Zoë Sanderson

I chose biology as my major because the major requirements fit well with pre-med requirements, and the class descriptions interested me. The STEM faculty I got to interact with also made the decision easy.

Zoe Sanderson BA '24



Degree and Class Year

BA ’24


Eugene, Oregon




SAAB Tutor, medical scribe, undergraduate research assistant at OHSU, babysitter, and volunteer medical interpreter

Overseas study


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

Quirky, Mossy, Comfortable

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

Organic Chemistry with Professor Louis Kuo. This class has changed the way I see the world and made me appreciate the little organic molecules that discreetly dictate our every move.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I was a senior in high school when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and Lewis & Clark was the only school on my top list that I had the opportunity to visit. I loved the vibe, the beautiful campus, and the welcoming culture of the school. I had a feeling that I would find my people at this school and be able to make connections with the professors, and I was right.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

A liberal arts education, in my opinion, is the best way to make a holistically knowledgeable student. By building a curriculum that has the goal of giving students exposure to classes they otherwise wouldn’t take, we are exposed to new ideas and new perspectives that make us more whole.

Where do you find community on campus?

Most of my friendships have started by asking my classmates to study together. We would study at the library, grab some food together, and it would become a routine. Soon enough, we were best friends. I also found community through joining extracurriculars full of people with similar interests and values.

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 Platt-Howard for my freshman year. It was full of artsy kids and music. For my sophomore year, I lived in Hartzfeld (aka Hartzi). Hartzi felt like a big home and had a very comfortable sense of community. The best thing about living on campus is how easy it is to hangout with friends, meet up with people at Watzek Library, and sprint back to my dorm when I inevitably forget my notebook.

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 chose to go on the Thailand Regional Area study for so many reasons. For one, I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand. Also, the curriculum’s main focus is on sustainability and, as a pre-med student, I believe that a deep understanding of the climate crisis is necessary for all doctors to have, for it will definitely affect the health of our world.

Within just a month of being on this program, I have embraced ambiguity and a totally new form of learning. We are doing primarily experiential learning, so I’m basically getting college credit by going on insanely unique excursions. In just the first month, I’ve spent a whole day with elephants, visited ancient temples, tasted incredible food, and gained so much first-hand knowledge from locals about their history, culture, and politics. These classes are unlike anything I’ve ever taken, not only because of the experiential learning, but also because they’re outside of my major. I feel like a sponge soaking up a completely new way of life, and I love it! Gaining fresh cultural competency and integrating myself into a culture that values collectivism and social harmony has provided many new perspectives.

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

I was able to visit campus twice before deciding to come here. The first time, I stayed with a friend in her dorm and was able to go to Maggie’s, one of our campus cafes. While there, I interacted with students and could see myself happily being peers with all of them. I also got to come for admitted students day, which was full of events. I attended an organic chemistry class, and was intimidated and excited by the level of engagement and material. It feels wonderfully full circle to be taking the same class in the same classroom I visited as a guest.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

The best way to get the vibe of a college is to talk to as many students and faculty as possible. They have the best grasp on the experience that you will have as a student here. During my college search, I also tried to visualize myself hanging out around campus to see if I could really see myself there.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus would have to be the Watzek Library. There aren’t many places I’d rather study than next to a window surrounded by trees.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?

The food and the cute little neighborhoods that you find when you explore off-campus.

How did you decide on a major?

I have been wanting to become a doctor for years because it is a profession where I can build a skill set that saves lives, can move around the globe helping people, and can use science every day. I chose biology as my major because the major requirements fit well enough with pre-med requirements, and the class descriptions interested me. The STEM faculty I got to interact with also made the decision easy.

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

The biggest challenges I have faced at Lewis & Clark are the same challenges I would face at any other institution. Because of how many different types of people are at this college, it was hard to find my people. But once I did, I was really happy to be here. It can also be difficult to become your own advocate when it comes to getting academic and emotional support. While there are a lot of resources at L&C, like the Office of Student Accessibility and the College Advising Center, they will only help you if you go to them first. I had to learn to be good about scheduling appointments and planning my life.

How has Lewis & Clark changed you?

Lewis & Clark has changed me by being an accepting and welcoming environment in which I was able to spread my wings. I have left my comfort zone more than I ever thought I could. I have created amazing relationships with my peers and professors. I’ve become more mature, comfortable in myself, and a much more well-rounded individual during my time here.