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Clare Lanusse

Portland State University, Class of 2022

Political Science

What did you think about college before you attended?

College was never something I'd considered as it wasn't an expectation I grew up with. I thought college just wasn't for me.

How do you think being a first generation student affected your college experience?

I struggled a lot not knowing what resources to seek out, or what even I should be expecting. I could not lean on my parents for support, even as an adult. My mom once laughed at me for stressing about studying for a final when she was at my house to watch my kids. "You'll be fine," she insisted as she tried to get me to spend time with her instead. I had to draw strength and perseverance from myself and really focus on my goals to succeed in college.

What was the most impactful experience during your time in college?  


Realizing how many people at my community wanted me to succeed and leaning into the help that was offered was a game changer for me. It did not benefit me to stay stubborn or "strong"--realizing I was actually stronger for leaning into the help available felt like such a relief.

Were there any people along your collegiate journey that made a special impact on you? How?

I had two pre-college math instructors at PCC who helped me reframe the narrative I held about me "not being a math person" and learned to respect and appreciate math.

How did you adjust to life post-graduation?

It was really hard to find a job! Since I am older and have a family, I could not afford to be as flexible as some other traditional college-aged grads. I accepted a limited duration job that helped build the depth and experience needed to move me closer to what I truly want to be doing. I am in my second job post-graduation and know that it is not my end game role, but it is helping me get to the right place.


What have you been doing since graduation?

I took a much needed vacation with my family right after graduation. I worked the 2023 Oregon Legislative Session and am now working in the Governor's Office.

What does it mean to you to have been chosen as a Renaissance Scholar?

Being chosen as a Renaissance Scholar helped remind me of my value, and gave me the much needed boost to finish my undergrad in a very trying time (the pandemic and remote learning!). Having strangers see me for me and what I was capable helped me clear away the cobwebs of an outdated view of myself and instilled a layer of confidence I still carry with me. I am worth it.

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Are you a Renaissance Scholar? Current scholars and alumni can share their stories here. 

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