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After Lewis & Clark

Chemistry graduates from Lewis & Clark have embarked on a variety of paths. In the past few years, Lewis & Clark chemistry graduates have gone on to positions with companies such as Schroedinger and FEI, and some have even joined Teach for America. Many have gone on to graduate school in chemistry or biochemistry at institutions such as the University of Washington, the University of California San Francisco, the University of California Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin, and many more. Other students have gone on to study medicine, dentistry, or pharmacy at institutions such as Northwestern University and Oregon Health & Science University. Listed below are just a few examples of what our graduates have been up to after Lewis & Clark College.

Alumni Profiles

Owen Phillips, ’16
Phi Beta Kappa
Chemistry PhD program at Georgetown University

After graduating, I worked at the Anchorage Museum as a Conservation Intern during their renovation of the Alaska Exhibition. While I was moving objects and learning about treatment procedures, I was also applying to graduate programs to chase my interest in crystallographic/inorganic studies. I spent a short amount of time in Juneau working in the legislature before moving to Virginia to participate in the Community Engagement in Science Through Art program at West Virginia University under the mentorship of Dr. Jessica Hoover. I will be attending Georgetown University in the fall of 2017. 
The Chemistry Department at Lewis & Clark is not a department, they are a family. They gave me all the tools I needed to feel confident in my chemical education. I was challenged in my academic courses. There was ample opportunity for me to help teach in labs—including the creation of teaching labs that utilized our new X-Ray diffractometer under the guidance of Dr. Louis Kuo. Performing research not only developed my bench skills, but also allowed me to travel and partake in public presentations and make connections in the chemistry world outside of Lewis & Clark. Additionally, many of my professors supported my non-chemical, artistic pursuits as well and were stewards of a true liberal arts experience. I feel that each of these factors made me a better student and have prepared me well for a graduate education.


Sarah Sandholtz, ’13
Chemistry Ph.D. program at Stanford University

I spent the summer after my graduation from Lewis & Clark participating in an NIH-funded program for training in biostatistics at North Carolina State University. During the following year, I applied to graduate programs in chemistry and worked as an intern at a chemical engineering company in southern California.

My Lewis & Clark education prepared me for graduate studies in several ways. First, I had outstanding professors who taught me well, introduced me to research, and supported me every step of the way. Second, classes outside of chemistry helped me to develop skills in math, statistics, and programming, which are essential for the theoretical/computational research I now conduct. The broad background I gained across biology and physics is useful for my current interdisciplinary research. Third, my liberal arts education has enabled me to think beyond my own discipline and to appreciate the larger context for scientific work. The liberal arts have also prepared me to communicate, both orally and in writing, the results of my research and to help others understand its relevance. Finally, my experience playing varsity volleyball taught me discipline and time management, as well as perseverance and a positive attitude in the face of challenges. These lessons have made me both a better scientist and a better person.

Luciano Santino, ’14
Chemistry Ph.D. program at Washington U. in St. Louis

I applied to graduate programs during the fall semester of my senior year which was stressful but I’m glad I went through with it. I visited in March and ended up liking Wash U and St. Louis enough to continue with school right after graduating. The nice thing about PhD programs in the U.S. is that you’re actually paid a stipend to be a student — I think of my position as a job and that motivates me to do impressive work.

I plan on joining a research group that focuses on creating novel electrochemical energy storage devices known as supercapacitors from scratch using conducting polymers (plastics that conduct electricity) as a backbone. In some cases, small amounts of transition metal oxides are used to increase the storage capacity of these devices. My research as an undergraduate with Associate Professor Anne Bentley gave me the background to spring into this relatively engineering-heavy field in my first semester of graduate studies. Furthermore, I came out prepared for the independent nature of academic research, which many undergraduates don’t have the opportunity to experience firsthand. Apart from that, double-majoring in the humanities in undergrad comes out in my scientific writing and my ability to give presentations. This is a huge advantage — no matter how good the science is, no one will read your papers if you’re not able to succinctly explain what you did, how you did it and why it’s important.

