Alan Misael Gaxiola
When I walked onto campus, I felt like this was the correct place for me to spend a truly pivotal point in my life.
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
Unique, personal, engulfing
It is a very unique institution, there are not many places that will make you feel at home so quickly. The learning is very personal and you can make of it what one desires. Lastly, Lewis & Clark becomes a really big part of your identity. It takes over your life, but in a very good way.
What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?
My favorite class has been General Chemistry 110 with Professor Casey Jones. She is truly one of the best professors at Lewis & Clark. While I didn’t turn out to be a chemistry major, I did take three semesters of chemistry alongside Professor Jones, and I sincerely could not have done it without her. She allowed me to see connections that I didn’t see before, and she was unrelenting on her quest to make me learn chemistry. She was so thorough and precise that I truly felt like a chemist every time I walked in and out of her classroom or office.
Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?
I would say that Katie McFaddin (my college advisor) is my mentor. Katie is such a kind-hearted individual, and a real one too. I have gone to her with maybe 16 different majors and likely 16 different crises, and she has sat there and supported me through all of them. She has never let me down, she is supportive, but also pushes me in the right direction. I go to her with my crazy ideas on my hardest days and she sorts through the mess!
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I come from a very different place than the Pacific Northwest. When I walked onto campus, I felt like this was the correct place for me to spend a truly pivotal point in my life. I felt instantly connected to the campus and could see myself attending the college.
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 am studying in Berlin in the fall of 2019. I decided on this program because my great-grandmother is from Germany! I want to go and experience the place she is from while also getting to visit the Jewish memorials in Germany. I think that the program will help me feel more connected to my great-grandmother and also to my Jewish identity.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
My advice would be to build connections with your professors. At a school like Lewis & Clark, your professors want you to succeed more than anything else. They are not setting you up for failure, but the courses are challenging. When faced with something that you need help with, the best person to ask for help is the instructor! More so, the professors here are truly amazing, accomplished individuals worth getting to know.
How did you decide on a major?
I decided to take courses in every department that sounded interesting to me; that way I could see what major was best suited for me. I took a stellar Psychology 100 class and it truly made me want to study that more in-depth.
Where do you find community on campus?
I find comfort and community with people I can relate to. That being said, it’s mostly students from other countries, students of color, and students from unconventional backgrounds. I feel like what brings us together is the fact that we are experiencing an equifinality effect.
How has Lewis & Clark changed you?
Lewis & Clark pushed me out of my comfort zone in regard to people I would associate with, which allowed me to build connections that I value so much and otherwise would not have made.