Rosemary Elliott

Rosemary Elliott BA '19

Degree and Class Year

Political Science & Psychology BA ’19


Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Current City

Portland, OR


Political Science & Psychology


Recreational Soccer

Overseas study

New Zealand

Continuing Studies

Pursuing a Degree in Professional Mental Health Counseling at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling

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

Sustainable, Alternative, Creative

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I saw Lewis & Clark as an opportunity to get an excellent education without pretense. It appealed to me that Lewis & Clark is situated in a beautiful part of Portland, proximate to both the conveniences of the city and the stunning nature of the Pacific Northwest. I was drawn to Lewis & Clark’s small class sizes because I could see myself forming relationships with my teachers, rather than being one in a crowd. I wanted to be challenged, but I also knew I needed to feel supported in that process. This supportive energy is central to the Lewis & Clark experience. I remember touring campus and imagining myself living there, looking out onto Mt. Hood everyday. I could see this place being my home.

What have you been doing since graduation?

I worked for some time as a legal assistant for lawyers in Portland’s public defense system. I then moved on to working for a mental health crisis line, providing callers with emotional support and connecting them to community resources. Feeling like I had found the career I wanted to pursue long-term, I began a graduate program at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling to pursue a degree in Professional Mental Health Counseling.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

My Lewis & Clark education allowed me to hone my critical thinking skills. While it is one thing to be asked to memorize information, it is another to be challenged to deeply engage with material so that it can be mapped onto new scenarios. I carry this with me into the workplace, the ability to adapt quickly and not take things at face value. Having a Lewis & Clark education opens doors, because Lewis & Clark is known as an institution that produces enterprising, creative lifelong learners.

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

I learned to always question the status quo. The ideas that come easiest to you are exactly the ones that you should investigate deeply and with intention. In this way, Lewis & Clark taught me that I’m always learning and changing, and to not be afraid of that change.

Why did you major in Political Science and Psychology?

I went into college feeling unsure about what I was going to major in. I think many freshmen find themselves in that position. I took several 100 level courses in a variety of subjects in order to find what felt right. Political science appealed to me because I felt it was an avenue to pursue social justice in a future career. I actually added my second major, Psychology, fairly late into my college career. I took Intro to Psychology with Professor Amelia Wilcox, and became engrossed in the material. I think I am inherently drawn to understanding other people, their motivations and struggles. Political science and psychology allowed me to delve deeper into understanding my world and the people living in it.

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

One of the ways I continue to feel connected to Lewis & Clark is through the friendships I made. To this day, some of my closest friends were people I met at Lewis & Clark. I feel proud to be surrounded by so many amazing people that share a common vision for the future. I remain in contact with certain professors who are always there to lend an ear.

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

This would have to be a tie between Psychology of Sustainability with Professor Jolina Ruckert and American Constitutional Law: Equal Protection and Due Process with Professor Todd Lochner. Psychology of Sustainability was an amazing opportunity to really engage critically with academic research. When reading research, it can be easy to be bogged down by technical language and lose sight of the main takeaways. Jolina did an excellent job of helping us cut through the superfluous detail and derive the essence of material. This is a skill that I have applied frequently in my graduate program. Jolina also has the wonderful ability to be authentically open to different opinions. I’m most proud of the work I produced in that class, and I credit Jolina with that. American Constitutional Law was also an invaluable experience that I look upon fondly. Todd Lochner demands that you refine your point of view and question your assumptions. Constitutional Law begs so many questions about who we are as a country and what values we hold dear. Being able to break down complex ideas and form my own position has become central to the way I engage with the world. I took several courses with Professor Lochner over the years because I knew I would be challenged in a way that made me smarter and more resilient.

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 studied abroad with the 2018 New Zealand Regional Area Study, with an emphasis on studying biology and ecology. Although these topic areas weren’t directly related to my majors, I viewed this trip as part of the well-rounded nature of a liberal arts education. New Zealand was a place I always dreamed about going to, and I was thrilled by the opportunity to be in a program that allowed me to explore such a unique ecosystem.

Our Kiwi guide and Sea Ice Microbial Physiologist, Andrew Martin, worked so hard to expose me and my classmates to the amazing must-see locations on both the North and South islands. I will never forget swimming in warm waters aglow with bioluminescent algae, flying in a helicopter to a glacier, or watching Prime Minister Jacinda Arden speak about investing in clean energy. I believe this sort of experiential learning is one of the most impactful ways to be exposed to new information. I think back on my time in New Zealand as foundational to my growth, both academically and personally.