Vanja Pešić

Vanja Pe?i? BA '22



Degree and Class Year

BA ’22


Leskovac, Serbia

Current City

Portland, Oregon


German Studies, Psychology (double)


Club Rugby, Pio Support Network, International Students of L&C, Polyglot, German Club, Winterim, Events AV, ILC Tutoring, SAAB Tutoring

Overseas study

Munich, Germany

Job Title, Organization

Clinical Research Assistant, Oregon Health & Science University


The Heroic Imagination Project, Bund für soziale Verteidigung

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

Creative, Compassionate, Supportive

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I appreciated the number of international students on campus because it made me feel like I would be understood and supported in a place where I had no family or friends before attending.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Since graduation I have been working as a research assistant at the Oregon Hearing Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University. Before this, I worked as a skills trainer in a residential mental health facility that helps kids. Additionally, I have found that since graduating, I have had more time to make music, read for pleasure, and do other fun activities.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

Through my psychology internship class where I interned for Heroic Imagination Project, I gained practical organizational experience that helped me adjust more easily in the work environment after graduation. Similarly, through Winterim and other programming organized by L&C’s Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership, I had further opportunities to work with people outside of the college. All of these experiences combined allowed me to learn to work collaboratively in a high-stakes environment with deadlines without extensions.

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?

The most important thing I learned at Lewis & Clark is that no matter how unreachable people seem, you just have to ask for whatever it is that you need. The worst thing they can say is “no,” and if they do, eventually you will learn to creatively problem solve.

Why did you major in German studies?

As a little kid, I used to watch German cartoons and started studying German in school when I was 11. When I came to L&C, I wanted to foster my passion for world languages and become fluent in German. Another motivational factor was that the Munich overseas program is for German majors and lasts a full year. I knew that only a semester wouldn’t be long enough for me to truly experience another culture and properly integrate in the society, so I decided to pursue the German studies degree.

How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?

I stay connected to L&C through the international community. As an alumna, it is important to me to be able to provide guidance, experience, and support to current international students that might need it, since a lot of what awaits international students after graduation is a lot different than what awaits an average American.

What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge?

I have so many favorite classes! However, if I had to pick just one, it would be Intro to Electronic Music with Instructor of Music Jeff Leonard. This class and Jeff showed me that I actually can do things that I previously thought impossible for me, such as producing music. Jeff was very supportive the entire semester and truly
dedicated to his students’ well-being and performance. I appreciate him and his teaching so much. This class expanded my knowledge by giving me confidence in my ability to learn whatever is of interest to me regardless of the area.

Other honorable mentions include Contemporary German Literature with Christel Rischer and German Language Courses with Bärbel Harju and Feebe Sabathil, all taught in Munich on my overseas program.

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

My mentor on campus was Kathy Holmes-Sullivan. Kathy was the mental health consultant for the Pio Support Network (PSN), a peer support mental health organization for which I acted as the director of facilitator development. I consider Kathy to be my mentor because of her guidance and advice in the two years I worked with PSN. I appreciated being able to learn from each other and the support we both gave and received.

German Studies Munich Overseas Study International Students and Scholars