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Shane Ruyle

1225

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1x

Finalist

Bio

Shane is a political science and social work double major, with minors in environmental ethics/policy and physics. He hopes to work in the intersection of economic inequality justice, macro-level social work, and social service policy. This area of study includes issues of criminal justice, housing, environmental justice, substance abuse, mental health, food access, and voting rights, etc. His education is informed by Shane's background as a former foster youth, formerly homeless, abuse survivor and trans man in addiction recovery. Education is his way of both earning a better life, and remaining connected to the communities of his roots through reciprocal aid. Shane attends the University of Portland, where he's engaged in student employment, the university orchestra, the theatre department, and undergraduate research. He's currently working on the proposal process for a Community Resource Center on his campus. He works for a housing nonprofit in downtown Portland, and recently completed a legislative internship with Senator Merkley. He's working on funding a study abroad opportunity to South Africa through IES where he will conduct research on the relationship between economic inequalities and political polarization.

Education

University of Portland

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Social Work
  • Minors:
    • Environmental/Natural Resources Management and Policy

University of Portland

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Political Science and Government
  • Minors:
    • International Relations and National Security Studies
    • Physics

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Public Policy

    • Dream career goals:

    • Intern

      Doing Good Things PDX
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Undergraduate legislative intern

      Senator Jeff Merkley
      2022 – 20231 year

    Sports

    Climbing

    Club
    2021 – 20232 years

    Research

    • Political Science and Government

      Public Research Fellowship- University of Portland — Student research assistant
      2023 – Present
    • Theology and Religious Vocations, Other

      University of Portland CHIRP Lab — Undergraduate researcher- literature review
      2023 – Present

    Arts

    • University of Portland Orchestra

      Music
      2022 – Present
    • University of Portland Theatre

      Acting
      How Can I Keep From Singing?, Twelfth Night
      2022 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Trevor Project — Crisis counselor
      2021 – 2023
    • Volunteering

      UP Community Resource Center — Organizer
      2022 – Present
    • Public Service (Politics)

      University of Portland ASUP — Sophomore Senator
      2023 – Present
    • Advocacy

