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Meet the Students

Honors students represent an enormous diversity of thought, age, ethnicity, history, and culture. We are first-generation college-goers, just-graduated high school seniors, and non-traditional students. We are poets and artists and programmers and scientists.

But we all share the same ideal: a deep desire for rigorous learning and intense academic growth that will help us make a difference in the world. We are self-motivated, intellectually curious, and unconventional thinkers. And together, we challenge each other, debate and collaborate in solving complex problems, and apply our knowledge to real-world solutions.  We are Urban Honors.

Here are some of our stories.

Tascha Johnson 

Tascha is majoring in Health Studies: Health Science, with a minor in Psychology. She is interested in doing research on how chiropractic medicine can influence not only the physical body, but physical and emotional states as well.

Read Tascha's story



Maddie Odegaard

Maddie Odegaard was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She holds a 3.96 GPA and is pursuing a BA in communication studies, with a minor in theatre arts. She has been the recipient of several scholarships, most recently the Creating Futures Scholarship and the Barbara Exner Vogelsang Scholarship.

Read Maddie's story


Joan Brown

Joan Brown is an English major with a minor in writing. Before enrolling at PSU she spent 12 years selling things, mostly in advertising, and 23 years working in a law office, from receptionist to senior paralegal. For many years Joan has sporadically written and been published. In 2013, she quit her legal career to study and write full time. Joan's goal is to graduate with a BA at the end of summer 2016 and then start an MFA program for creative writing in the fall.

Read Joan's story


Deanna Hart

Deanna is a single mother currently in her second year of study at PSU; she is majoring in Business Administration with a focus on marketing. She graduated high school as the valedictorian of her class and would describe herself as an athletic artist. 

Read Deanna's story




Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott is a junior from the small town of Graeagle, California, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests range from atmospheric nanoparticles to sustainable infrastructure in rural areas. He is currently the project leader of an engineering Beta Project focused on developing an autonomous tracking and object evasion platform for quadcopters.

Read Ryan's story



Genevieve DePuy

Genevieve DePuy is a junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in both Sustainability and International Studies. Genevieve transferred to Portland State last fall after graduating early from high school and spending a year at Rogue Community College.

Read Genevieve's story



Emma Prichard

Emma is majoring in Environmental Science and graduated from PSU with Honors in December 2015. She is interested in improving water purity and accessibility and interned at Portland Waste Water Treatment. Emma wrote her thesis on drinking water at PSU and plans on going into water pollution science in the future; she received the Environmental Science Undergraduate Research Award. 

Read Emma's story



Olivia Preston

Olivia is a second-generation Russian immigrant and a senior at Portland State, majoring in Psychology and Criminology and Criminal Justice (CCJ) with a minor in Spanish. She plans to attend graduate school to study clinical psychology with a concentration on developmental antisocial and criminal behavior.

Read Olivia's story



Elizabeth Satterwhite

Elizabeth is currently a senior majoring in Biochemistry. Her interests include origins of life, evolutionary biology and genetics. Outside of academics, Elizabeth enjoys reading, politics, history, gardening, hiking, and camping.

Read Elizabeth's story




Midori Altamirano

Midori is a senior in the Honors College, majoring in Community Health. She is interested in public health, particularly issues surrounding health disparities, global public health, policy and management, and reproductive health. During the summer of 2015, she was awarded an Undergraduate Public Health Scholar from the CDC to attend Columbia University's Summer Public Health Scholars Program.

Read Midori's story