Channing Stirrat

Channing Stirrat BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21


Tucson, Arizona

Current City

Tucson, Arizona




Alternative Spring Break, Operation Nightwatch, Irish dance, Pre-Health Club

Overseas study

Ecuador Spring 2020

Job Title, Organization

Development Coordinator, Health In Harmony

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Community, Impact, Opportunity

Life After L&C

August 2022 Update

What have you been doing since graduation?

I joined the workforce, first as a program coordinator at an economic development nonprofit and more recently as a development coordinator at a planetary health nonprofit called Health In Harmony. I’ve also spent a lot of time camping, hiking, biking, and walking my dog. :)

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

The liberal arts education prepared me to use skills like problem solving and systems thinking in any context. Even though I studied biology and my career so far has had nothing to do with what I studied, many of the “soft” skills I learned in upper-level bio lab courses have actually translated over into my daily work tasks. I also connected with my current organization while I was at L&C, so that prepared me in a sense.

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?

At L&C, I learned there’s a skill in asking questions. My professors encouraged us to be self-directed and answer our own questions, then come to them once we had exhausted the other options. Now, when I run into an obstacle or situation where I have a question, I have a process to try and answer it myself. Once I feel confident that I’ve done everything I can to find an answer and I still don’t know, I’ll find someone to ask. I try to make my questions clear and specific so that whoever I’m asking can answer quickly and without too many follow-ups or clarification. My bosses appreciate that I do due diligence before coming to them and that my questions usually don’t require a lengthy answer.

How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?

I get the emails and follow along on social media. I also keep in touch with some of my professors and classmates.

Have you been to Alumni Weekend or other programming, like Homecoming, etc.? What did you enjoy about the event(s)?

I have not had the opportunity (yet!). It’s been a busy year since graduation. :)

Life at L&C

Channing Stirrat BA '21 What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?

My favorite class has been International Affairs 100 with Professor Cyrus Partovi. He’s so, so knowledgeable about the subject and has immense experience to inform what he’s teaching. Coming from a different part of the world and having held high positions of power, Cyrus brings a unique perspective to L&C. He taught the basics of IA while ensuring we understood how the seemingly broad concepts apply to daily life. Cyrus cares about the well-being of each of his students.

Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?

Cecilia Benenati is my mentor on campus. She was my Spanish professor last semester, and now I consider her one of my close friends in Portland. She is passionate about her students’ learning and goes above and beyond to make sure we understand what she’s teaching as well as why it matters. She holds us to high standards and then goes an extra mile to match our efforts. Cecilia invites her classes into her home to cook and eat together so our community can develop outside of the classroom setting. I could go on for a while about her; basically, Cecilia is incredible and it’s a privilege to be her student and friend.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I originally considered L&C when I was a senior in high school, so when I decided to transfer it was at the top of my list. I love the location, the size, and the feel of the school. When I visited I appreciated that the campus has a lot of green space without feeling too spread out. The proximity to Portland is awesome, and of course the academics looked interesting and challenging but not overwhelming. It can be hard to find a liberal arts school with a solid science program; L&C takes advantage of its awesome faculty and proximity to OHSU to make it a school that works for people interested in STEM who don’t want to go to a big research university.

If you have studied or will study overseas while at Lewis & Clark, how did you choose your program? What did your overseas study add to your L&C experience so far?

I chose Ecuador because it has a service aspect and is more biology focused than other regional studies programs due to the location. I also speak some Spanish and am excited to improve it while living with a host family.

Why did you choose to transfer to Lewis & Clark? How is Lewis & Clark supporting you as a transfer student?

I chose to transfer because my old school didn’t have a strong life-sciences program and no research opportunities. It was also pretty secluded and hard to get off campus to explore unless you had access to a car. The support I received from my academic and college advisors even before getting to campus was already a huge difference from my old school. They were available to answer all of my questions and ready to point me in the right direction if I had a question they couldn’t answer. L&C hosted a couple transfer-specific events, but the most helpful things I’ve found are taking advantage of the clubs and extracurricular opportunities. I also love living on campus (I’m super lucky that my hallmates are some of my closest friends) and meeting people in my classes.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

I love the lawn at the Graduate School of Education and Counseling or the quad near the reflecting pool.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?

The food! And having access to a proper downtown. Portland is big enough to feel like a city but it’s not overwhelming for someone who isn’t super accustomed to urban areas like San Francisco or New York.

How did you decide on a major?

I’ve loved biology (specifically cell bio/human phys) basically since the first time I learned about mitochondria. The biology department at L&C has great professors who are excited to bring students into their research projects as well as be engaged teachers who want their students to learn and succeed.