Lewis & Clark made me feel wanted as a student.
Degree and Class Year
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
Three’s Too Few!
What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?
One of my favorite classes was my fall section of Exploration and Discovery taught by Kristin Fujie, an English professor. I really appreciated how the intimate classroom setting allowed me to form a close connection with both my professor and my other classmates. In fact, this class was so interesting that it single-handedly motivated me to take an English class with Kristin the following semester! I loved covering such a wide range of material, and it was so rewarding to find connections between works that seemed so different from one another. This class made me such a better critical thinker, and my writing improved exponentially.
I can also never decide between Cell Biology, Postcolonial Literature, or Disease Ecology when choosing a favorite class for my majors. They were all so great!
Did you know what you wanted to major in when you came to L&C?
I knew that I wanted to double major across disciplines (i.e. one hard science and one humanities/social science) when coming in, but I didn’t know what exactly I would study. I juggled around tons of combinations (including biochemistry and molecular biology, psychology, and neuroscience), but during sophomore year I realized biology was the best fit for me. I didn’t declare my English major until my junior year though—I am entirely an English major thanks to Professor Kristin Fujie. She was so amazing that I just kept taking classes with her, and eventually she convinced me to branch out to other professors in the department who I also loved. I realized I could pick up the major, and so decided I would!
Why did you want to go to a liberal arts college? Did you consider other types of schools?
I wanted to go to a liberal arts college because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study and wanted the flexibility to pursue multiple academic interests. I was looking at colleges pretty much across the entire spectrum (big and small, public and private, all different regions of the U.S.), and throughout the process I slowly just realized that a smaller school with discussion-based learning and close professor connections was going to be the best fit for me.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
Immediately after graduation I plan to work, either doing research or working in the realms of science education/communication or public health. Eventually I’d like to go back to graduate school (for what I’m not exactly sure, which is why I’m taking time to work and decide), and I feel really lucky that L&C has set me up well for graduate school in the future!
Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?
One of my mentors is Professor Kristin Fujie from the English department. I consider her to be my mentor because in addition to being an amazing teacher, I feel like I can go to her to talk about whatever. It is so nice to just sit down in office hours and have a one-on-one conversation, whether or not it’s related to class material. My other mentor on campus is Margaret Metz, a biology professor. I recently started doing research with her, and learning from her about what actual biological research looks and feels like has been so valuable. Working with her has been a joy, and I can’t wait to continue!
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I had a number of criteria going into my college search: far from home, small liberal arts, close to a major metropolitan area, etc. In addition to checking all of these boxes, Lewis & Clark made me feel wanted as a student. When I was visiting, the students I interacted with were genuine and friendly, going the extra mile to make my experience enjoyable and valuable just because they could. Something clicked and suddenly I could see myself calling this campus home for four years.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Go with your gut. If it’s telling you something, chances are you should listen!
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
It’s not technically on campus, but Tryon Creek State Natural Area is incredible (and close enough to basically be called campus!). It’s perfect for going on a walk with friends or just taking a minute by yourself if you feel overwhelmed.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?
The food! I am constantly trying new restaurants and coffee shops, and it’s awesome knowing I won’t even come close to running out in four years!
Have you had the opportunity to do research with a professor? If so, please describe the project and the experience.
I recently started working in Professor Margaret Metz’s biology lab to help with her research. She has a number of different projects going on, but the one I am predominantly helping with is a population ecology study in forests near Wind River in Washington. It has been so valuable to get research experience as an undergraduate, and Metz and her team have been extremely helpful and kind throughout the process.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced at Lewis & Clark?
I struggled with a lot of homesickness when I first arrived on campus. I didn’t really comprehend how far 1,000+ miles actually felt, so it was a bit of a shock realizing that once I got to campus. Luckily, I had a great group of friends that helped me through it, and L&C offers tons of resources to help students get more acclimated.
What’s your best Lewis & Clark memory so far?
Definitely my College Outdoors New Student Trip. I spent a week kayaking, hiking, and camping on Waldo Lake in Oregon, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. In addition to the beauty of being in the outdoors and the excitement of trying something new, I met an amazing group of friends that I am still close with!