Becks Ellison

Becks Ellison BA '98

Degree and Class Year

BA ’98


Billings, Montana

Current City

Milwaukie, Oregon


Hispanic Studies

Overseas study

Oaxaca, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; Bogotá, Colombia

Job Title, Organization

Registered Nurse

Continuing Studies

BSN, University of Portland, 2009; Master’s Degree in Nurse Education, University of Providence, 2022

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

Dynamic, Magical, Drenched in Possibilities

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

The international programs.

What have you been doing since graduation?

I lived and worked in Texas after attempting and failing to complete Teach for America. Then I returned to Oregon to get my nursing degree. I have been working as a critical care nurse and raising my daughter since then. My daughter just started her first year at University of Oregon, and I am engaged!

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your career?

Lewis & Clark set the stage for me to act independently and with courage to take on virtually any personal and professional challenge. My time at L&C nurtured my confidence and blew up my curiosity and desire to participate fully in our world.

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

The most important thing I learned at L&C was to say “Yes” to new experiences, especially in the presence of uncertainty.

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

I haven’t been very connected but now that I am about to seek employment in an academic setting I am feeling inspired to reconnect.

Have you been to Alumni Weekend or other programming, like Homecoming, etc.? What did you enjoy about the event(s)?

I did attend Alumni Weekend several years ago, and beside the fun of seeing old friends and being back on campus, I really enjoyed seeing all of the improvements on campus.

How do you encourage other alumni to give back to the college?

I will place steady and loving pressure and encouragement on my friends to join me at Alumni Weekend this year.

What are the benefits of having a liberal arts degree in a health care field?

My time at Lewis & Clark shaped me into the adult version of myself, and it is a version that I am proud of. I am a person who can connect with others via personal narrative and vulnerable presence. I am open to value and appreciate the gifts of others without fear of competition. I am a fully content and contemplative woman. My time at Lewis & Clark taught me to value history, philosophy, language, and literature. Extending these studies to Mexico, Chile, and Colombia opened up an endless well of curiosity and appreciation for what is different. My liberal arts education gave me the freedom to banish all forms of dualistic thinking and seek a higher truth. I built my nursing career upon this foundation and it has made all the difference. I am not just a nurse; I am a confidant, witness, and decision maker.

Why did you major in Hispanic studies?

I originally wanted to spend more time abroad than on campus but I ended up writing an honor’s thesis in Spanish and that felt like a pretty good accomplishment.

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

I really enjoyed the philosophy classes I took from Rottschaefer and the Oaxaca exchange with Jack Corbett. I also loved the Poekoelan classes from One With Heart L&C hosted on campus.

Where did you find your community on campus?

I made fast friends with people on my orientation group (community service in Woodburn, Oregon).

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

Kristin Richman was the leader for my orientation group as a first-year student, and I ended up working for her on campus for my work study. She really helped me to be more outgoing.

If you studied overseas while at Lewis & Clark, how did you choose your program? What did your overseas study add to your L&C experience?

I went to Oaxaca, Santiago, and Bogotá. These experiences changed my life and opened up infinite appreciation and curiosity for how things are done elsewhere.

Hispanic Studies Health Studies