Black United Fund Scholarships

2018 Scholarship Application is now available!

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ACCESS and BUF Scholarships

Scholarship Recipient Highlight


Dorcas Kaweesa's Victory

Dorcas Kaweesa is a recent graduate from the University of Portland, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. She was the recipient of the ACCESS Scholarship from Black United Fund in 2011, upon graduating from Madison High School. ACCESS Scholarships are awarded by the Black United Fund of Oregon (BUF) in partnership with local private colleges and universities. The scholarship awards are an outward demonstration of BUF’s belief that all students deserve an opportunity to access and complete college. The Black United Fund of Oregon assisted Dorcas in the process of gaining acceptance to college and with our support Dorcas secured a fully paid college scholarship that further allows students to break generational barriers to economic growth, while reinforcing intergenerational resilience.

During her time at the University of Portland, Dorcas was involved in several leadership positions as a part of student government, including mentoring. During her last year of undergraduate studies, Dorcas was the President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) University of Portland section and she was awarded the SWE Outstanding Student Award. In addition to SWE and other engineering clubs and organizations, Dorcas was also involved in various activities in her community. Time with BUF taught Dorcas the importance of giving back and she became a tutor at Roosevelt High School, a volunteer with the Oregon Food Bank, and a support worker at a homeless shelter in downtown Portland. She shows great enthusiasm and passion for mentoring and serving others.

Dorcas began pursuing her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, this fall of 2015, at Pennsylvania State University. Her career goal is to specialize in design, manufacturing, and control systems. This past spring Dorcas was the student speaker at the annual BUF luncheon where she closed her speech by indicating that one of her “greatest hopes is to return to the Black United Fund of Oregon as a financial contributor and supporter of this great work.”