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Shayna Beymer

Portland State University, Class of 2017

Social Science - Women & Gender Studies

Why did you choose your major?

I was never a big math and science gal. I love working with people and trying to understand them. Social science is such a broad field of study and it offered me an array of very interesting courses like sociology of gender and feminist theory. With my degree and the knowledge I learned at PSU, I feel I can better understand and make stronger connections with all people.

What have you done since graduation?

After college, I moved to Salem to work as a clinic assistant at Planned Parenthood while also working part time for the foundation. I volunteered with Girl’s Inc. for a few years and worked with Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC). I got married to my best friend and we eventually moved to Chicago, IL. As of Aug 2019, I work full time for the foundation.

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

Being first gen can be a very lonely experience. My first year of college was the most difficult one. I lived at home and commuted one hour each way by bus to reach PSU. While I didn’t struggle academically, there were many lonely times. My biggest struggle was feeling connected to the campus community. Being first gen and living at home meant I had to work harder to make friends and make a connection to the campus community. It took a long time but by my second year I had made friends and got a job on campus. 

What do you love about Portland State University?

I love everything at PSU. Not only is it one of the most affordable options in Oregon, it is a large commuter school that allows students from all over Oregon to easily attend by public transportation. PSU is located in the heart of Portland and it is a city full of life and opportunities for students. It is also a beautiful campus that has nature and city life.

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

My time with student leadership positions at PSU were definitely my favorite and most impactful experiences. Working as an orientation leader, student ambassador, and resident assistant helped me make life long friends and connect to the PSU community. I loved working with all students and making them feel welcome and excited about attending PSU.


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

I have attended many scholar events, some during my college years and many more once I started working for the foundation. I remember being quite nervous the first time I attended the annual scholar brunch as a freshman student. It was a much smaller cohort back then but I was welcomed and enjoyed getting to know the other scholars. It was always wonderful to hear Irving and Stephanie’s praise and encouraging words. I love the events, especially now that I am able to help plan.

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

Being chosen as a Renaissance Scholar was the final factor that allowed me to attend PSU. I am so grateful to the foundation for making college accessible for me. I was able to graduate early and debt-free thanks to the generous support from Irving and Stephanie and I am extremly grateful.

Shayna RSP.jpg

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

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