environments to learn about different parts of the industry  before I commit to something post-graduation.”

Her advice to future students? “Go into the application process with intention. Think about what you want to do long-term and about what PSU and Portland can do for you.” If Abby is any indication, the combination can sure do a lot.

Accepted to the Honors College at PSU? Confirm your enrollment today!

Lots to Explore

PSU admitted students are weighing their options and choosing where they’ll spend the next few years of their lives. We are hosting Admitted Student Receptions to  welcome newly admitted students who are eagerly anticipating the Fall term. It was at the Portland reception two years ago that Rohi Gheewala, a sophomore from Hillsboro, Oregon, decided that PSU was the perfect place for her.

“When I came to the Admitted Student Reception I felt really comfortable with all of the student ambassadors, they were really friendly and approachable. I also really appreciated the diversity and open-minded culture.” Rohi got to see all the amazing resources PSU has to offer, and one thing in particular jumped out. “I loved the campus tour, and visiting the Collaborative Life Sciences Building got me very excited.”

Rohi has a passion for health, which is why she was so excited about seeing the state-of-the-art Collaborative Life Sciences Building on the tour, a shared space in which both Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) and PSU students take  classes in the sciences. PSU and OHSU’s partnership means that students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare can get hands-on experience with health professionals while getting their undergraduate degree.

“Being down the street from OHSU gives me opportunities for interships and to connect with the people who work there.” Through her program, Rohi joined a group that is running a Bone Marrow drive at OHSU. “We were able to take a field trip to the research lab to learn more about it.”

It isn’t just the innovative facilities that attracted Rohi to PSU, where she studies biochemistry and physics with the hope of continuing on to medical school, hopefully at OHSU, where her undergraduate experience is sure to give her an advantage. PSU is also giving her the opportunity pursue internships at OHSU.

“I met with a surgeon who works there last week,” Rohi remembers. “I found out about him while I was waiting to meet with my advisor. I was reading the PSU Visitor’s Guide and in the back they highlight PSU alumni and he was highlighted. I then found his contact information and emailed him to see if he’d be interested in meeting me for an informational interview.” The two got coffee together soon after and talked about internship options at the hospital.

Rohi’s story is not uncommon for undergraduates at PSU. Since every student, regardless of background, age or class standing, gets individual attention from PSU faculty and academic advisors, students are able to thrive and take advantage of unique opportunities  as an undergraduate including internships both on and off-campus, community projects,  study abroad, and research projects, all while earning credits that can be used toward their degree.

In addition to academic opportunities, there’s a lot to see and experience at PSU. “Spend some time exploring what Portland State has to offer,” Rohi encourages, “from our cultural events to theatre performances to cheering on our football or basketball teams. Try out all the different food carts bordering our campus and event take a trip downtown to enjoy the city.”

The breadth of student experiences at PSU is only limited to how far they are willing to explore, investigate, and discover all that both the city of Portland and PSU have to offer. “Come to campus to not only earn your degree but also to create lasting networks and find your passion.”