Stephen Kubota, ’13
Materials Chemistry Ph.D. program at the U. of Wisconsin

Lewis & Clark College did an excellent job preparing me for graduate school.   I can honestly say that I like every faculty member and I enjoyed every chemistry class I took.  Because of this, coupled with small class sizes and an emphasis on teaching, I was well prepared for graduate school academics.  The emphasis on lab work starting freshman year and independent research starting sophomore year gave me plenty of hands-on experience with research.  Working as a teaching assistant for general chemistry lab gave a preview for life as a graduate school TA.  Lewis & Clark provided me with strong experiences in the three major aspects of graduate school: academics, teaching and research.  This background made the transition to graduate school much easier.
Beyond chemistry I appreciate the well-rounded education I have received from Lewis & Clark.  I learned about a huge range of topics from electron microscopes, to scuba diving, to flightless birds of New Zealand (travel abroad for a semester if you can).  Lewis & Clark definitely helped prepare me for life beyond college.


Alli Akagi, ’09
Chemical Biology Ph.D. program at Caltech

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Prior to starting my graduate studies, I was a Teach For America corps member in Chicago for two years. I taught high school chemistry and biology while also earning my M.A. in teaching from National-Louis University. The Lewis & Clark chemistry department has the best professors I’ve ever had the opportunity to take classes from. Their commitment to education and each student’s success goes above and beyond anything else I’ve seen. Not only did they prepare me for my graduate studies by helping me master content and theory, but they helped me develop strong skills in presentation, communication and leadership. I would not be where I am today without the L&C chemistry department.


Kyle Thompson, ’09
•   MFA program at UC San Diego
•    Visual artist
•    Co-founder and director at 12128 in Portland, OR
•    Commercial fisherman, Gulf of Alaska 

I came out of my undergraduate studies at Lewis & Clark as a product of both the art and chemistry departments. I’m still dedicated to these extremes of the intellectual spectrum, and I divide my time between working in the Chemistry Department and furthering my artistic practice. The past few years since graduating have been productive. With three other LC alumni, I have developed an exhibition space for contemporary art on a 135-foot decommissioned crabbing vessel. This space—which goes by the name of 12128 and is moored near Sauvie Island—has been successful on both a local and national scale, and we continue to show challenging work from young, progressive artists.

Lewis & Clark fostered the type of intellectual thought that I thrive on—varied, collaborative, and energetic. I gained a lot from the ability to develop connections between disparate fields of study. The chemistry and art departments are fully engaged with their students, and the faculty that comprise each are passionate, wildly creative, and inspiring. This was an enormous benefit to my undergraduate studies, and it is now a great pleasure to work alongside such people. Lewis & Clark does a wonderful job of maintaining an open exchange of thought, with collaborative efforts between departments and classes that span more than one distinct field of study. It has made a lasting impact on the way that I perceive intellectual communication; I draw heavily on chemical and physical theory in my artistic work, and also encourage creative, abstract thought in the classes that I teach. This commutative quality is a beautiful feature of the academic environment at Lewis & Clark.


Curtis Smith, ’10
Inspection Technician with Genentech, Inc. 

Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Pi Sigma

After graduating in December 2010, I spent time coaching Track & Field here at Lewis & Clark and helped organize multiple Track & Field events during the summer. I started with Genentech in June 2011 in their marketed packaging division and was hired on full-time in January 2012 to my current position.  My education at Lewis & Clark provided me with the skills to critically analyze situations, to creatively solve problems, and to communicate effectively with many types of people. My experience in athletics also taught me leadership skills and teamwork, skills I use every day in what I do.


Peter Ray, ’10
Chemical engineering program at Oregon State University

After graduation I was an intern at FEI Company, in Hillsboro. FEI is a leading diversified scientific instrumentation company. It is a premier provider of electron and ion beam microscopes, which provide powerful instruments for nanoscale applications across many industries. At FEI I was a research and development intern in the Beam Technology Department, doing research on the Schottky emitters used for the electron sources in the microscopes. After the FEI internship I started at Genentech as a regular employee as a final drug inspector, providing quality assurance and compliance with FDA regulations.

My L&C education has provided me a great scientific background, allowing me to excel in many diversified industry settings, ranging from materials science to pharmaceuticals. The heavy hands-on lab setting at L&C has developed a strong familiarity with high tech instruments that are widely used in industry. The fellow chemistry alumni coworkers that I have had the privilege to work with have all been great innovators and Pioneers, while becoming valuable assets for companies.


Devon Baker, ’11
M.D. program at University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix Campus 

After I graduated from Lewis & Clark, I spent the year working for the City of Beaverton and volunteering at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. I also took the MCAT after I graduated. I think that the L&C chemistry education prepared me for the subjects on the MCAT. I spent a lot of time studying but also felt that I had good background knowledge in the subjects covered on the test. The L&C chemistry program also provided research experience, which impressed the admissions committee at the University of Arizona.


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