Live music, mouthwatering food and boisterous conversation beckoned people from all walks of life to come celebrate Nepalese art and tradition at Portland State. Every winter term, the Nepalese Student Association (NSA), one of the many student organizations at PSU, hosts the Nepalese Cultural Night. NSA is made up of both international and domestic students, most of whom have Nepalese roots—all PSU students, regardless of their heritage, can join. And they foster this attitude of inclusivity at the event as well, creating a space for community members, faculty and students and their families to mingle and share their love of Nepalese culture.
This year, the Nepalese Cultural Night took place in the Smith Memorial Student Union. The event space was illuminated with vibrant colors and decorated with traditional banners. Culturally-significant, handmade Nepalese arts and crafts were displayed in an exhibition. There were copper bowls and jewelry passed down for many generations and used in wedding ceremonies. They also displayed instruments, like Nepalese singing bowls and traditional drums, for people to try. Everyone mingled while sipping on hot chai tea and watching Nepalese films play on the projector as they waited for the main events.
Throughout the night, different performers showed off their culture. Music varied from traditional Nepalese music to karaoke songs from popular movies. Dancers floated across the stage in sparkling, cultural garments.
Halfway through the night, students in NSA and their family members filled the stage to lead a performance of Deusi Re. This traditional song is sung during Tihar, the festival of light. In Nepal, folks go to homes around their community to sing Deusi Re and dance. These households give the performers food and money in exchange for blessings.
To top off an already amazing night of entertainment—free food! The catered food included chicken makhani, vegetable khoorma, mixed vegetable pakoras, basmati rice, nan and hot chai tea. The mingling continued, but slowed down, as everyone savored their dinner.
The event gave everyone a taste of Nepalese culture and perfectly exemplified the Nepalese tradition of hospitality. So, if you weren’t able to join in the festivities and get to know the community, check out the Nepalese Cultural Night next year, or join the Nepalese Student Association.
We know the last thing you need to worry about when you come to Portland State University for your first term is where you’ll live. You already have to deal with college applications, financial aid and scholarships essays. Not to mention jobs, chores, assignments and… you know, life.
Here are five reasons why living on campus is a rewarding and irreplaceable experience.
1. Get better grades
National research shows that students who live on campus have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate on time than their off-campus peers.
Living on campus also means access to a ton of academic support. Academic coaching, Resident Academic Mentors and an after hours in-hall academic support center are all available to help you succeed.
2. Forge lifelong friendships
Living with your peers is an amazing way to meet new people who share your passions. You can even choose to live on floors with your Freshman Inquiry classmates. Part of PSU’s uniqueUniversity Studies program, Freshman Inquiry (FRINQ) classes are a theme-based, interdisciplinary approach to education that foster close cohorts of students.
PSU’s diverse student body means you will encounter students from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
3. Be healthy and happy
PSU has a ton of awesome (and free) ways you can relax and stay stress free on campus. You can see a movie in the 5th Avenue Cinema, a student run cinema that plays films you wouldn’t normally get to see on the big screen—and there’s free popcorn!
Through Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), you can also get accessible, on-campus mental and physical health services from a team of dedicated professionals. The counseling services are free for all students taking five or more credits. You can even use the Mind Spa, a space where you can meditate, do yoga, play biofeedback games, relax in a massage chair and use the light therapy alcove.
4. Stay safe
Public safety officers patrol our neighborhoods 24/7, keeping our campus community safe. Our buildings require special access, only granted to building residents. You can even use one of the call boxes throughout campus or call Campus Dispatch directly if you would like a safe walk home late at night.
Since you’ll already be on campus, you can get to class without driving in stressful rush-hour traffic. To top it off, you have easy access to all ofPortland’s public transit options.
5. Save money
Living on campus means no credit checks, no worrying about paying utilities, no landlord disputes and no hassle about complicated contracts and fine print. And of course, it’s cheaper than living anywhere else downtown. Not to mention that payment plans are also available.
There are so many on-campus housing options, which range from vintage flair to modern chic. So stop worrying about where you’ll live and focus instead on what’s important: which food cart has the best gyros.
