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Lamarra Haynes
Lamarra Haynes

“I didn’t choose PSU, PSU chose me.” 

In 2011, Lamarra Haynes was crowned Portland’s Rose Festival Queen. She didn’t know it then, but this award and her presence on television would be the door to her future. Dr. Ann Marie Fallon, Director of the PSU Honors College, noticed Lamarra’s scholastic achievement, civic involvement and her communication skills during the Rose Festival.

“I saw Lamarra interviewed on TV after her coronation and I was deeply impressed both by her commitment to our community but also by her emphasis on education and how much it meant to her. I hoped we could help her find a place to continue to grow and learn," said Dr. Fallon.

Dr. Fallon reached out to Lamarra and invited her to apply to the Honors College at Portland State University.

Nearing her high school graduation, and dismayed by the financial obstacles of attending an out of state school, Lamarra applied to Portland State with her parent’s encouragement. She was still waiting for her acceptance into Portland State when Dr. Fallon called. This invitation was the positive sign Lamarra needed to attend Portland State. 

Lamarra was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica and she moved to the United States as a child. Her interest in her Caribbean heritage and in global development lead her to major in International Development Studies and her second major, Arabic. 

“If I didn’t go to PSU, I wouldn’t be able to major in what I’m majoring in now.”

With the guidance of Dr. Fallon, and the help of several scholarships, including the Noury & Lamia Al-khaledy Scholarship and the Ellie & Nayla Kassab Scholarship, Lamarra is now excelling in the PSU Honors College and was even able to travel to Jordan this past summer and practice her Arabic in an intensive language study program. She was also selected as the student speaker for the 15th annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner

After graduation, Lamarra plans to pursue graduate studies in International Development and Arabic and is interested in returning to Jordan.