Alex Scioscia

Alex, wearing a white collared shirt and navy blue blazer, smiling in front of concrete steps on ...

Pronouns

he/him

Degree and Class Year

BA ’21

Hometown

Alexandria, Virginia

Major

Political science and German (double)

Overseas study

Germany

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

Challenging, Supportive, Mind Opening

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

One of my favorite classes was American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties with Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Associate Professor of Government Todd Lochner. It was undoubtedly one of the most challenging classes that I took, but I am much better for it. This was one of the first classes that made me reexamine my thought process on law and our society. Professor Lochner’s method of cold calling on students and creating scenarios to test our understanding of the law lead to interesting and free discussions. More importantly, these discussions challenged all of us to see existing prejudices and/or biases.

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

In both my majors, my mentors were my advisors, Associate Professor of Political Science Ben Gaskins, and Associate Professor of German Studies Therese Augst. Each guided me in finding which classes I would like, and also offered great conversations and moral support. Studying abroad for a whole year put a wrinkle in my four-year plan, and they were there to help me figure out a path through that.. Each of their passions served to ignite mine and I am very glad to have them in my corner.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I never had that moment where something just clicked and I knew it was the right choice. When Lewis & Clark accepted me, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come. What made the decision for me was L&C’s small size, which I knew would lead to a better learning environment, and the fact that I wanted to be around students who were excited to be there. As a fun side note, an actual person from L&C called me to congratulate me on being accepted and receiving financial aid, which no other college did.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

An approach to learning that gives you a wide base of knowledge, challenges preconceptions, and ensures you have the critical-thinking skills to become more independent. We are all products of our environment, and the liberal arts gives us a chance to become our own person.

Where do you find community on campus?

As a kid from the D.C. area, politics is second nature. My friends and I used to have watch parties for presidential debates and would talk about the newest political development or scandal. The political science department and club felt like a natural extension of this. Everyone was welcoming, and the conversations, department-wide pictionary games, and after-debate rundowns have all been highlights. I also found a community within the German department. Due to its small size, we are like a large, dysfunctional, lovable family.

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 Copeland my first year and then Spruce in my sophomore year. I was very fortunate during my first year to get a quad with three other great guys. My hall decided early on to get to know one another and that allowed us to become a small family. A few people I became friends with in the hall are now some of my best (and hopefully lifelong) friends. During sophomore year, my roommates and I got another quad in Spruce. We had more space and everything felt a little more homey. I think one of the best things about living on campus is being close to the dining hall and the library. I would always go to the library for homework so that allowed me to keep the quad as a place to chill and unwind. It also didn’t hurt to have guaranteed meals every afternoon and evening at the Bon—one less thing to have to worry about as a student!

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?

During my first two years here, the Munich program was consistently brought up. The ability to live on your own for a year, take classes at a large German university, assimilate into a new culture, visit old friends, and make new ones was what sold the program for me. I can’t emphasize this enough when I say that this program gave me so, so much. I hate to use the term that it “changed me,” so I’ll say instead that not only was it one of the most challenging things I have ever done, it was the most rewarding. The people I met, experiences I had, and being able to call Munich my home, are all things that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

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

I ended up doing hybrid learning this year. I decided that if I ever felt unsafe on campus, I would transition to all-remote learning. In a testament to the college and the students, I never felt unsafe when in person for classes. Both the student body and the administration have taken responsibility for our collective safety and are taking the pandemic measures seriously.

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

“Zoom Fatigue” and staying motivated have been the largest challenges of this pandemic.

What unexpected bright spots have you encountered?

One of the brightest spots has been in-person learning. It has been one of the motivating factors for me, being able to have a form of (socially distanced) human contact and having class discussions in person. Another bright spot has been how helpful and accommodating the professors and staff have been. No matter what the problem, my teachers have been extremely quick and caring in their responses.

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

Finding a community. It took me a couple of years to find one here, which seems counterintuitive, seeing as how small the college is. I found that it was very easy to become isolated, and a college-level workload can make you feel overwhelmed. After finding my major and exploring clubs, I was able to find some of the most welcoming people and communities. Highlights include a Fast and the Furious movie marathon with the German Club (subtitled of course) and the aforementioned Political Science Club pictionary!

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

One of my best memories was during my time abroad in Munich. When Christmas came around, I decided to stay in Germany instead of going home. My mom ended up coming out to visit. Being alone up until then, when normally I would have been home with family, was hard. However, on Christmas Eve one of the people I met through the program invited my mom and me to a Christmas concert and afterward to a friend’s holiday party. These were friends who also couldn’t go home to their families, and for one night we were all each other’s family. It was the best feeling to learn about these people, practice my German, and just have a fun time. I was able to forget all my stress and just be a part of this family. If not for Lewis & Clark and the overseas program, I wouldn’t have this memory. I will always be thankful for that time.

How do you manage stress?

One of the harder parts of college is the new type of stress it introduces. As someone who has had a rough go of it with stress and anxiety, I found that just being around friends and people I love is a great stress reducer. Doing other things I love, such as gaming, driving, and exercising, have been good as well. Lewis & Clark has a wonderful Counseling Service that I would wholeheartedly encourage connecting with if needed.