GSE hooding/commencement ceremony highlights

GSE has over 500 graduates in the class of 2018, earning bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates, licensure and certificates. All of our GSE candidates are outstanding students who are planning to make a difference in their careers. These are just three of their amazing stories.

Family of three graduates with master’s degrees together

Photo of Duong family

(L to R), Peter Duong, Hoang Nguyen, Dean Marvin Lynn, and Don Duong.

Husband and wife Don Duong and Hoang Thi Cam Nguyen, and their son, Peter Duong, are refugees from Vietnam who wanted to make a new life in this country. They are planning to be teachers, completing master’s degrees from the PSU Graduate School of Education this spring.

They have worked in Portland’s immigrant community teaching English. Don taught in the Vietnamese Language Immersion Program at Roseway Heights School and completed the Bilingual Teacher Pathway program at PSU. Peter has undergraduate degrees from PSU in science and math. Peter and Hoang would like to teach math.

The family is grateful for the help they have received, especially from their extended family in Vietnam.

Eliza Alvarez McBride first generation success storyimg_elizaamcb

Eliza Alvarez McBride, ’18, is graduating with a master’s in Counselor Education and a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She also earned a certificate in Trauma-Informed Services.

McBride is a first-generation American who came to this country when she was four years old. She is the first in her family to achieve a bachelor’s degree and the first in her family to complete a graduate degree.

McBride arrived in the United States from the Philippines in 1992. Her mother is a nurse who came to the US in 1990 and worked to bring her family over. McBride distinctly remembers what it felt like to not see her mother for the two years it took to save enough money to send for them. Today they are working and scattered across the country from Florida to Portland and except McBride’s younger brother, who was born here, all are naturalized citizens.

McBride decided to specialize in trauma-informed care because of her firsthand knowledge of how traumatic immigration and forced assimilation can be. There are few mental health services for immigrants in the US, and her goal is to change that.

McBride is taking some time to find the right job with an agency so that she can work toward the 90 hours required for licensing. Her goal is to someday open her own private practice.

Graduate Yollixpa Rios Martinez plans to help DACA students

img_yollixpaYollixpa Rios Martinez is graduating with a master’s degree in Postsecondary and Adult and Continuing Education (PACE). She is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student.

Martinez started her higher education journey at Portland Community College where she was inspired by her advisors to set a goal of working in student services. Many of them were graduates of PSU’s PACE program. She transferred to PSU to complete her bachelor’s degree. She could have ended her education then, but she knew that she wanted to work in higher education, helping other DACA students. To do this, she would need a master’s degree.

Martinez found a graduate assistantship position at PSU that enabled her to continue her education, helping students just like her to navigate the often-challenging path to a degree. To help with the cost of her degree, she worked in the New Student Programs office at PSU, organizing large high school visiting events. She said she loved her job because she enjoyed meeting many new and diverse students every day.

Her degree will help her to make higher education more accessible to others. She will be the second person in her family to graduate from PSU; an older brother has already graduated, is working, and has attained US citizenship. A younger brother is also at PSU, working on his business degree.

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