If you’re worried about moving to campus as a first year student, check out our blog all about easing homesickness—it lays out even more resources to make your transition to living on campus easy and enjoyable.
It’s safe to say that students have become accustomed to looking to the internet for everything. Need to research for an assignment? Wikipedia and Google Scholar are just a click away, right from the comfort of your home. But you shouldn’t overlook the PSU Library. It’s a powerful resource for students, which can be utilized both in person and online. Since there are so many resources, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Let us walk you through it.
The PSU Library, also called the Branford Price Millar Library (Millar for short), is that building with the curved windows overlooking a big tree and the Park Blocks. The rumors are true—the 1989 addition to the building was made to surround the ancient Copper Beech tree, rather than replace it. The historic tree and surrounding library symbolize PSU’s dedication to environmental awareness and preservation of the Pacific Northwest’s beauty.
Across both labs, you’ll find over 100 computers, both Macs and PCs. There are also printers you can use from lab computers or online from your personal computer. Make sure to have your student ID handy when you go to print.
Need help finding a book or starting your research? Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk. They’re available to answer your questions.
You’ll find Writing Center tutors at this outpost, right near the Learning Center. They’re open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon and take drop-ins. If you need more extensive help or can’t make those hours, visit the main Writing Center in Cramer Hall 188.
What if you find a book that isn’t available in the PSU Library? You have access to books from Summit and Interlibrary Loan. Summit is an alliance between 39 colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho that makes their collections available to students in participating schools. You can request a book from Summit through the Library Catalog, and a school that has it will send it to the PSU Library for you to pick it up. Books only take about 5 days to arrive. If Summit doesn’t have the materials you need, you can request them from Interlibrary Loan. However, getting books this way takes longer and is less reliable than through Summit.
The PSU Library online resources can be accessed from your home computer or on campus. The library website is the first place you should go when you need to do research for class.
Ask a Librarian
You can chat with a librarian 24/7 using Ask a Librarian. Just open up a chat and send them any questions you have about finding a source, using the library services and more.
Have you ever used Google Scholar, found an awesome source, then realized you needed to pay to read it? That’s why you should use the databases through the PSU Library. PSU pays all those fees for you to access articles and materials online, but you have to go through the website to take advantage of it.
If you don’t know where to start your research, or you want more information about a subject you’re studying in class, check out the Subject and Course Guides. The librarians who specialize in these topics put together special guides with a bunch of useful resources. They make it as easy as possible for you to get the resources you need, like relevant databases, industry journals and more.
Ever wanted to find work published by PSU students and faculty? PDXScholar is a database that provides access to all the articles and research put out by people at PSU, including studies, dissertations and theses, university archives, journals and open access textbooks.
Go explore the library in person and online, so you know everything you have access to as a PSU student!
Your hobby just might turn into your career—and PSU could be the next step to get you there. Engineering started as a hobby for Jennifer Jordan, and now she’s a student at Portland State double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Physics with a minor in Mathematics.
Jennifer is from Astoria, a small town off the Oregon coast, and also happens to be the setting for the 1980s cult classic, “The Goonies.” At first, she didn’t want to go to college far from home, so she started close by at Clatsop Community College. That’s where her interest in engineering blossomed into her future career. “I was a leader of the ROV (remotely operated vehicles) team on campus. We built a robot named Lazarus and took it to an international robotics competition. It was a cool event, and it was the first time I was really exposed to the world of engineering and met people in the industry.”
Getting her degree wasn’t an easy road, though. “My mom died when I was pretty young,” says Jennifer, “so I didn’t have a safety net. I went to three different high schools and lived on my own for a while. I ran into financial issues when I was going to community college. I was working two jobs and going to school full time, and it just wasn’t feasible to balance everything.”
After a year and a half, Jennifer dropped out of community college to work full time. She got a job in the medical industry, which she did for five years before deciding she needed to go back to college. “Working in the medical industry helped me deal with my mom’s death, so it was helpful for me emotionally. But there was a point where I wasn’t being challenged. That pushed me to get more involved in different hobbies, like robotics, and go back to school.”
