Professor Elizabeth Bennett is one of the best, most inspiring, and motivating professors I’ve ever had. I’ve learned more from her classes than any others I’ve taken, and I have already seen massive benefits in my personal life from becoming more financially literate.
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?
Art of War with Professor of International Affairs Bob Mandel and International Political Economy with Associate Professor of International Affairs Elizabeth Bennett. Art of War was part of my Exploration and Discovery selection, and it truly opened my eyes to the possibilities of connecting the humanities with technology. All of Bob’s classes are centered around group discussion, and some of the lively debates held in that class are still with me today. Elizabeth is one of the best, most inspiring, and motivating professors I have ever had. I learned more in that class than any other class I have taken. She opens up the realities of the financial world to the entire class in a deeply motivating way and, because of her, I have already seen massive benefits from becoming more financially literate.
Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?
I have many mentors on campus. Whenever I see hurdles in front of me, I am able to reach out to someone for guidance. This semester I worked really closely with Chrys Hutchings in the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership. She has advocated for and championed my success more intensely than anyone I have ever met in the professional world. She is dedicated to the success of students on this campus, and works tirelessly to create new opportunities and connections for students to flourish after their time at L&C.
Did you know what you wanted to major in when you came to LC? Did that change once you got here? When did you declare your major?
I knew I wanted to do something along the lines of international humanitarian law … but other than that I had no idea; that’s why I have taken so many classes and explored so many different subject areas. I really took every opportunity to try something in each department, and without that I would have never ended up where I am today.
I declared my major in the spring of my sophomore year, and have since changed it twice to be from: international affairs to international affairs and computer science to international affairs major, computer science minor with a concentration in cyber security.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
I came to L&C planning to change the world as a humanitarian, and my views evolved with the diverse experiences offered here. Currently I’m enjoying leadership roles in tech that I couldn’t have anticipated. This has allowed me to achieve financial stability and growth in opportunities I hadn’t previously considered.
In truth, the best skill I’ve gained from L&C hasn’t been my degree, as much as it’s been my ability to learn new things—doing so quickly, and connecting what I learn with what I already know. That’s a skill that will compound in value as I live out my life, gaining new skills to become a more valuable asset to whatever cause I join.
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I am a Third Culture Kid (TCK), and the first time that I ever saw Lewis & Clark in person was the day I moved in! I was moving back to the United States from Russia, and really wanted to attend a college with strong international values, small class sizes, and opportunities for me to stand out and grow. Since coming here, I have been able to do just that! I never intended to have both a major and a minor with a concentration, but the liberal arts experience offered at L&C provided the opportunity to explore and pursue both old and new passions.
How do you describe the liberal arts?
The liberal arts is a truly beautiful opportunity for inquisitive minds to find their “and.” It emphasizes a well-rounded understanding of how the world works, and, by working to chip away at all senses of tunnel vision, it produces students with hard and soft skills that are prepared to enter the workforce and change the world through storytelling and the ability to go above and beyond when meeting deliverables.
Where do you find community on campus?
I find community wherever I find myself. I have never felt a lack of community on campus. Upon arrival, I immediately had the backing of the international community, and whenever I want to explore a new hobby or branch out, I have been able to do so. So far, I have been involved with the golf team, crew team, a cappella groups, rock climbing, and College Outdoors—not to mention all the social groups I am a part of. L&C really does offer a great diversity of opportunity for all sorts of social interests.
Did you choose to do all-remote learning or hybrid learning this academic year? How did you make your choice?
I chose to do all-remote last semester and hybrid this semester. It was more of a comfort-level decision above everything else. But after the complete isolation of last semester, I came into this year with a deep-rooted need to socialize again, and attending in-person classes, even with only half the class there, brought a sense of normalcy that I had been craving.
Have you had the opportunity to do research with a professor? If so, please describe the project and the experience.
I did summer research with Professor of Computer Science Jens Mache for the computer science department. My paper and study was on International Conflict Prediction. Essentially I wanted to find the crossroads of international humanitarianism and computer science. It was absolutely wonderful and changed my perspective on the subject, and is also what led me to double major. I was able to conduct my own research, present at a conference, and get published all in that same summer. I would recommend summer research to all students if they ever find themselves able to do it.