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Let Knowledge Serve Aspiration

First in His Family

The oldest of six brothers, Uber Hernandez is the first in his family to go to college—serving as a role model for his siblings who remain with their parents in Stanfield, a small, agricultural town in Eastern Oregon.

"They miss me, but I hope they see I'm working hard," says the Portland State freshman. One of his brothers is about to graduate from high school and is thinking about college.

Born in this country, Hernandez and his family moved back and forth between the United States and Oaxaca, Mexico, weighing the desire to be close to family against the need to work for higher wages in the U.S.

In Stanfield, Hernandez set his sights on Portland State, and all through high school he worked multiple jobs to save money, while also volunteering as much as possible at school and in his community. "I went for what I wanted," he says.

The effort paid off, and Hernandez is now a 20-year-old freshman at PSU, studying business. His goal is to work in marketing for the fashion industry, perhaps at Nike or Adidas.

He continues to hold a job while attending Portland State. Scholarships, grants and tuition remission are paying for more than half his expenses, but the remaining costs are coming from his savings and paycheck. He even bought himself braces to improve his ever-present smile.

And being at Portland State has brought many rewards for Hernandez, including meeting people who have the same interests that he does. "I feel like it's home," he says. He lives in on-campus housing, recently joined a marketing group, and in a communications class, he's learning to face his fears about speaking in public.

Hernandez hopes that other potential PSU students will look at what he's done and realize there's a place for them at the University, however unlikely or remote their backgrounds may seem. "Determine what your interest is. Do research. Make connections. Figure out which ways you want to go."

At Portland State University, we believe knowledge works best when it serves the community.