She found herself exploring the PSU website. She knew she wanted to study physics, but the Maseeh College of Engineering caught her attention. “Growing up, I always liked math and science, but I was living in a small town without opportunities in STEM. It seemed just out of reach,” says Jennifer. But Portland State’s excellent engineering programs and its affordability compared to other Oregon universities made it a real possibility. In the end, she decided to do both: physics and engineering.
“The first time I was on PSU’s campus was when I made an appointment to meet with an advisor in the Maseeh College Student Services office. Coming from a hobby background in engineering, I didn’t really know the difference between mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. They helped me find the best fit and told me about different scholarships.” Current and prospective undergraduate engineering and computer science students can schedule an appointment with a Maseeh College advisor or stop by during designated drop-in hours. Advisors do more than assist with admission and scholarships—they will help students transition into a career by connecting them with jobs and internships.
It didn’t take long for Jennifer to find her place. “When I first joined the Maseeh College, I was nervous about being a girl in engineering. In my Electrical Engineering 101 class, there were about 50 guys and 6 girls. It was really intimidating. But then I joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and got involved with people in the community.” SWE is an organization made up of students and women working in the engineering industry, and their mission is to provide professional development opportunities and engage in K-12 outreach.
After immersing herself in the engineering community and proving herself in classes, she was offered a managerial position in the Electronics Prototyping Lab (EPL). “The EPL is a lab through the Electrical Engineering department, but it’s open to ALL students, regardless of major. We’ve had English majors, art majors, all kinds of people. It’s just such a creative and inclusive environment.”
The EPL is just one of many labs in the Engineering Building. Maseeh College Student Ambassadors, like Jennifer, lead tours of the Engineering Building frequently. What’s one of Jennifer’s favorite thing about the Engineering Building? “There are so many things, but one cool feature is the Dryden Drop Tower. It’s a 102-foot tall metal tower, which you can see by the stairs when you enter the building. It simulates the micro-gravity that occurs on spacecraft.”
Jennifer is also involved with the Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS), a student aerospace engineering project working on building Oregon’s first satellite (which will be launched by NASA) and a rocket that would allow PSAS to launch their own satellites in the future. With the funding and resources made possible through the Beta Project, Jennifer helped design and build what she refers to as “the cage.” Jennifer explains, “the cage is going to test the satellite. It creates a magnetic field strong enough to cancel out the earth’s magnetic field or amplify it in any direction. So when we have the prototype of the satellite built, the cage is going to test the satellite’s ability to orient itself.”
For the rocket project, Jennifer is working on the Argus Module, a 360° camera device. “It has six cameras that are oriented so we can stitch together the video from all the cameras and put it in an Oculus Rift (a virtual reality headset). When the rocket gets launched, you’ll be able to look around as if you’re on the rocket.” Watch a 360° interactive video of one of their rocket launches.
Jennifer relied on the student loans she got through FAFSA for her first year at Portland State. After she gained confidence and experience through her involvement with different engineering projects and groups, she applied for scholarships. She was awarded the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation scholarship (SMART) through the Department of Defense. The goal of the scholarship is to support and recruit some of the brightest STEM students in the nation. “They’re paying for my schooling, including my tuition, books and housing” says Jennifer, “and after I graduate, I’ll be doing a summer internship in Georgia and working for them for a few years after I graduate.”
And after working for the Department of Defense, Jennifer wants to work in the aerospace industry. If you had asked Jennifer years ago what she saw on her horizon, she would not have pictured this. “I don’t come from a family where I had a lot of financial or academic support. I never thought I could do anything like what I’m doing now. I’ve definitely put in a lot of hard work, but I could not have done it without the community and support here at PSU.”
This March is the month of creativity at PSU. Performances, concerts and seminars will be heard all around campus, beckoning students to take a break from school work and enjoy the show. Here are some event highlights happening in March. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.
Friday, 1 | 12:00-2:30 p.m. | Karl Miller Atrium Join PSU’s School of Business and Women’s Resource Center for this annual event. Hear from local leaders of color within a business as they share insights to visibility in the workplace and sustaining in a predominantly white field and city, as well as stories of redefining failure through lessons gained along the way. These speakers will be providing TEDx Talks on their experience followed by a Q&A. This event is free and light refreshments will be provided. Learn more and register to attend (required).
