Makayla Simmer

Makayla Simmer BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21


Haiku, Hawai‘i


Biology and Environmental Studies (double)


College Outdoors, Paddle Club

Overseas study

East Africa (fall 2019)

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

Explorative, Liberating, Home

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

Environmental Law and Policy with Karen Russell gave me an understanding of how law and policy dictate so many of the environmental decisions that are being made. It allowed me to understand the regulations behind environmental laws and policies and how they dictate how humans interact with them. This class allowed me to see the connection between what dedicated individuals want to do as advocates and how most change happens.

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

Kori Rosenstiel, my manager for College Outdoors has been a great mentor for my career in the outdoors and how to balance that with my academic work.  

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

The opportunities that I could see for myself and the feeling I got when I visited campus.

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 a study abroad experience with a field-specific program, where I could go to a location and have an intensive learning experience. As a biology major, I wanted this to focus on biology. I chose the East Africa program because of the uniquely different experience it offered me and the opportunity to explore such a drastically different part of the world. I saw it as a place where I might not otherwise be able to travel on my own (and most likely not in the same capacity), and as a very unique experience. My time abroad was great for hands-on learning and a way to form new communities.

Describe your involvement with College Outdoors. How does your College Outdoors experience complement your academic experience?

College Outdoors has been a very significant part of my life since being at Lewis & Clark. It has offered me a community, learning opportunities, and personal growth. Being a trip leader has allowed me to work on my interpersonal skills as well as hard skills in the outdoors. It allows me to connect what I am learning in the classroom with being outside and contributing to outdoor education. It has also been a great opportunity to become involved in a part of Lewis & Clark that is not academic, but where I am still learning. This has been extremely empowering and important for who I am becoming.

How do you manage stress?

The way I choose to deal with stress has evolved as I have learned to manage it. I find knowing when I am being productive and when I am not can lead me to make better decisions, such as knowing if I should continue with work or go work out. I do my work with an intentional headspace of the purpose I have and what I am trying to get done. I also try and over-allocate time and be proactive and then understand that I can’t always hold myself to the standard of perfection and that sometimes mental and personal health have to take priority.