Eliana Essman

Eliana Essman BA '25



Degree and Class Year

BA ’25


Carlsbad, California


International Affairs


Religious Studies


IA Symposium Cochair, Admissions Tour Guide, Phonathon Ambassador

Overseas study

Greece, Fall 2023

What’s your favorite class? Why?

My favorite class was Islam in the Modern World with Professor Paul Powers. This class pushed me to expand and challenge my preconceived idea of what Islam is. Paul is also just a fantastic professor who is so obviously passionate about the subject.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I decided to come to L&C because I did not find any other school that allowed me to pursue an interdisciplinary education in the way that Lewis & Clark does. While my main area of studies is international affairs, I have been able to take classes in departments ranging from physics to entrepreneurship and leadership. I feel that this has allowed me to have a more well-rounded education and explore topics I didn’t even know I was interested in.

What do you like or find most interesting about your major?

Something I like about my international affairs major is that I get to learn about aspects of global politics that I would never have considered. It also forces me to not always look at things as black and white and helps me see the gray area.

What do you like or find most interesting about your minor?

As someone who grew up in an interfaith household, I have always been interested in religious studies. I love connecting what I am learning about religion to my major and seeing how religion impacts global politics.

How did your financial aid package influence your decision to attend Lewis & Clark?

The financial aid package that Lewis & Clark gave me was unmatched. I would not be able to attend L&C without it and I am so grateful. 

Tell us about your support systems and social outlets on campus: people, activities, clubs, res halls, etc.

My support system here on campus is absolutely my amazing friends. I have met people in so many different places around campus and they have made college thus far incredible.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

My advice to incoming students is to try as many new things as possible. You are not going to stay in every club or group you join, but I can not stress enough how important it is to step out of your comfort zone.

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?

I was a committee member and am currently one of the cochairs of the International Affairs Symposium. The experiences have been vastly different but each so rewarding in their own right. It is a great feeling getting to see a year’s worth of work come alive. It has also exposed me to subjects in international affairs and other subjects that I previously did not know anything about. Not only have I been able to learn about new subjects, I have also been able to meet and work with some of the most talented people. It is getting to work with my fellow committee members that has really shaped the positive experience I have had with the IA Symposium.

International Affairs Religious Studies