Joseline Muhimpundu – Portland State University

<b>Joseline Muhimpundu</b> – Portland State University

Joseline came to the US from Burundi in 2007 with her family. She is studying political science in order “to work and advocate for young women across the world and fight for injustices.”

Portland State University, Class of 2021

Degree: Political Science, minor in women’s studies

I am majoring in political science and minoring in women studies. I picked these two because I have always wanted to make a change in the world. I want to work and advocate for young women across the world and fight for injustices.


What did you think about college before you attended? 

I knew college was different from high school, but I was never scared to come to college because I come from a high school that prepared me very well (Roosevelt high school)

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

As a first-generation college student, I am always being told that attending college is a great honor for our family but it’s hard to forget the amount of pressure that comes with that. I have to do everything related to college on my own and figure out thing on my own such as FAFSA application because my parents don’t know the English language. I have to always be on top of my game because if I fail my family also fails. Being a first-generation college student hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it

What do you love about PSU?

I love that my university provides me with many safe places where I can do my work and hang out with friends. Also, I love all my professors because they always make sure I am doing well in class and reach out to me whenever they see that I am not focusing.

What is your favorite class you’ve taken?

My favorite class that I have taken was a women studies course called “women of color in the US” I had so much fun in this class and I learned so much, this class provided me the opportunity to tell my own story of being a black woman

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

The most impactful experience is when I got to perform at African night, an event that’s held every year at Portland State University. When I perform, I get to show the world another side of me and express myself through dancing. Also, it’s been impactful being pushed to become an independent young woman.

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

To have been chosen as a Renaissance scholar is something that I truly appreciate, to me it means that they’re people who recognized my dreams and my strength. Education has always been something that I value. Coming from a low-income family, a dream without money is just a wish. I realize that my dream would’ve been much more difficult to accomplish if it wasn’t for the help from this scholarship. This scholarship enables me to fulfill my dream and also, my parents who never got the chance to an education because of poverty. I am grateful to find opportunities like the one that your foundation is providing to students like me who are constantly looking for help to reaching their dreams. I remain persistent and will keep working hard until I reach my career goals.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I was born in Tanzania, but my family is from Burundi. my family came to America as refugees in 2007. My end goal when I receive my bachelor’s degree is to go give back to the communities and the culture that raised me. I always try to connect my passion for education with my desire of helping others. In Gandhi’s words, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Being selfless is the one of the best ways for me to be happy. I am generous and kind and, Community service is something that I am passionate about, it is something that has taught me valuable lessons such as having gratitude.