      People's Housing Project — Volunteer
      2022 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Douglass M. Hamilton Memorial Scholarship
    My name is Shane. Today, I'm a full-time student, sophomore senator at my university, and intern for federal Senator Merkley. I work for a housing non-profit doing street outreach, I'm a volunteer crisis counselor for the Trevor Project, and I'm conducting research on community engagement curriculum within political science courses. A year and a half ago, I was in multi-organ failure due to AIDS complications, and since, I've been on dialysis for kidney failure as I wait for a transplant match. Two years ago, I was living out of my car, working 70-hour weeks in food service, at the beginning of my drug addiction recovery. Two and a half years ago, I was in Utah undergoing conversion therapy. Three and a half years ago, I was a runaway from my foster care placement due to transphobic abuse, and did what I had to support myself. Ten years ago, I knew I was transgender. And 12 years ago, I entered the foster care system as a traumatized 7-year-old, not knowing there was an alternative to the world I lived in, where dying young was normal and college was impossible. My proximity, my empathy, and my relevance breed my most invaluable strength: connection. As a proud recipient of community aid, my education is rooted in the belief that it's only worth what I pay forward. I have the privilege of living in stigmatized communities that give me a broad spectrum of marginalized people to connect with. I went from homeless teenager, straight out of foster care and rehab, to an honor’s college university student and employee for a federal senator- all in less than a year. As I study power structures, increasing the accessibility of this reality for the greatest number of people possible is at the front of my mind. A lot of who I am hasn’t changed, but over the past 2 years, everything about how I am perceived by the world has. The stability I have due to work, generosity and luck, has opened a myriad of doors for me. And while today, I spend my time doing what I love, working towards a bigger purpose, and experiencing the gratification of systems I once only dreamed of breaking into, I also know so viscerally what it’s like to be jerked around by structures inaccessible to my impact. This is my greatest strength. In my undergraduate time so far, I seek out avenues for change as a primary focus. I balance my course load, an internship for a public official, an internship for a nonprofit organization, mutual aid work, and employment. I’m working on a Community Resource Center, to bring homeless people in the community onto our campus for free transportation to services and shelter-free case management, emphasizing reciprocity and mitigation of power imbalances. I major in both political science and social work, splitting my time between different branches of societal improvement to watch systems from multiple angles. I envision a future in housing/criminal justice policy and social service reform; a multi-dimensional career of elected office, NGOs, and research. As I grow into a new position, I'm balancing working within and outside of corrupt systems to change them. Whatever approach I take, I'm grounded by the strength of my communities and the necessity that as I climb these ladders, I'm bringing them with me. I was accepted into a space not built for me. Now I carve out my space, and carve out space for others like me through service, connection, and education.
    Pool Family LGBT+ Scholarship
    My name is Shane. It's taken a lot to say that. I'm a trans man in a proudly gay relationship. Today, I'm a full-time student, sophomore senator at my university, and intern for federal Senator Merkley. I work for a housing non-profit as the main caseworker for LGBTQ+ clients, navigating the limited world of LGBTQ+-friendly shelters and sliding-scale gender-affirming care. I spent a year and a half as a volunteer crisis counselor with the Trevor Project. I'm currently conducting research on gender and sexuality experiences within the Catholic Church, regarding housing policies at Catholic universities. And I'm advocating to include gender identity in my own Catholic university's non-discrimination policy. A year and a half ago, I was on a ventilator for AIDS-related infections, only learning my HIV-status after my T-cell count was below 100. Since then, I've been on dialysis for kidney failure as I wait for a transplant match. Two years ago, I was living out of my car, working 70-hour weeks in food service, at the beginning of my drug addiction recovery. Two and a half years ago, I was in Utah undergoing conversion therapy. Three and a half years ago, I was a runaway from my foster care placement due to transphobic abuse. Five years ago, I said my name was Shane for the first time out loud. And ten years ago, at 9 years old, I knew I was a boy. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community has been the fight of my life. My name is something I earned, and shouldn't have had to. It's been the most beautiful, painful, visceral, awesome reality. I live each day with the power of my community by my side. We are a force. We are a family. And I'm so grateful that I get to live the rest of my life as an advocate for kids like me, step by step, getting closer to the world they deserve. Conversion therapy was technically outlawed in Utah in 2020, but electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains legal for youth as a treatment for some mental illnesses. So when I was sent to a religiously-affiliated treatment program for a "triple diagnosis" of PTSD, substance abuse, and "gender confusion", my past as a sexual abuse survivor was attributed as the source of this confusion- a perfect excuse to target my trans identity in ECT. I have survived some of the most egregious transphobia this country has to inflict. But I was never confused. It showed me my purpose, and exactly what I'm up against. There are hundreds of kids like me, sucked into a system of conversion, hidden by the law and corporate interests. Thousands more crumble under the hate we face, trying to work with systems stacked against us. My friends are dying and my community is hurting. Yet, we celebrate each day because we're still here, and despite it all, history continues to move in our favor. Our parades are resistance. My success is resistance. I study political science and social work, working towards a future in policy, mutual aid, and research. My background gives me the privilege of connection to multiple marginalized groups, grounded in grit. Through higher education, I was accepted into a space not built for me. As I carve out space for myself and my communities, I do it not to escape my past, but to use it to create something better. My pride is rooted in our continual progress, and my responsibility to follow the lead of my elders and take the next step, knowing that there's a trans kid after me who will do the same.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    My future self feels balanced in both gratitude for the structures that got me here and the drive to improve them for the communities I left behind, alongside the ones I'll always be a part of.
    Paige's Promise Scholarship
