Matthew Telles

Matthew Telles BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21


Denver, Colorado


Sociology and Anthropology


Entrepreneurship Club, Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME), and Gente Latina Unida (GLU)

Overseas study

South Korea

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

Innovative, Challenging, Beautiful

What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?

My favorite class at the moment is the entrepreneurship course Implementing Innovation Two. It is taught by Chrys Hutchings and Meredith Goddard—two amazing and passionate instructors. Not only has the course taught me real-world skills from networking to design thinking, but it has also allowed me to exit the restraints of the classroom by giving me the opportunity to intern with a local organization as well.

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

My mentor on campus would have to be Dominique Gardner from the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement. Although she is my boss, she is one of the most loving and caring individuals that I have had the pleasure of creating a meaningful connection with. We have weekly check-ins where I lay out my goals for the week, converse about vulnerable subjects, and generally talk about life. From offering life lessons to supporting me on an assignment, Dominique is an amazing mentor and provides an environment for me that makes Lewis & Clark feel like a home away from home.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

The strong sense of community is what ultimately led me to decide on committing to Lewis & Clark. From small classroom sizes, one on ones with professors, and creating connections with my peers that reflect all corners of the world, Lewis & Clark is the ideal place for somebody like me who wanted a small school with worldwide connections.

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 will be studying at Yonsei University in South Korea in the fall of 2019. Not only did the program work perfectly with my four-year plan, but it will be fulfilling one of my dreams to visit South Korea. The application process was surprisingly easy and I recommend everyone to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that the Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Office offers to its students.

How did you get involved with the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement? What has your involvement with IME added to your L&C experience?

I became involved with the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement upon entering Lewis & Clark as a freshman. I identify as a first-generation student and a person of color. Because of this, I was invited to Great Expectations, a retreat designed specifically for other first-generation first-year students. Through this experience, I had the opportunity to meet what would become my second family here at Lewis & Clark. Now that I work for IME, I help provide an easier transition for other first-year students and host events to create the same sense of love I received when I was a freshman myself. IME has allowed me to create many meaningful connections with my peers and faculty on campus and has ultimately provided me with the opportunity to spread happiness.  

How has Lewis & Clark changed you?

I moved more than a thousand miles away from the only place I ever called home to attend this school. I had no family or friends in Portland, so it was a very vulnerable move. While I did face moments of homesickness and self-doubt, I persevered through my first year and learned a skill that many people wish they could have: being okay to be alone. Although I now consider my closest friends here my second family and feel more at home on campus, I learned to be fully independent and how to create my own happiness without the need of anybody else. Lewis & Clark provided this for me by presenting a challenging environment. However, it is these challenging times of great vulnerability that have the ability to change you the most. I may be a completely different person than I was in high school, but it is the exact person I had always dreamt of being. I’m achieving my dreams every day because of the lessons that Lewis & Clark has taught me.

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