Friday, 3 – Saturday, 9 | Various showings | Lincoln Performance Hall This play is set in the 1860s, when a new invention has electrified the Victorian home of Dr. and Mrs. Catherine Givings. Don’t miss this provocative comedy from Sarah Ruhl about electricity, pleasure and true intimacy. This play is for mature audiences. Tickets are $6 – $15, which you can get online.
Wednesday, 6 | 1:00-2:30 p.m. | SMSU M211 This conversation, facilitated by Jen Mitas, encourages attendees to reflect on their own role in the social networks that make a positive impact on the places we live. This is a free event hosted by the Office of Academic Innovation. RSVP online.
Saturday, 9 | 12:00-6:30 p.m. | Hoffman Hall At this event, young women in the Portland community interested in science are invited to meet the women doing research in PSU’s biology, chemistry, geology, physics and engineering labs. Attendees are able to learn about the amazing work these women are doing, make valuable connections and see what a career in science might look like. Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of gender or age (children must be above 9). RSVP online and see the event schedule.
Wednesday, 13 | 7:00 p.m. | Lincoln Recital Hall (LH 75) The PSU Vocal Collective and Advanced Vocal Combo present a concert of music by female composers and arrangers. They will explore topics of women’s rights, empowerment, strength, love and grace through a selection of contemporary compositions. This event is free and open to the public.
Friday, 15 | 8:00a.m.-5:00 p.m. | The Portland Armory Join The School of Business’ Impact Entrepreneurs to celebrate business for positive social, environmental and economic impact. Attendees enjoy talks on the main stage, a pitch fest for local entrepreneurs, exhibits and activities on the mezzanine levels and breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon reception. Student tickets are $25 and regular tickets are $110. Learn more and buy tickets online.
Sunday, 17 | 4:00 p.m. | Lincoln Recital Hall (LH 75) Listen to lyric tenor Leroy E. Bynum, Jr., Dean of the College of the Arts, and Music faculty Chuck Dillard, on piano. This recital will explore both the spirit and spirituality of America’s “slave songs” captured in concert arrangement by several of the 20th century’s most celebrated arrangers of spirituals. This event is free and open to the public.
Monday, 18 and Tuesday, 19 | 7:30 p.m. | Lincoln Performance Hall Listen to the Mandelring Quartet, presented by Friends of Chamber Music. The four individual members are as one in their shared determination to seek out the innermost core of the music. Their approach to the music is always both emotional and personal. Tickets range from $30-$55 and can be purchased online.
Friday, 22-Sunday, 31 |Various showings | Alpenrose Dairy Opera House This musical is based on the lives of Eleonora Andreevna and Ralph Bunch, Portland State University professor emeritus. Both middle-aged and broken-hearted when they met, the show not only explores the unique way this couple fell in love during the post-Cold War era but also the adventures they had exploring their cultural differences. Tickets range from $5-$18 and can be purchased online.
Portland is a city full of creative people. It should be no surprise, then, that it’s a hub for comics lovers. Portland is home to some of the best indie comics publishers, numerous comic book shops and endless events. And Portland State helps foster this vibrant community, offering one of the only programs in the nation where students can learn about and make comics.
We’ve compiled a list of all the things PSU and Portland have to offer for folks interested in the comics scene.
Comics Studies Program
PSU students can earn a Comics Studies Certificate. This program takes an interdisciplinary approach, getting students hands-on practice to create comics, learn theory and make connections with the publishing industry. This is a 24-credit undergraduate certificate that can be fulfilled in conjunction with a bachelor’s degree. Students studying related topics, like English or Graphic Design, would be a great match for this program. The Comics Studies program helps students get internships with local companies, like Dark Horse and Oni Press.
The Comics Studies program has professors who are accomplished professionals in the comics industry. You can learn writing from Brian Michael Bendis, who has won five Eisner Awards and is the primary architect of the Ultimate Marvel Universe. He is the co-creator of Miles Morales, the character who was recently adapted into the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie. You can also take a class from Shannon Wheeler, acclaimed cartoonist for The New York Times and creator of the satirical superhero Too Much Coffee Man.
