Two GSE students honored by PSU for diversity accomplishments

Each year PSU honors individuals for their outstanding accomplishments in making PSU a more diverse, inclusive campus. Awardees are selected from students, faculty, staff, and the campus community. This year’s honorees from the GSE are PACE student Ebony Oldham, who received an award from the Commission on Sexual and Gender Equity, and incoming GTEP student Nancy Perry, who is the winner of the Commission on the Status of Women Essay Contest. Congratulations to Ebony and Nancy. We are proud of you!

Previous awardees from GSE faculty, staff, and students include:
Aslihan Alkurt, ’17
Carmen Anderson, ’10
Julie Esparza Brown
Tara Cooper
Esperanza De La Vega
Samuel Henry, X 2
Virginia Luka, ’16
Ebony Oldham
Lynda Pullen
Judy Bluehorse Skelton, ’08
Shannon Sprague, ’14
Yer Thao
Hope Yamasaki, ’12

GSE students receive PSU 2018 President’s honors

Each year PSU students are selected for Presidential Awards that celebrate the exceptional work they have done during their time at PSU. These awards include all PSU students, not just those who are graduating this spring. GSE is proud to have two of the top recipients.

University Service

img_rileylakosRiley Lakos, ’18, is a graduate of the Educational Leadership Master’s program. They received the University Service Award for involvement, initiative, and leadership in activities that benefit and enhance PSU students’ experiences. They specialized in Postsecondary, Continuing, and Adult Education (PACE) and hold a certificate in Student Affairs in Higher Education. PACE is the second PSU master’s degree for Lakos, who earned an MSW from the School of Social Work in 2017.

After helping to coordinate the University Studies freshman and sophomore mentor program as a Graduate Assistant, they now work full-time as an Office Specialist for the department. They are on the advisory board of the Queer Resources Center and have been closely involved in the PSU food pantry.

Community Engagement


Amie Riley, a student in the Educational Leadership Doctoral program, has received the President’s Community Engagement Award. Recipients of this award are celebrated for their participation, initiative, and leadership in off-campus community engagement activities.

She has a master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy with an emphasis in Sustainability Education.

She has worked as a graduate assistant supporting community-based learning (CBL) in the Office of Academic Innovation. Riley has been working to advance the CBL efforts at PSU through support for the ongoing Engaging Exchanges discussion series, the CBL Institute for Japanese Faculty, and the PSU CBL Faculty Summer Institute, as well as development of numerous pedagogical and administrative CBL resources.

She is an active member of many community-based organizations and nonprofits, including the ACLU, Audubon Society, International Nonprofit Collaboration Network, the Willamette Riverkeepers, and Standing Up for Racial Justice. She founded the international nonprofit Casa Verde in Nicaragua that focuses on global citizenship and sustainability.

She is a current student in the GSE’s doctoral program working toward an EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy.


PACE graduate Brian Fassett distributes bicycles in Uganda

Brian Fassett, his wife Kate, and daughters Ruby and Clara are excited about their new adventure.

A former Peace Corps member, Brian Fassett, ’12, had a great job as director of training and development at Advantis Credit Union in Portland. But Fassett was ready for a new adventure. He has taken a new position as operations director with a small start-up NGO, Bicycles Against Poverty. Their mission is to distribute bicycles to rural African communities to improve the standard of living. They distribute bikes on a lease-to-own basis that enables people in small villages, especially women, to expand their opportunities.

Fassett is a graduate of the PSU Postsecondary, Adult and Continuing Education (PACE) master’s degree program that develops adult educators to anticipate and respond to the changing developmental issues of diverse adult learners, organizations, and communities. He also holds a certificate in working with adult learners. Continue reading

GSE graduate receives national advising awards

AvilaOsvaldo F. Avila, BS ’07, MS ’14, a graduate of the Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education (PACE) master’s program, has received a Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Advising for 2013, as well as a Wesley R. Habely NACADA Summer Institute Scholarship, both from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Mr. Avila will be honored at a special awards ceremony and reception at the annual NACADA conference in Salt Lake City this fall. As a Summer Institute Scholarship winner, he will also be honored with a complimentary registration to the 2014 NACADA Summer Institute in Portland, OR. Continue reading

Alumnus of the Month – Tamara Ryan


Tamara Ryan is a first-generation college graduate who is turning her life experience into success for students. After earning her BA at PSU, Tamara worked at a local non-profit, Hacienda CDC and learned about the housing and educational needs of our immigrant communities. She then took a position as a Research Assistant (NPC Research) helping to evaluate recidivism rates of inmates in Washington County. After three years in government jobs, Tamara returned to Clackamas Community College in 2009 as a Workforce Advisor and transitioned to Portland Community College in 2011.

Currently Tamara is a Career Resource Specialist at the PCC Rock Creek Campus, where she works to empower students to make their careers satisfying and fulfilling. Her experience working with students, immigrants, inmates, and displaced workers has given her the tools she needs to make the most of any student’s situation, no matter the obstacles. Focusing on an individual’s circumstance and maximizing their potential has become her signature method. She believes this is the key to transforming a student’s educational journey. Tamara considers her work life-changing for herself as well as the students with whom she works, and emphasizes the value in teaching adults. Continue reading

PACE student Breckany Eckhardt honored

GSE student Breckany Eckhardt will be honored with a National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) Collaborative Governance Service Award on October 28, 2010. According to NPCC Training Program Coordinator Mari Saint-Pierre, the award honors students who contribute “time, energy, enthusiasm, and valuable skills in a collaborative effort in service to the state of Oregon.”

Ms. Eckhardt is a Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education (PACE) masters student at PSU. She has also completed the annual NPCC collaborative governance training.

“Though our typical student participants hail from conflict resolution or public administration where they’ve gained prior experience in mediation, Breckany held her own during the team and role-play exercises, and showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the work we do. It wasn’t long before Breckany was placed on multiple projects, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about her from all involved.”
–Mari Saint-Pierre
Training Program Coordinator, National Policy Consensus Center
PSU Hatfield School of Government

Award recipients were selected based on their work on NPCC projects during the 2009-2010 year. During her internship with NPCC, Ms. Eckhardt has been involved in numerous projects, including:

  • Oregon Solutions: Statewide Forest Health Collaborative Project
  • Policy Consensus Institute (PCI)/ NPCC: Performance Measures Project
  • Oregon Solutions: Metropolitan Transportation Collaborative Governance Study
  • PCI: Andrus Family Fund Project

Congratulations to Ms. Eckhardt and the other PSU recipients on receiving this honor for the time and energy they devoted to NPCC projects last year.