How do you define diversity?
I think diversity is what each individual brings to the table. I myself am an immigrant from Ethiopia. My parents came here about 18 years ago trying to provide a better education for us. I think that experience brings a diverse perspective to the area or the educational system that I went through. The concept of diversity encompasses mutual respect, understanding and accepting of the differences that we have and the differences that we bring as individuals. Diversity celebrates the uniqueness of an individual.
What is the importance of diversity in higher education?
I think diversity is one part that we can not teach students in a classroom. But when we put different types of individuals from each walk of life they’re able to create a learning environment that is so very important in our society right now.
What is the School of Business Administration doing to encourage diversity?
Today we’re working with all high schools in the area trying to bring students to Portland State and eventually to the school of business and creating a pipeline that will create leaders in the business world globally. We created a program called Pathways to the Future which is a program that was originally designed to bring diverse students to the retail and food industry and hopefully diversify the workforce. We’re able to offer opportunities to bring up minority students through education, supporting them through scholarships, mentoring, advising, career services. We place them in internships and careers that will eventually put them in a leadership position.
What advice would you give a student considering Portland State?
Every student’s end goal is to hopefully one day get a career. Always remember that we’re surrounded by highly reputable companies around Portland. When you consider any university, consider that Portland State is surrounded by these companies that could definitely give you the career that you’re looking for. I think if any student is considering any college you want to make sure that they have partnerships with companies that you’re looking forward to working with. That’s who we are.