Portland State is inspired by the creativity and innovation coming out of the comic-book scene in Portland. PSU’s mission is to connect students to the local comics community. Comics Studies students are taking what they learned at PSU and getting jobs doing what they love in Portland and beyond, as comics artists, writers and scholars.
PSU Comics Club
PSU has an active community of comics makers and enthusiasts. Many of these students are members of the PSU Comics Club, a student organization dedicated to connecting people interested in comics through reading discussion groups and other events.
PSU’s Millar Library has an extensive Dark Horse Comics Collection—so extensive that they have a copy of EVERY Dark Horse comic book, graphic novel, poster, figure, etc. the press has ever produced. PSU takes care to collect, document and make the collection available because of Dark Horse’s value in Oregon history. But it’s also important because Mike Richardson, founder and creative mastermind behind Dark Horse, graduated with a degree in art from PSU in 1977.
The Dark Horse Comics Collection includes a research collection and browsing collection. The browsing collection is on the third, fourth and fifth floors facing the curved windows. These books are easy to find and pursue, and you can read them in the library or check them out. If you want to look at the research collection for scholarly reasons, you’ll have to make an appointment in Special Collections.
The comics produced in Portland run the gamut from zines printed in garages by small artists to the most popular comic series and graphic novels in the nation by local publishers.
Dark Horse Comics: We’d be surprised if a comic book reader hadn’t heard of Dark Horse. They’re the publisher behind many critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful comics, like Sin City, Hellboy, Aliens and Star Wars, just to name a few. We love that PSU alumnus, Mike Richardson, is the founder of Dark Horse! Their headquarters are just South of Portland in Milwaukie.
Oni Press: Located just across the Hawthorne Bridge from PSU, Oni Press publishes a different kind of comic—they avoid publishing anything superhero. Instead, you’ll find comics like Rick and Morty, Invader Zim and Scott Pilgrim.
Image Comics: One of the biggest comics publishers with numerous imprints, Image Comics recently moved their headquarters to Northwest Portland. Since their imprints feature so many genres, it’s hard to sum up their titles, but The Walking Dead, Saga and Unnatural are some of their most popular.
Microcosm Publishing: Granted, Microcosm publishes more than comics, but they do have an impressive number of totally unique zines and graphic novels. They’re known for their punk approach to publishing, featuring titles about art, radical politics and odd humor. They also boast way more women authors than the industry standard. Their headquarters are in Northeast Portland.
Comic Book Stores
We’d need a pretty long list to feature ALL the comic book stores in Portland, so we’ve compiled just a few of our favorites.
Books with Pictures: Their mission is to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race or disability status. They stock everything from indie to LGBTQ to all-age comics. You can find them near the famous Ladd’s Addition neighborhood on Division Street.
Bridge City Comics: In North Portland, you’ll find Bridge City Comics, which offers both new and used comics and a large Portland-based creators section.
Cosmic Monkey Comics: Everyone from new comics fans to avid collectors can find something in Cosmic Monkey Comics’ huge selection of comics and collectibles. They’re located in Northeast Portland.
Floating World Comics: Located in Chinatown, Floating World Comics carries more than comics, offering records, original artwork and kids titles. Their online shop is also impressive and gives you an idea about what you’ll find in store.
Author signings and comic book releases happen frequently, so follow comic book shops and publishers online to see what’s coming up.
Wizard World: This comic con is coming up—February 22-24. Wizard World boasts impressive celebrity guests and outstanding vendors.
Rose City Comic Con: In September, you can go to this annual comic book and pop culture convention. Tens of thousands of people attend each year, many of whom dress up in comic-inspired cosplay.
Kumoricon: If anime and Japanese pop culture is more your speed, check out this convention in November. Attendees dress up as their favorite anime characters, play games, watch panels and more.
Meetups: Portland hosts an impressive number of comics-related meetups, boasting hundreds of members.
So, go read a comic, preferably one made by a Portland publisher, found in the PSU Library or purchased from an independent shop. Make connections and be a part of the thriving comics scene.
