Looking Back, Looking Forward: Celebrating EXITO Graduates

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Contact Info: lindwall@pdx.edu

By Jen Lindwall


Over 40 undergraduate student Scholars completed the BUILD EXITO program this year at Portland State University, with many accomplishments and success to celebrate. Some Scholars have plans to attend graduate school or medical school, including an impressive range of Ph.D. programs across the country. Other Scholars are looking forward to continuing work as researchers or taking time to recalibrate next steps through other avenues of work experience.


Scholars and their faculty mentors found that the strong, supportive community at BUILD EXITO helped students to succeed in their endeavors.


“My sister-scholars Alannah and Veronica are kicking butt in our RLC [Research Learning Community] and they should be recognized as the powerful, knowledgeable women they are,” said Mirah Scharer, a BUILD EXITO graduate.


Scharer’s research mentor, Dora Raymaker, Ph.D., was equally enthusiastic about working with her.


“[Mirah] is an extraordinary scholar, investigator, and friend,” Raymaker said. “I was amazed when she picked me to work with [her] and she has amazed me again, every day, with her courage, justice, and kindness.”


BUILD EXITO Scholar, Joseph Ramirez, expressed a deep appreciation for a friend he made through the program.


“De’Junique Brown remains one of my biggest motivators for personal and professional success, and I don't know where I'd be without her friendship,” Ramirez said.


The demonstrations of peer support, appreciation, and shared celebration of achievements elevate a foundational element of how Scholars navigated an array of challenges throughout their journey in EXITO.