Helen Guyton

In the fall of my sophomore year, I took my first sociology class and immediately knew that sociology and anthropology was for me. Since then, I have taken an incredible breadth of classes within the major, and have loved each one partially due to the incredible faculty in the department.

Helen Guyton BA ?23

Pronouns

she/her

Degree and Class Year

BA ’23

Hometown

Cologne, Germany

Major

Sociology and Anthropology

Minor

Environmental Studies and Japanese (double)

Extracurriculars

Artemis Ultimate Frisbee, Gender Studies Symposium, Environmental Studies Symposium, Third Culture Kid club, New Student Orientation, Feminist Student Union

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

Thought-provoking, Funky, Lush

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

Topics in Medical Anthropology with Assistant Professor with Term Sepideh Bajracharya has to be the most impactful class that I have taken during my time at Lewis & Clark. We discussed things like pain and suffering, how or why we care for the people that we do, and how these are political and significant acts. I ended up writing an ethnography about relationships to death and dying as my final project in the course, which completely changed my understanding of working with other individuals in research, as well as the topic of medical anthropology.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I knew that I was looking for a small liberal arts school that had good student-to-teacher ratios, as well as a breadth of majors to choose from, and L&C fit that description. What made me choose Lewis & Clark over other similar schools were the interactions I had with Associate Dean of Students Brian White in the International Students and Scholars office prior to coming to L&C. He was incredibly welcoming and reassured me that there would be a place for me on campus, even though I was coming from abroad.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

To me, the liberal arts are a symbiotic relationship between freedom of choice and rigorous academics. I am always pushing myself to learn new things outside of my comfort zone and constantly find overlaps between my classes each semester. This semester, for example, there have been many similar themes in my reproductive justice and Japanese literature classes.

Where do you find community on campus?

I am on Lewis & Clark’s Artemis Ultimate Frisbee team, which is the group of people that provides me with the most sense of community. The team supports each other on and off the field. I feel like I always have someone to talk to when I need it and vice versa.

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?

During my time on campus, I lived in the Manzanita, Holmes, and Hartzfeld halls. Of those three, I would say that Manzanita and Hartzfeld were my favorites. I enjoyed Manzanita because of the constant sunshine in my room, and the vigor of first- and second-year students. Hartzfeld was a little more low-key, and it was great having a some more private space. Something I really enjoyed while living on campus was the proximity to classes. If I forgot something in my room, I could just go grab it and still make it to class on time!

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 was accepted to the Osaka, Japan, study abroad program in the spring of 2022, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, my trip was canceled. The reason I chose the Osaka study abroad program was because I was interested in the language immersion program and language pledge. As a Japanese language learner, it would have been an incredible experience to expand my comfort zones by mostly speaking Japanese for a couple of months.

Have you been involved with one of our symposia, as an organizer or participant? What was the experience like? How did the event complement your academic experience?

In my sophomore year, I helped as an organizer for both the Gender Studies Symposium and the Environment Across Boundaries ENVX Symposium. For ENVX, I helped facilitate a session on international conservation projects, which provided me with valuable public speaking skills for the future. For Gender Studies, I served on the proposal reviewing committee. We read all of the papers submitted by people seeking to serve on panels. The committee helped to pair similar topics together and created the schedule for the symposium. It was fascinating to get a glimpse of all the amazing projects that L&C and other schools’ students are involved in.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

My biggest piece of advice is to not come with a set idea of what your college experience is going to be. The experiences you have on campus and in Portland will change the way you see the world, which is an amazing part of coming to college.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

The silent section on the first floor of Watzek Library.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?

I love the access to the outdoors that we have in Portland. I feel so lucky to have snow-capped mountains, forests, and the ocean all within such a close radius. Taking a breath in nature is the best stress reliever from school!

How did you decide on a major?

In the fall of my sophomore year, I took my first sociology class and immediately knew that sociology and anthropology (SOAN) was for me. Over the course of that semester, I wrote a research paper on catcalling issues and how grassroots organizations are empowering women to stand up for themselves. By taking the class, I found a love for examining the intersectionality of societal issues, human relations, and oppressions. Since then, I have taken an incredible breadth of classes within the major, and have loved each one partially due to the incredible faculty in the department.

Do you consider yourself a Third Culture Kid (TCK)? What’s that experience like?

Before my junior year in high school, I wasn’t aware of what a Third Culture Kid was, but I knew that I was one. I grew up in five different countries before graduating high school, largely due to my parents’ jobs. The majority of my childhood was spent in Germany, which is where I consider myself to be from. I cherish having grown up in so many contrasting cultures, and I think it gives me a more perceptive perspective when engaging with people from different backgrounds. I think it particularly gives me an edge in the liberal arts sphere, where the community is so diverse.