*Student-supplied profile photo due to COVID-19. Thank you, Ben!
Ben Sherer (he/him)
Class Year: 2021
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Extracurriculars: Admissions tour guide, admissions fellow
Overseas study: East Africa
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
Beautiful, challenging, supportive
What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge?
My favorite class was Marine Biology with Professor Ken Clifton. I have always been interested in ocean life. The vast diversity in the ocean, and going practically through each aspect of our oceans, was incredible! We wrapped up the course with lectures on conservation and mindfulness about marine life and values, some of which was eye-opening in terms of how humans treat the ocean. Professor Clifton also provided several resources for students looking into careers in marine biology at the end of the program, which has been invaluable to me as I begin to look past my time at LC.
Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?
One of my mentors on campus is my biology advisor and frequent professor, Ken Clifton. I have taken several classes with him and have enjoyed all of them! His background in marine research, and overall knowledge of biology, is at a level that I aspire to be. He has encouraged me to push myself academically, and provided valuable insight into future careers.
“Studying abroad in a place as unique as Tanzania provided me with memories for a lifetime. Can you say that you saw a wild rhino on foot? Or that there was a lion prowling around your campsite at 6 in the morning? I not only experienced this, but also a radically different point of view of the world.”
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I knew that I wanted a small liberal arts experience and that I did not want to go to a large school. I was looking for small class sizes and opportunities to connect with faculty. I found that here. Lewis & Clark also offers many unique opportunities that you simply won’t find anywhere else! Studying abroad, internships, and research on campus are just a few!
How do you describe the liberal arts?
The liberal arts are a unique combination of several areas of study mixed together. At Lewis & Clark, there are all types of crossovers between classes, even if they don’t seem to intertwine at all. You can make connections and see so many opinions from a wide field of view and that is all thanks to the liberal arts.
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 studied abroad in Tanzania, Africa, on the biology-focused East Africa program. I knew that I wanted to study abroad, and it was one of the main deciding factors for me to come to Lewis & Clark. If I could have, I would have gone abroad twice—on both the East Africa program and the Australia biology program. As an undergraduate student interested in biology, it is important to have experience in the field you would like to pursue.. I chose the East Africa biology program because it provided me the opportunity to get my hands dirty in field research and learn the ups and downs of working in biological research. Studying abroad in a place as unique as Tanzania provided me with memories for a lifetime. Can you say that you saw a wild rhino on foot? Or that there was a lion prowling around your campsite at 6 in the morning? I not only experienced this, but also a radically different point of view of the world. The country is beautiful, and the people I had the pleasure of meeting are one-of-a-kind. As I mentioned, I also experienced the ups and downs of field research and I learned some valuable lessons when it comes to working with animals within foreign environments!
Did you visit campus before deciding to come to LC? How did your visit influence your decision to attend?
I had visited campus hundreds of times before deciding to come here as my mom works in the Admissions office. LC always felt like a second home. It was always at the back of my mind throughout high school. Now, it’s a stepping stone (and a large one at that) in my academic career! I still did the normal campus visit and went on the tour. Even if I hadn’t been coming here my whole life, I would still choose to come here for the community, the scenery, and the opportunity.
What is your favorite thing about living in Portland?
Despite growing up here all my life, Portland still finds ways to surprise me. Whether that is an interesting art sculpture, coffee shop, brand new restaurant, or food truck, there is always something new in Portland. You can’t ever get bored here!
How did you decide on a major?
I was always interested in science growing up, but what really got me focused into biology was my AP biology class in high school. I knew that I wanted to continue exploring biology, and the plethora of classes Lewis & Clark offers in that field is awesome!
What has been your best Lewis & Clark memory so far?
I have loved every second of my time on campus, but my best memory comes from when I got the opportunity to go off campus. I loved every moment of my time in East Africa and there are too many things that happened for me to pick just one, but I can narrow it down to a few!
- Getting to spend time with the Hadzabe, one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes of people on Earth, for a few days was incredible.
- The opportunity to photograph and see lions, elephants (babies too), hyenas, and over 350 different species of birds!
- Snorkeling with dolphins, stingrays, and octopods off the coast of Tanzania on a protected reef system teeming with marine life!
- Homestaying with the Maasai people in northwestern Tanzania for three days.
- Being able to understand the native language of Kiswahili and hold conversations with locals and my homestay parents.
All of that and so much more was possible because I came to Lewis & Clark and took up the opportunity to study abroad!