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Haley Soller

Portland State University, Class of 2021

Business Management and Leadership

Why did you choose your major?

I feel that I have always had a strong leadership role and I love helping others complete things in their day to day lives. I also hope to work in a company and be able to make a lasting impact on the community, environment, and the people I will be working with.

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

Being a first generation college student has affected my experience in many positive and negative ways. I feel very accomplished and proud of where I am today because I have been able to focus all of my knowledge and energy into positive outlets that will help me better my future as well as my family’s. My college experience has also been different because I have not had the guidance of close family so it is difficult to always feel like I am making the best decisions for my future.

What do you love about PSU?

I love Portland State because it is such a progressive and growing school. Portland State is always searching for new ways to better the student experience which I think is so awesome. I also enjoy all of my professors and many other staff on campus because they truly make time for the students and help us wherever we may need.

How was the experience of starting somewhere new?

Starting a life somewhere new was initially very challenging. I grew up on a small island in Hawaii; the community is very close-knit and strong. When I moved to Portland in 2017, it was hard to find that same sense of community and become comfortable in the city. After almost four years, I have learned so much about the city and loved making a life for myself here. Portland State allowed me to grow in more ways that I could have imagined and I feel like I will probably stay here in the near future. I graduate in June of 2021 and have been working since my sophomore year, so I have been able to engage in several ways since I moved here. I am proud that I have stuck it out despite some difficult moments. If i did not take this leap of faith, I would not be where I am today and may not have had these experiences.


What is your favorite subject or class you’ve taken?

My favorite class so far has been my freshman inquiry class titled: Health, Happiness, and Human Rights. This was an all year long course which allowed me to develop strong connections with my classmates. We did so much throughout the year and it really set the tone for my first year and the years to come in Portland. We got to go out into communities around Portland, visit OHSU’s research center, and attend lectures at Mercy Corps, and so on. I felt that I learned so much about myself and my place in the world through this course.

What has been the most impactful experience during your time in college?

I think the most impactful experience during my time in college was helping put on the Pacific Islander’s club annual Luau. I have had so many impactful memories and experiences that have shaped me into who I am today, but it was a different feeling when I got to help display a culture that I grew up representing and learning about to the PSU community.

If you have ever attended our scholarship brunches, how did those go for you?

I have attended every scholarship brunch since I received this award and I love them. I look forward to attending them every year. I think it is great that Stephanie and Irving are so invested in to each and every one of our college experiences. I enjoy talking with them and it assures me that I have people who are truly counting on me and my education.

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

Being a Renaissance Scholar is a huge honor to me. I was not sure if I would be able to attend college and the Renaissance Foundation helped me take the leap of faith that I needed. It has taught me that with hard work and commitment, I can accomplish things that may not have originally been possible. I also feel, that as a Renaissance Scholar, I am accountable to a larger organization and will be honored when I can graduate and say that I owe so much of it to this foundation.

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

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