    I'm a proud addict in recovery from substance use disorder. I went from homeless teenager, straight out of foster care and rehab, to an honor’s college university student and employee for a federal senator- all in less than a year. My world opened up. And while today, I spend my time doing what I love, working towards a bigger purpose, and experiencing the gratification of systems I once only dreamed of breaking into, I also know so viscerally what it’s like to be jerked around by structures inaccessible to my impact. I’m infiltrating decision-making institutions, as a young person who still feels so close to the version of myself victimized by the power I’m now studying to engage with. I have the privilege of living in stigmatized communities that give me a broad spectrum of marginalized people to connect with. I know my education is only worth any of this hard work and dedication when I pay it forward. My proximity, my empathy, and my relevance breed my most invaluable strength: connection. I am the proud recipient and perpetuator of social services and community aid. It is this background of love and generosity from service sources that make my higher education possible. My work in the future will always be centered in addressing economic inequalities, to provide addicts like me the long-shot opportunities that allowed me to get to where I am today in my recovery. In my undergraduate time so far, I seek out avenues for and methods of change as my primary focus in my education. I balance my course load, an internship for a public official, an internship for a nonprofit organization, mutual aid work, and employment. I’m working on a Community Resource Center, to bring homeless people in the community onto our campus for free transportation to services and shelter-free case management. I’m prioritizing welcoming in instead of reaching out. I major in both political science and social work, emphasizing the intersection between policy and macro-level social work. I split my time between different branches of societal improvement to watch systems from multiple angles. This grounds each of my experiences in context with each other. I value broad sources for intake of information to advise my future decisions. I envision a future in housing/criminal justice policy and social service reform; a multi-dimensional career of elected office, NGOs, and research. All of these goals are rooted in my reality as a recovering addict, and propelled by my drive to have other recovering addicts sitting in positions of influence with me. I hope through my unique perspectives, I'm able to make recovery more attainable for anyone looking for it. I aim for my policy work to break access barriers to provide equitable opportunities to stable environments that make sobriety sustainable. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get a higher education, and it's my responsibility to reciprocate this privilege. I was accepted into a space not built for me. Now I carve out my space, and carve out space for others like me through service, connection, and education.
    Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care
    My proximity, my empathy, and my relevance breed my most invaluable strength: connection. I am the proud recipient and perpetuator of social services and community aid. I went from homeless teenager, straight out of foster care and rehab, to an honor’s college student, and employee for a federal senator- all in less than a year. My world opened up. And while today, I spend my time doing what I love, working towards a bigger purpose, and experiencing the gratification of systems I once only dreamed of breaking into, I also know so viscerally what it’s like to be jerked around by structures inaccessible to my impact. I’m infiltrating decision-making institutions, as a young person who still feels so close to the version of myself victimized by the power I’m now studying to engage with. As I attempt to keep in touch with the origins I once defined as home, I find my roots increasingly uncomfortable to reach back for. It’s odd how I can feel so separate from experiences that, in reality, join me with so many. I’m a transgender recovering addict, formerly homeless foster youth, living with HIV, kidney failure, and PTSD. I have the privilege of living in stigmatized communities that give me a broad spectrum of marginalized people to connect with. I know my education is only worth any of this hard work and dedication when I pay it forward. In my undergraduate time so far, I seek out avenues for and methods of change as my primary focus in my education. I balance my course load, an internship for a public official, an internship for a nonprofit organization, mutual aid work, and employment. On my campus, I choose institutional collaboration, even with hierarchies that stack the odds against me. I’m working on a Community Resource Center, to bring homeless people in the community onto our campus for free transportation to services and shelter-free case management. I major in both political science and social work, emphasizing the intersection between policy and macro-level social work. I split my time between different branches of societal improvement to watch systems from multiple angles. This grounds each of my experiences in context with each other. I envision a future in housing/criminal justice policy and social service reform; a multi-dimensional career of elected office, NGOs, and research. I plan to study for solutions, to connect, to find moments of hope that I can bring back to a country that’s lost mine in so many ways. My research examinations of economic inequality, the mitigation of polarization, and public responses to corruption in South Africa will no doubt add to my database of collaboration. Do I collaborate in reform efforts, push against the tides and put in the futile work, play into problematic narratives for the sake of slow improvement? Do I work from the outside, prioritize abolition not mitigation, and accept the consequences for rivalizing people in power? Do I focus on large change for a few, or marginal improvement for many? Is aid work that doesn’t target root cause worth anything? As I grow into a new position, I don’t know how much to engage with corrupt systems with the intention of making them better. This question will frame my future and career, and it’s one with an ebbing, flowing response. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get a higher education, the opportunity to ask these questions. I was accepted into a space not built for me. Now I carve out my space, and carve out space for others like me through service, connection, and education.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    I went from homeless teenager, straight out of foster care and rehab, to an honor’s college university student and employee for a federal senator- all in less than a year. And my world opened up. To me, recovery means opportunity. Recovery is connection. Recovery is family. I relied on substances to numb big feelings, and to fill an emptiness. I never thought I would be 23 months clean at 19 years old. I never thought I would be able to trust a community, but that's what my 12-step fellowship has given me. That hole I was looking to fill is still there. And while I continue to live with PTSD, I now fill that hole with people who lift me up. I fill that hole with the once-a-week meetings with my sponsor, a positive role model for long-term recovery that I have to look forward to. I fill the hole with my service commitment at a meeting each week, somewhere that counts on me. I fill the hole with my education, a means to create macro-level change for kids like me. My proximity, my empathy, and my relevance breed my most invaluable strength: connection. I now see that I have the privilege of living in stigmatized communities that give me a broad spectrum of marginalized people to connect with. I know my education is only worth any of this hard work and dedication when I pay it forward. Recovery is connection, and the change I can inspire with it.