Celebrating PSU Student Success, Spring Term 2021

Woman poses in front of flowers


In support of the first goal of Portland State’s five-year strategic plan — elevating student success — Currently now features student success each term, acknowledging achievements such as publications, scholarships, grants, presentations and more. Here are some of the inspiring students who made us proud during spring term. Want your students to appear in our next roundup? Send information to currently@pdx.edu.


Ingrid Hannan, social work graduate student, Vanessa Lanning, environmental studies student, and Cami Ort, psychology student, were honored with Inspiring Student Awards at the 2021 Sustainability Celebration.

Alexis Atwood, education graduate student, was featured on the College of Education blog “Graduate Profile: 2021 Secondary Dual Educator Graduate Alexis Atwood Committed to Equity in Education.” 

Sasha Gorda, Russian and international and global studies student, Hallie Rathfelder, Russian student, and Alexandra Stewart, Russian student, have been selected for the Russian Overseas Flagship Program for the 2021-22 academic year. In addition to an intensive academic program in Russian at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the students will participate in a professional internship with local businesses and organizations. For the program, Rathfelder and Steward have each been awarded $15,000 in scholarships from The Language Flagship, and Gorda has won a Boren Scholarship of $25,000. 

Jennifer C. Hudson, speech and hearing sciences graduate student, won the Student Research Symposium student poster competition for “Parents’ and Caregivers’ Perspectives on Transition to Telehealth During COVID-19: Barriers and Facilitators for Children with Complex Communication Needs who use AAC.”

Corrine Nightingale, College of Education Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Program graduate student, was selected by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Minority Fellowship Program for Mental Health Counselors for the 2021-2022 academic year. The master’s level fellowship awardees receive $10,000, plus the travel expenses to participate in program-related trainings. 

Katharine Ross, speech and hearing sciences post-baccalaureate student, and Mario Rene Jimenez-Cruz, psychology student, won the Student Research Symposium student poster competition for “Links Between Sound-Category Learning and Memory Skills in Neurotypical and Language-Learning-Disabled Adults.” Jimenez-Cruz participated in the project partly through a BUILD-EXITO research internship.

Michael Shymanski, book publishing graduate student, was awarded a Make/Learn/Build Grant from the Regional Arts and Cultures Council. The grant will go toward “Frontera,” the bilingual literary magazine Shymanski leads, to publish its third volume. 

Vittoria Tanisha, education graduate student, was recognized in the College of Education blog post “Graduate Profile: 2021 Inclusive Elementary Graduate Vittoria Tanisha Looks Forward to Creating Inclusive Classroom for Her Students.”


Sarah Elkinton and Diana Yuen, speech and hearing sciences graduate students, co-authored a conference talk at the Boston University Conference on Language Development in November 2020. As the first author, Elkington was also selected to receive the Paula Menyuk Travel Award. This usually helps speakers cover conference travel expenses, but was converted to a monetary award for the virtual conference.

Elizabeth Hulen, sociology doctoral candidate, published “What is Natural is Best: A Qualitative Exploration of Women’s Engagement in Attachment Parenting” in the Journal of Family Issues.

Ben Wilton and Shari Sokel, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate students, presented “Nurturing Multiple Literacies in Remote Instruction Through Authentic Contexts and Storytelling” at the Portland Literacy Council Conference on April 10.

Diana Yuen, speech and hearing sciences graduate student, was selected for the 2020 Oregon Speech-Language & Hearing Association (OSHA) Student Award in August 2020. The award was given out at the OSHA Fall Conference in October 2020. Yuen received the Bob Buckendorf Scholarship from the OSHA Education Foundation in conjunction with this award.


We want to celebrate your students! Email submit student success items to currently@pdx.edu and include the following information: 

  • The student’s full name
  • The student’s year and area of study (example: Jane Doe, a junior studying art history)
  • Student’s job, volunteer or research position if applicable. For example, if a student won an award for their work as an employee with the PSU Residence Hall Association, their position with residence life would be necessary for the write-up
  • The full name of the award, honor, scholarship or fellowship the student received
  • The date the award was given
  • Any other relevant information about the award, such as length of fellowship, total scholarship amount, location of award ceremony
  • Links to any other additional information you would like to be included in the write-up, such as news stories; web pages or documents for the awards/scholarships/fellowships; and accessible pages for publications (such as the Amazon listing for a student book available for purchase, or the article's journal web page for an academic publication)

If you have news about PSU alumni, please send it to the alumni magazine at psumag@pdx.edu.