Polly Irungu

Polly Irungu Crowned Miss Black Oregon, Will Represent Oregon at National Pageant

The newest Miss Black Oregon is an avid photographer, a passionate traveler, and a journalism student at the University of Oregon.

When Polly Irungu was looking for a university to attend, she put together a checklist covering everything from academic reputation to weather. The UO fit everything she was looking for, and even offered her the Diversity Excellence Scholarship, giving her the opportunity to achieve even more in the classroom.

“If I take 12-14 credits per term, I am attending the UO for almost zero,” Irungu said. “My goal is to graduate with a double major, debt free.”

With one eye on becoming a photographer for National Geographic later in life, Irungu enrolled at the UO, declaring a major in Journalism and a minor in International Studies.

“I am currently getting my feet wet in other journalism fields, but I have always had a passion for photography and traveling,” said Irungu. “I figured that if I am going to be doing something for the long term, I might as well love what I do.”

Despite describing herself as “not the typical pageant girl,” Irungu entered the Miss Black Oregon pageant after learning about it from the Black Student Union. Miss Black Oregon is part of the Miss Black US Ambassador Organization, a pageant series that focuses more on what a woman wants to do to help the community rather than how good she looks in a swimsuit, and provides its winners with a scholarship to be used for tuition or graduate school.

Irungu’s platform in the pageant was “Breaking Barriers,” promoting the ideal that “We need to work together for our community to remove barriers that are hindering peace, unity, and progress.” The judges liked what they saw and heard from Irungu, and crowned her Miss Black Oregon.

“It was an amazing surprise,” Irungu said. “I honestly did not expect to win, because this was a huge step out of my comfort zone.”

As Miss Black Oregon, Irungu advances to the national Miss Black US Ambassador competition, which will be held on July 14 in Atlanta.