Alie Cicero

Alie, in a gray L&C athletic top, smiling in front of trees on a cloudy day.

Pronouns

she/her

Degree and Class Year

BA ’24

Hometown

Arcadia, California

Major

International Affairs, German (double)

Extracurriculars

German Club

Overseas study

Munich, Germany

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

Beautiful, Challenging, Unique

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

Art of War with Professor of International Affairs Bob Mandel. I have always been interested in war. Tackling difficult topics in spirited discussions every week helped me learn to articulate clearly and concisely and be able to think on my feet. It has helped me approach topics differently.

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

My two mentors on campus are my two major advisors, Bob Mandel and Associate Professor of German Studies Therese Augst. They helped make the transition to college and my entire experience at L&C so much easier and fun. They have helped me find interesting opportunities to further my education and challenge me so I can improve my skills. They helped me find majors that I am extremely passionate about, guided me through course selection, and helped me find potential work opportunities. They have boosted my confidence and comfort in classes, and helped me feel more like a part of the L&C community.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I wanted to come to Lewis & Clark because of the tight-knit community, the positive and inclusive atmosphere of the campus, and the amazing academic opportunities available to students. I knew that I wanted a very hands-on education where I could build personal relationships with my professors and fellow students, and that is exactly what I found. L&C is an extremely diverse and interesting campus with a compassionate community that I fit into very well. I knew L&C would best prepare me for the future and would guide me on my journey to find a career and something I will be passionate about for the rest of my life.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

I describe the liberal arts as being strongly based on independent thinking with an emphasis on inclusivity and challenging what we are told is right. It is a broad education that really helps students improve their intellectual abilities and strengthen their creative and critical-thinking skills. Liberal arts students adeptly prepare themselves for their future workplace and learn how to be active and productive members of society.

Where do you find community on campus?

I find community on campus through the German Club and with those who live in my residence hall. Starting college during a pandemic was extremely challenging because I did not know anyone, nor the layout of the campus. As I started meeting more people, I felt more included and comfortable. It helped me deal with stress and feel like a real part of the L&C community.

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 have only lived in Platt thus far. I live in the part of Platt known as the “Global Village.” Most of the language assistants live here as well. Everyone has their own unique cultural background and upbringing. The personality of our hall is very fun and spontaneous, with a lot of diversity. The best part about living on campus is enjoying the beautiful scenery, the independence that comes from living away from home, and the friendships you build with the people and entire community you live around.

If you went on a New Student Trip with College Outdoors, how did it shape your experience as an incoming student?

I attended a Virtual New Student Trip with College Outdoors. I absolutely loved it; my leaders were extremely fun and supportive and it was an amazing experience. As a result of the trip, I made several new friends that I am still in contact with almost a year later, and it also helped calm down my nerves about college in general. I was nervous about coming to a new campus, a new state, and a completely new environment. The trip reassured me and helped me remember that I was not alone, that every other first year was just as nervous as I was, and that there would be countless people on campus waiting to help us all settle in and get comfortable.

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 plan to study overseas for one year with the Munich program during my junior year. I chose this program because it applies to both of my majors. Being German myself, I would be able to visit my second home and a large portion of my family. I grew up visiting Germany as a child and have not been able to go for years due to school and now the pandemic. I am very excited to go back, and not just as a visitor but actually as a student living and studying there.

Did you choose to do all-remote learning or hybrid learning this academic year? How did you make your choice?

I chose to do hybrid learning this year, so I am living on campus. Once we were told that L&C would still be holding some in-person or hybrid classes, my decision was easy. I wanted to get as much of a college experience as possible and I knew the best way to do that was to live on campus. It is one of the best decisions I have made. There have been so many opportunities that have presented themselves that would never have been possible had I chosen to remain home and do all-remote learning.

What are the main challenges you’ve faced as a student during the pandemic?

