PORTLAND, Ore. -- At the Moda Center on Sunday, Portland State University handed out more than 6,000 diplomas.

One of the speakers at Sunday’s ceremony overcame a lot to come to the United States and have her family see her cross that stage.

“I left Iran in hopes of living the American dream and becoming successful,” said Mania Asada Zadeh, who earned a Master's of science and counseling degree from the school.

“I feel like I belong to PSU,” she said. “I feel like it's that identity crisis that students go through after they graduate.”

Mania's journey was harder than most.

She landed here with $500 and went without meals to just get by. The learning curve was steep. And she missed her only sister, Mona.

Finally, after 9 years, Mona's green card came through and as she tried to get on the plane in Iran, authorities stopped her.

President Donald Trump had just issued the executive travel ban, and her country was one of those affected.

“We've been through a lot together to come here,” Mania said. “It was a very challenging journey, definitely traumatizing.

"It should not have been that way but with a lot of support we were able to bring her here and celebrate with me,” she said.

A judge's ruling helped Mona be here today for this special moment.

“It was my dream that I see her doing this,” she said.