Juan Martín López Meléndez
Degree and Class Year
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?
Introduction to Linguistics with Professor of Chinese Keith Dede. I consider myself a total language nerd. I love languages, and this class expanded my knowledge even more about how a language works. I love that I am learning what linguists use to analyze languages. One day I hope to be able to do it myself and help with the preservation of languages. This is also my favorite class because it’s challenging, but it’s also changing me because of the knowledge I am acquiring. The professor is really supportive and passionate about the subject, which makes the class even more enjoyable.
Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?
My mentor on campus is Dominique Gardner, director of the Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement office. I consider her a mentor because she is always there to help us through our time in college. She cares about us and our success, and has really put effort into making this year great despite the pandemic.
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
One of the main things that made me come to Lewis & Clark was the amazing and welcoming community that exists here. When I got accepted, I felt welcomed and that I belong here. I wanted a place where I could study languages and continue dancing. The small classes and the opportunities that come from a small, but supportive, community also played a big factor in my decision.
How do you describe the liberal arts?
A place to learn and acquire new skills, while at the same time exploring different paths and careers.
Where do you find community on campus?
The main place where I find community on campus is through the student organizations and clubs. Whatever student organization or club you join will make you feel welcomed and part of a community. Personally, the Third Culture Kid (TCK) club, Gente Latina Unida (GLU), the IME office, French club, and Russian club are my communities.
Which residence halls have you lived in? How would you describe the hall’s personality? What is/was the best thing about living on campus?
I lived in Akin during my first year. I really enjoyed the community that we built there, as well as the location of the dorm, so I decided to live in Akin again during my second year. I love it here. Akin is the inclusion and multicultural living-learning community, which is something I love. It is great to find people from other cultures and learn from them. I would say that the best thing about living on campus is that you don’t miss out on the events and opportunities happening around you. Moreover, you get to make friends and become more connected to the campus community.
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 planning to study abroad in Saint Petersburg, Russia, because my major requires at least one semester of overseas study in the main language you are studying. I am really looking forward to it.
Did you choose to do all-remote learning or hybrid learning this academic year? How did you make your choice?
I decided on hybrid learning and returned to campus this year, not only because of my very limited resources at home but also because I trust this community and knew that if we worked together, we would be able to make it through.
What are the main challenges you’ve faced as a student during the pandemic?
I have been struggling to keep my motivation up for Zoom classes plus staying engaged in what is going on.
What unexpected bright spots have you encountered?
I am actually learning. Yes, it is hard to stay engaged, but with enough effort I have actually learned and succeeded in my classes.
Did you visit campus before deciding to come to L&C? How did your visit influence your decision to attend?
I visited campus through the Compass Scholars program. The way I felt in this community during my stay made Lewis & Clark my first choice. Although I was a little hesitant because I never lived in a place where it rains this much, the excitement to continue my education here and be part of this community outweighed that.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
I know it is hard to decide where you will live and study for your next four years. Wherever you decide to attend, make sure to go with a smile and an open mind.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
One of my favorite spots on campus is the library. It is really cozy and a nice place to study.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?
My favorite thing about living in Portland is the amount of things that there are to do and explore. There are so many restaurants, food trucks, fun places, and the perfect combination of city with the wilderness. There are also really nice events, such as the Light Festival.
How did you decide on a major?
I decided on my major based on my passion. In my first semester, I started taking classes based on what captured my attention, which eventually led to me choosing world languages.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced at Lewis & Clark?
The biggest challenge I have faced here is definitely the weather. I was born and raised in hot sunny places, so being here sometimes can get a little depressing. With time, I’ve been getting more used to it and appreciate sunny days even more.
What’s your best Lewis & Clark memory so far?
My best memory so far has been exploring the city with my friends on the weekends.
How do you manage stress?
The way I manage stress is through movement. I usually dance, work out, go for a run, or simply walk though the beautiful forest that surrounds the campus.
How has Lewis & Clark changed you?
I have acquired so many new skills and have learned so much through the different classes I have taken. I can say that I am a more prepared person than I was one year ago.