Claire Strong – Portland State University GSE

<b>Claire Strong</b> – Portland State University GSE

Claire graduated from the Graduate School of Education at PSU and now teaches social studies. She believes this subject “is a direct way to affect our nation’s youth and plant the seed of civic duty in young students.”

Portland State University GSE, Class of 2019

Degree: Master’s in Education

Education- I specialize in the education of social studies. I believe this is a direct way to affect our nation’s youth and plant the seed of civic duty in young students.


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

I had to pave my own path. I had to answer all of my own questions. I had to support myself entirely financially, emotionally, and mentally.

What do/did you love about PSU?

I love the inclusion of all people at Portland State. It is a safe place for almost everyone.

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

Yes, a beautiful soul named Anita Bright. She specializes in social justice and has influenced the way I decide to teach social studies from a social justice framework.

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

Being a collegiate athlete with working three jobs and attending classes full time. I loved representing my university!

What have you been doing since graduation? 

I have been spending time with my wife Liam and my dog Token.

How did you adjust to life post-graduation?

I am taking a much-needed mental health break. The stress of university alone is a lot for almost everyone let alone a survivor of childhood trauma and homelessness.

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

It felt like the first time I was being noticed for my hard work. I never gave up on life or my education, and the amazing donors showed they aren’t giving up on me.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I believe I can change education. And I believe I can change the world. But I need more help to do this. I need more assistance from amazing donors like the Renaissance Foundation.