When students start thinking about college, it can be hard to visualize what they’ll accomplish after graduating—they may not even know what they want to study, let alone what career they’ll have.
This was certainly true for Lauren Krueger, Portland State University alumni who graduated in 2013, with a degree in Electrical Engineering. At first, Lauren wasn’t sure what she wanted to study, but she knew PSU was a good option.
Now she’s an Electrical Engineer at Interface Engineering.
Initially, Lauren was drawn to PSU because it was familiar and close to home—she is a third-generation PSU student. PSU’s proximity to Portland and surrounding communities meant she could commute and reduce the cost of attending college. She ultimately decided PSU was the right choice because of its abundance of science and engineering opportunities in the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Sciences.
“Growing up I was never naturally inclined toward math or science,” admits Lauren. But despite the challenges, she studied what interested her. “During my first two years of school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, but I knew that calculus, physics and women’s studies were my favorite subjects, and that I wanted to be in a field where I could help create pathways for and elevate women and underrepresented minorities.”
“Lauren never settles for the conventional,” says Dr. Robert Bass, Lauren’s former undergraduate professor and academic advisor. “She will pursue the path that she knows is best for her, regardless of the obstacles or perceived conventions.”
She took advantage of the resources available to PSU students, including the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), a program dedicated to supporting the success of underrepresented STEM majors. When she met some Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students in the LSAMP program, she found her calling. Because she struggled with STEM subjects, she says “it took a lot of perseverance to pursue an Electrical Engineering degree.”
Lauren served on the LSAMP Student Leadership Board for three years. “She was always committed to making it smoother for students who struggled to earn a STEM degree. She used her own experiences to inspire others,” says Dr. Lorna Tran, former LSAMP Director and current Community College Liaison.
Lauren also acted as a role model for future students when she was a Student Ambassador in PSU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She spoke with people visiting campus, led campus tours and was source of information for students. Not only did it equip Lauren with the networking skills and self-confidence she would find invaluable in her professional career, but it showed her how she could make a real impact on other students’ lives.
Dr. Renjeng Su, professor and former Dean of Maseeh College, says, “Even more impressive than Lauren’s outstanding academic performance was her effort to reach out to and help her peers. Lauren plays a valuable role in making the engineering field welcoming to women.”
She continues to give back to Portland State students today. Lauren serves on PSU’s ECE Industrial Advisory Board, where she works to draw more women into the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science. She was a panelist in a series of events for the department’s Women in ECE Night. Lauren states the goal of these events is to boost the number of women in ECE by connecting students with professional women engineers, “Being in a room of women who all are pursuing, or have completed, degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering where we could discuss our common experiences was cathartic and encouraging, and reinvigorated the inspiration that led me towards STEM in the first place.” She looks forward to representing PSU as a panelist at the LSAMP Conference at University of Washington in winter, 2019.
She has been working in the electrical engineering field since graduating and recently took her professional engineering (PE) exam. “I had to put in a lot of time and energy to pass the exam and was really proud to have passed it. It was the culmination of a decade of hard work.” Lauren’s continued perseverance illustrates there are opportunities for women and underrepresented people in STEM, and it is her goal to be a resource and role model for anyone ready to start forging their own path.
At PSU this February, students are challenged to get active and stretch out those stiff winter muscles. Here are some event highlights happening in February. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.
Sunday, 3 | 3:30-7:30 p.m. | Rec Center Sports Office Join Campus Rec to watch the Super Bowl and enjoy free food. The event is free for all Campus Rec members (all PSU students are members) and $7 for non-members.
Every Thursday | 12:00-1:00 p.m. | Lincoln Recital Hall This weekly concert series is hosted by the PSU School of Music. At these events, students, faculty and guest artists will perform various instruments and music genres. The concerts are always free and open to the public. View their performance calendar.
Thursday, 7 | 10:00-11:30 a.m. | SMSU 209 Chisao Hata will facilitate a discussion on race, perspectives and cultural values, considering what brings people together and what separates them. This is a free event hosted by Oregon Humanities.
Thursday, 7 | 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | ACS Office, USB 402 Advising & Career Services (ACS) hosts frequent Career Workshops throughout the year. This free workshop will help students write effective resumes and cover letters targeted to specific jobs. For more career-related events, review the ACS calendar.