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    My proximity, my empathy, and my relevance breed my most invaluable strength: connection. I live with PTSD, and I'm in addiction recovery. I am the proud recipient and perpetuator of social services and community aid. I went from homeless teenager, straight out of foster care and rehab, to an honor’s college university student and employee for a federal senator- all in less than a year. And my world opened up. A lot of who I am hasn’t changed, but over the past 2 years, everything about how I am perceived by the world has. The stability I have due to work, generosity and luck, has opened a myriad of doors for me. And while today, I spend my time doing what I love, working towards a bigger purpose, and experiencing the gratification of systems I once only dreamed of breaking into, I also know so viscerally what it’s like to be jerked around by structures inaccessible to my impact. I’m infiltrating decision-making institutions, as a young person who still feels so close to the version of myself victimized by the power I’m now studying to engage with. That's difficult. I know that none of this work is sustainable unless I prioritize my mental health. It's a matter of life and death. Today, I have a balanced structure that sets me up for success and puts my mental health first. I engage in a 12-step program, I take my medications, I pray, I go to therapy once a week, and I invest in ways to spend my time that motivate me. I maintain mental wellness through balance and intentional quiet spaces- a hike, a prayer, a book, a journal. I have the privilege of living in stigmatized communities that give me a broad spectrum of marginalized people to connect with. I know my education is only worth any of this hard work and dedication when I pay it forward. In my undergraduate time so far, I seek out avenues for and methods of change as my primary focus in my education. I balance my course load, an internship for a public official, an internship for a nonprofit organization, mutual aid work, and employment. I’m working on a Community Resource Center, to bring homeless people in the community onto our campus for free transportation to services and shelter-free case management. I’m prioritizing welcoming in instead of reaching out. I major in both political science and social work, emphasizing the intersection between policy and macro-level social work. I split my time between different branches of societal improvement to watch systems from multiple angles. This grounds each of my experiences in context with each other. I envision a future in housing/criminal justice policy and social service reform; a multi-dimensional career of elected office, NGOs, and research. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get a higher education, but none of it is possible without emphasis placed on mental health. My recovery comes before education, comes before my ambition, and before my work. Everything else is dependent on mental wellness, so while I put it in the front seat, I hope it's something I can reciprocate for others. I was accepted into a space not built for me. Now I carve out my space, and carve out space for others like me through service, connection, and education, all reliant on the maintenance of my balance.
    Maverick Grill and Saloon Scholarship
    My proximity, my empathy, and my relevance breed my most invaluable strength: connection. I am the proud recipient and perpetuator of social services and community aid. It is this background of love and generosity from service sources that make my higher education possible. I went from homeless teenager, straight out of foster care and rehab, to an honor’s college university student and employee for a federal senator- all in less than a year. And my world opened up. A lot of who I am hasn’t changed, but over the past 2 years, everything about how I am perceived by the world has. The stability I have due to work, generosity and luck, has opened a myriad of doors for me. And while today, I spend my time doing what I love, working towards a bigger purpose, and experiencing the gratification of systems I once only dreamed of breaking into, I also know so viscerally what it’s like to be jerked around by structures inaccessible to my impact. I’m infiltrating decision-making institutions, as a young person who still feels so close to the version of myself victimized by the power I’m now studying to engage with. I have the privilege of living in stigmatized communities that give me a broad spectrum of marginalized people to connect with. I know my education is only worth any of this hard work and dedication when I pay it forward. In my undergraduate time so far, I seek out avenues for and methods of change as my primary focus in my education. I balance my course load, an internship for a public official, an internship for a nonprofit organization, mutual aid work, and employment. I’m working on a Community Resource Center, to bring homeless people in the community onto our campus for free transportation to services and shelter-free case management. I’m prioritizing welcoming in instead of reaching out. I major in both political science and social work, emphasizing the intersection between policy and macro-level social work. I split my time between different branches of societal improvement to watch systems from multiple angles. This grounds each of my experiences in context with each other. I value broad sources for intake of information to advise my future decisions. I envision a future in housing/criminal justice policy and social service reform; a multi-dimensional career of elected office, NGOs, and research. My research examinations of economic inequality, the mitigation of polarization, and public responses to corruption in South Africa will no doubt add to my database of collaboration. Do I collaborate in reform efforts, push against the tides and put in the futile work, play into problematic narratives for the sake of slow improvement? Do I work from the outside, prioritize abolition not mitigation, and accept the consequences for rivalizing people in power? Do I focus on large change for a few, or marginal improvement for many? Is aid work that doesn’t target root cause worth anything? As I grow into a new position, I don’t know how much to engage with corrupt systems with the intention of making them better. This question will frame my future and career, and it’s one with an ebbing, flowing response. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get a higher education, the opportunity to ask these questions, and this gift is something I will reciprocate. I was accepted into a space not built for me. Now I carve out my space, and carve out space for others like me through service, connection, and education, with the help of the Maverick Gill and Saloon Scholarship.