Amanda Ulrich graduated with honors from PSU in 2001 with Bachelor's degree in English Lit. Currently a litigation paralegal at Swanson Thomas Coon & Newton, Ulrich started at the firm while at PSU as a general office clerk and worked her way up in a short amount of time. Ulrich loved that Portland State University was such a friendly commuter school. She loved the “vibe” of learning mixed with urban life. She also felt that the campus was the best for a working student who did not plan to live on campus.
While at PSU Ulrich took a Holocaust and Genocide Lit class from English professor Greg Goekjian whose father survived the Armenian genocide. This stirred her passion and provided the foundation for her advocacy work. Her “enough moment” was learning about conflict minerals mined from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and along with other local DRC advocates she cofounded the Oregon Coalition for Humanity. The Oregon Coalition for Humanity is currently working with the cities of Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro to pass a conflict free city resolution.
On Thursday, April 25, 2013 Amanda Ulrich will be helping to install an art installation in the Park Blocks outside Cramer Hall. The public will be able to walk through a path of bones and electronics and consider where the minerals that go in to everyday items come from. The art installation is part of a nationwide social public arts project called One Million Bones which aims to bring attention to the millions of lives lost due to the ongoing genocides occurring to this very day. The bones being installed on April 25th will later be installed at the Nation’s Capitol in June 2013 as a part of the national installation.
In addition to her work with One Million Bones, and Oregon Coalition for Humanity, Ulrich is also Portland’s Volunteer Women for Women International Ambassador and as part of that works plans an annual charity group run/walk for Run for Congo Women. The group run takes place to coincide with International Women’s Day (March 8).
With the public nature of One Million Bones, Ulrich hopes to show that one person can make a difference. She says that “as U.S. citizens we have the unique opportunity to engage our representatives in city, state and federal government to impact change in our policies with directly impact the prevention of genocide and human mass atrocity. We want to empower average every-day citizens, and help them to recognize the power of their voice. Our goal is to provide opportunities for citizens to use the power of their voice in a unified, impactful way.”
Her advice for current students is to not be ashamed to start at the “bottom” of your desired career, as you will build a foundation upon which to grow and will better understand the inner workings of your desired profession.