Friday, 8 | 6:00-10:00 p.m. | Peter W. Stott Community Field Light up the night in this interactive installation. Visitors will glow while they play games and do activities, with something for every age and ability. This free event is hosted by Campus Rec as a part of the 4th annual Portland Winter Light Festival, a city-wide event showcasing illuminated art and performances.
Friday, 15 | 5:00-9:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union 101 Celebrate Nepali culture and connect with community at PSU and beyond at this free event, hosted by the Nepalese Student Association. There will be free food, raffles and cultural performances. Nabin Dhimal, who was featured on our blog, will be officiating the event!
Friday, 22 | 5:00-7:00 p.m. | Rec Center Pool Trans, genderqueer and all body-positive people are invited to Open Rec Swim. Test your balance on the log roll, play water basketball, swim laps, relax in the spa and more. Free food and inner tubes will be provided. The event is free for all Campus Rec members (all PSU students are members) and $7 for non-members.
For many people, getting a degree can seem just out of reach. This can be especially true for low-income, immigrant and first-generation college students.
Nabin Dhimal fits all of these descriptions. Despite many challenges, he graduated from Portland State in 2018, with a degree in Social Science and a double minor in Sociology and Psychology. But that wasn’t enough for Nabin—he’s currently pursuing a Master’s at PSU in Educational Leadership and Policy through the College of Education.
Nabin was just one of more than 100,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese living in refugee camps in Nepal. The “One Nation, One People” policy in Bhutan forced the Nepali-speaking Lhotshampas to dress, speak and act like the majority Drukpas culture. Lhotshampas who protested this ethnic cleansing were imprisoned and tortured. Eventually, the majority of Lhotshampas were forced out of Bhutan into Nepal, and Nabin’s family was part of that group.
“My family lived in Bhutan for six generations,” says Nabin. “The government would select Lhotshampas to leave, accusing them, saying they weren’t Bhutanese, in order to split up families. My father was selected. If you refused to leave, they would attack or imprison you, sometimes even burn your house down. My whole family fled together.”
The Nepali government refused to integrate the Lhotshampas and allow them to work, so they were stuck living in a refugee camp for 18 years. Nabin was born in that camp. “I was fortunate because we were not bombed or shot at in the refugee camp, but there were very few resources to go around. We had no documents to work and no money. At six, I started working as a cashier in a food truck to make enough money to buy my own school supplies and watch DVDs on a small battery-powered TV.”
One of Nabin’s biggest joys growing up was school. “When I was five, I followed my siblings to school. I wanted to go to school so bad. My uncle broke the law by telling the school I was a year older so I could go. I loved learning, but there were few resources or qualified teachers. There were 50-60 students in each class, and we only had outdated, used textbooks. There were no opportunities for you to pursue a higher education.”
To escape these circumstances, Nabin and his family emigrated in 2008 with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the leading inter-governmental organization that helps migrants in need. IOM placed Nabin and his family in the United States, and they have lived in Oregon since. “Coming to the U.S. was hard at first. We didn’t know any Nepali people in Portland, and my extended family was placed in other states and countries. We used to be only five minutes away. Life is much easier for people who have an education, especially for people living in the United States—you can learn the language and get good jobs.”
“School is a privilege. I wanted to break the cycle of poverty and set an example for people in my community by earning a degree.”
In high school, Nabin started thinking about how he could make this happen, but finding the support he needed was difficult. “I think people expected me to go to community college because of negative perceptions of English language learners. I didn’t want to go far from home, so I could still support my family. My Speech and Debate coach, Patrick Gonzales, saw I had potential and encouraged me to apply to PSU.”
But paying for college was still a major concern for Nabin. He applied for the Diversity Scholarship, a program that promotes diversity and student participation at PSU. This scholarship awards a renewable tuition remission to students in financial need from diverse backgrounds. Not only did the scholarship help him afford to go to school full time but it got him involved with people from other cultures and marginalized communities.
