Diversity scholarships enrich student body

It is hard to miss the vast display of diversity within the student body, filling Portland State’s halls and park blocks.

PSU offers an abundant amount of scholarships to support its diverse student body.

Having such a wide range of scholarships lends a hand to international students who hope to avoid future debt.

To gain some insight on a few of the scholarships offered at PSU, The Vanguard sat down with Herico Aiten, a freshman from the Island of Saipan and Julieta Castro, a freshman from El Savador.

Sarah Mustafa: Tell me about your scholarship?

Herico Aiten: Well my scholarship is called Empower for Asian and Pacific Islanders. It’s basically for first generation [American] students that get financial coverage for a year. The scholarship itself is like a mentoring program, where students are being mentored and help with things like academic studies, social events, as well as getting socially connected [on] campus.

Julieta Castro: My scholarship is the Diversity Program, an extremely competitive program that I luckily got accepted in after I was wait-listed. My scholarship is also a mentoring program. It has full coverage for the 5 years of schooling.

SM: What do you like most about your scholarship?

HA: I really like the people in it. Like all the connections I made and still am able to form, is great! Immediately the people I was introduced [to] through my program and I all bonded. It’s like we are a family of friends away from home…When we meet for meetings with our mentors, it doesn’t feel formal it feels like we’re friends catching up. Which I love because it adds this comfortable element for me to be myself.

JC: Something I really like about my scholarship is how it isn’t just about covering my tuition and them telling me just keep my GPA above 3.5 and that’s it—they are really invested in your social life and the availability [of] resources. Also the family that I’ve built in it; I met so many friends and was taught [about] different cultures that it’s refreshing to be around.

SM: What kind of resources did this scholarship give you to get involved?

HA: Through Empower I’ve been exposed to a lot of events and a bunch of resources that I didn’t even know about. Like the Multicultural Center; I didn’t know about that place before I took the Diversity Student Program classes. Through these classes we got to learn about all the resources on campus and all of the thing that were available to us as students.

JC: Well, back during the DSP classes, we had a sexual coordinator come in a talk to us about the word “consent,” which was something I had never heard of before. After that class, I remember talking to her and asking her what was this whole thing—turns out there’s all these careers behind it that have communities dedicated to solving these problems. This sparked my interest to take advantage of the Women’s Resource Center. Now I’m part of their Actions Teams there.

SM: What have you gotten out of your scholarship thus far?

HA: My scholarship pushes me to be involved with events or even just peers within my or other scholarship programs. I feel like since we all became good friends, our mandatory meetings—or anything we have to do—doesn’t feel like a forced activity. We actually enjoy it more because it gets us involved and pulls us out of our comfort zone.

JC: For me it broke down a lot barriers or stereotypes I had with people from other countries. And to be surrounded by so much culture I learn something new every day.

Find out more about international scholarships by going to pdx.edu/scholarships.