Some of the main challenges that I have faced during the pandemic have been staying motivated and happy, meeting people and making friends, and adjusting to campus life. Coming in as a first year, I not only did not know the campus but I did not know anyone. I felt very isolated the first semester, especially when the wildfire smoke confined us to our rooms. It was difficult to have to sit in front of a screen 24/7 to attend class and then complete homework. It was hard to stay passionate and excited about school when my routine became monotonous and tiring. I love meeting new people, and social interaction was something that I did not have at all. It was very challenging not being able to get to know people. When I encountered them in person, it felt as though there was still a wall between us, whether it be the mask or having to social distance all the time.

What unexpected bright spots have you encountered?

An unexpected bright spot that I have encountered this year is how nice walking in Tryon Creek State Park has been. At the beginning of last semester, I started exploring around campus and took a walk through Tryon. It was absolutely stunning. I have been walking there and around the neighborhood ever since, almost every weekend. It is so peaceful and beautiful, and fresh air helps get me through the difficult weeks.

What, if any, changes in the classroom or on campus would you like to see continued post-COVID?

A change that I would like to see continued is having the option to attend certain events or classes online. I love going to class in person but sometimes, when I am swamped or running late, I am truly grateful for the ability to join via Zoom rather than race across campus and be late to class. Certain events that I have attended this semester were also very fun and accessible via Zoom, as opposed to pre-pandemic when I would have had to find a way to drive there.

Did you visit campus before deciding to come to L&C? How did your visit influence your decision to attend?

I was unable to visit campus before making my final decision. I took several virtual tours and found as many pictures as I possibly could to get an idea of what the school looked like.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions. Meet with your professors early in the semester and utilize their office hours. So many opportunities that I have had came from getting to know my professors and just taking the initiative to pursue different things. Being driven and passionate is very helpful and important. It helps you build connections early and gives you a better foundation for the rest of your collegiate career.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is next to the Frank Manor House overlooking the reflecting pool. From there you can see the beautiful tree line and Mount Hood. It is absolutely stunning and changes with each time of day and season.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?

My favorite thing about living in Portland is the landscape. I love how fresh and green everything is. I feel like I am living in a beautiful forest all of the time. I also love how friendly and helpful everyone has been.

How did you decide on a major?

Deciding on a major took a lot of time and research prior to coming to school. I wanted to find something that I was passionate about. At first, my struggle was that I liked too many things. What really solidified my major is my cultural background and the classes I took in the first semester. My mother is German and so I knew I wanted to pursue a German major to share my own experiences and learn more about my heritage. I have also always loved bringing people together and learning about new cultures, and the discussions we had in my Intro to International Affairs course only made me more interested and passionate about adding a double major in international affairs.

Have you had the opportunity to do research with a professor? If so, please describe the project and the experience.

I have not had the opportunity to do so yet, but I plan to work with a professor the summer after my sophomore year, and perhaps pursue an internship while I am in Munich for my year abroad.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced at Lewis & Clark?

The biggest challenge that I have faced at L&C thus far has been starting college during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are times when it was quite lonely and just difficult to meet new people. So far, I have not experienced the normal L&C experience, and I have had to make the most of that. I am looking forward to future years when I am able to walk around campus without a mask and actually participate in more events and school activities.

What’s your best Lewis & Clark memory so far?

My best Lewis & Clark memory so far has been my birthday. I spent the entire day with my friends and we got a cake from Fred Meyer after class. We drove around Portland, listened to music, and had a picnic. It was truly wonderful. I enjoyed the city and spending time with people that I care about. It was a very cute and nice celebration.

How do you manage stress?

I manage stress by going on walks. The entire area is so peaceful and beautiful. Getting a breath of fresh air and looking at the green trees and beautiful landscape is so wonderful. It truly helps me calm my nerves and get myself oriented when school feels overwhelming.

How has Lewis & Clark changed you?

Lewis & Clark has helped make me a more confident, well-rounded person. I have been exposed to many different ways of thinking, methods of approaching different topics, and situations that I had never thought of before. My understanding of the world and people has been greatly impacted by my time here, and I can confidently say L&C has made me a better person, eager to learn more and take the future head on.