Portland State offers many other Multicultural Retention Services for students like Nabin to help them achieve their goals. “TRIO reached out to me the summer before school started. They let me know about the programs and resources available. I took Summer Bridge, a class for TRIO students before the term starts. I learned how to find classrooms on campus, use the PSU Library and navigate D2L, PSU’s online learning platform,” says Nabin. TRIO is a program that provides educational opportunities to help students overcome barriers to higher education, like ethnic background or economic circumstance.
TRIO was the first place Nabin went when he was struggling with classes. “Andrea Griggs, my TRIO advisor, connected me to academic support on campus. But she totally changed my path when she helped me realize I needed to change my major. I wanted a major that would allow me to fight for equity and uplift others in underserved communities. I decided a degree in Social Sciences was the right path.”
Though he didn’t realize it at first, the challenging ideas he was exposed to in his Freshman Inquiry (FRINQ) class would change his career goals. “I took a race and social justice themed FRINQ class, and it ended up being my favorite class. It made me aware of a lot of systemic issues.” Freshman and Sophomore Inquiry classes are part of PSU’s unique University Studies program, which uses theme-based classes and an interdisciplinary approach to get students involved with peers and the larger Portland community.
It didn’t take long for Nabin to be a force for positive change.
Nabin began working as a Peer Mentor in the Diversity Scholarship program, serving as a resource for other students. He realized that if he was going to make getting an education more equitable, he needed to earn a graduate degree. With the support of TRIO, his advisor and faculty, Nabin applied to PSU’s Educational Leadership & Policy program. Now, he’s working toward his Master’s degree and is specializing in Leadership for Sustainability Education.
Nabin helps prospective international students in PSU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. He’s also a Career Coach for NW Promise at IRCO, a nonprofit immigrant and refugee organization dedicated helping underserved students earn college credit and get into high-paying careers.
Nabin’s next goal is to earn a Ph.D and work in an educational nonprofit, where he can challenge policies to be more equitable. “I want to be that lens, looking at the education system to see if it’s serving different populations of students as well as it should.”
Nabin has one important piece of advice for low-income, immigrant and first-generation students: “Find out what resources are available to you and use them. PSU has a diverse student body and wants to make getting a degree accessible to everyone. The more people from diverse backgrounds successfully completing college means more influence to make the policy changes that will better serve those populations.”
There are things in life that are hard: running a marathon, doing your taxes, building IKEA furniture…
Transferring to PSU from your community college is not one of them. In fact, transferring to PSU is pretty darn easy.
More than 50% of students at Portland State University enroll after taking classes at other colleges and universities, so we understand your needs and concerns as a transfer student.
To top it off, PSU offers Transfers Finish Free, a program that covers standard tuition and fees for income-eligible Oregon transfer students. The deadline to apply to PSU to be considered is July 1.
PSU has expert Admissions Counselors specifically trained to help students transfer to PSU from community colleges and universities all over the country. Here are their tips tips for making the transfer process smooth and hassle-free.
In collaboration with several Oregon Community Colleges, we have created special transfer degree maps to help students navigate the transfer process. Students are encouraged to meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss their degree plan and see how their credits will transfer into their new degree.
Make sure your community college credits transfer over to PSU by using Transferology, an interactive online tool where you can compare multiple universities to see where your earned credits will go the farthest.
Transfer Admissions Counselors are here for one reason: to help you apply to PSU with the strongest application possible. Admissions Counselors are available year-round to answer questions and meet with students about their transfer application to PSU. Their goal is your success, period.
PSU is coming to you for Transfer Workshops! Admissions Counselors and Academic Advisors will be visiting Oregon community colleges and meeting with students. At Transfer Workshops, you can:
Apply to PSU and defer your $50 admission fee!
Speak with an academic advisor—all popular majors will be represented
Get your financial aid and scholarship questions answered
Learn how the credits you’ve already earned will transfer to PSU
Want to come visit us? Transfer Open Houses are monthly on-campus events where students interested in transferring to PSU can meet with admissions and financial aid representatives, learn about PSU and tour our beautiful, 50 acre, downtown campus.
Like with all applications, there are important dates you should know. PSU accepts admissions applications on a rolling basis, but it’s best to submit early. February 1 is the next big date to remember: