Park Blocks: Spring 2018
Author: Stephanie Argy, Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: May 26, 2018

Wanted: More computer scientists

THE LACK of diversity in the tech industry has always been of concern to James Hook, a PSU engineering associate dean. Hook and his team of collaborators hope to change that by getting more students to study computer science. Using a $1 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to the University’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, they plan to bring a proven, inclusive computer science curriculum to high school students of all backgrounds, life experiences and ethnicities across Oregon. “A working knowledge of computer science is quickly becoming fundamental to being an informed member of society,” says Hook. “With this grant, we’ll be equipped to bring every Oregon high schooler a valuable computer science education.”

Cutting waste at PDX

JUST STEPS from the loud whir of commuter aircraft propellers, John Dea and his fellow PSU students help Portland International Airport staff dispose of the 11 tons of waste generated each day while keeping as much of it as they can out of landfills. For the past 15 years, Portland State students have sorted trash, conducted food waste studies, and led green projects, including the first-in-the-nation liquid collection barrels located in the security lines. Their work has prevented nearly a third of the airport’s waste from going into landfills, and helped the airport win recognition as the best domestic airport in the United States in each of the past five years.

A place for everyone

THE UNIVERSITY’S Multicultural Student Center celebrated its 25th anniversary in February. A busy, art-filled gathering spot, the center is visited every day by close to 400 students of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds. In 1993, when the center was founded, diverse students accounted for approximately 10 percent of PSU’s student body. Today, that number is closer to 40 percent, and PSU has become Oregon’s most diverse university. The center spawned the formation of the University’s other cultural centers: The Native American Student and Community Center; La Casa Latina; Pacific Islander, Asian & Asian American Student Center; and Pan-African Commons.

Free is a very good price

LOW-INCOME Oregon college students transferring to Portland State will no longer have to pay tuition beginning in fall 2018 if they enroll full-time and are eligible for the federal Pell Grant. The new Transfers Finish Free program will cover base tuition and mandatory fees for up to 15 credits per term for eligible transfer students from any community college or four-year college. The program follows on the success of Four Years Free, which was launched in fall 2017 to cover tuition for low-income freshmen. More than 500 students were helped by the program, many of whom would have been unable to attend PSU without it.

In honor of ‘Professor D’

ALUMNI from around the country came to campus in October to celebrate the naming of the Don Dickinson Advertising Suite in The School of Business’s new Karl Miller Center. “Professor D”—as he is affectionately referred to by students—was director of the school’s Advertising Management program from 1998 to 2012. He continues to teach part time.

The event allowed Dickinson’s former students to share their successes and see the renovated and renamed business building. Dickinson, his wife, Anna, and mother, Irene, who all contributed to the funding of the Karl Miller Center, were present for the dedication.

During his tenure, Dickinson’s students won many awards for creating real-world advertising campaigns for high-profile national and local clients. He also oversaw the creation of FIR Northwest, the student advertising agency that remains active today.

Before teaching at the University full time, Dickinson was a well-known advertising executive in Portland for more than 30 years. He is also is an alumnus of Portland State, having earned a bachelor’s degree in 1967 and an MBA in 1972.

Preparing for the worst

LIVING in the Pacific Northwest means living with the risk of disaster. Major fault lines and extreme weather as a result of our changing climate mean that local governments need to operate with seismic, flood and other disaster plans in place. Over the past year, PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions has been working with the city of Portland on planning for post-disaster recovery efforts, including a map of critical infrastructure assets—pipes, roads, facilities and more—uploaded as an interactive program in the University’s Digital Visualization Studio, then analyzed during workshops. The collaboration has so far resulted in improved general knowledge and a list of short-term and long-term projects that five student interns will continue to work on.