Connor Heffernan ’22 | University of Portland

Connor Heffernan ’22

Benefit & Eligibility Worker, Oregon Department of Human Services



“Growing up in a working-class family, I had food in my belly because of SNAP food stamps and a roof over my head because of Section 8 vouchers. Social supports are what helped me become the first in my family to graduate from college, and those very supports are what I administer now in my work at Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS).

My interest in political science and economics stems from waiting in DHS office lines and wondering why some had so much while the families in line with me had so little. At UP, group discussions in my political science courses further honed my interest in public service. I co-founded the College Democrats Chapter, served on student government for three years, and was given a University award for public service my senior year. At UP, I was able to focus on the political topics that fascinated me most and intern with two Oregon legislature election campaigns, all of which watered the roots of my public service career.

I initially chose to go to UP because of its Portland location and generous financial aid, but I quickly felt at home with its beautiful campus, homey student culture, and excellent programs for first-generation students. I’ve stayed connected with the friends I made at UP and am so grateful for the people that I met while there.”