Although I was a biology major, I felt drawn to advocacy work. I remember my mentor Professor Paulette Bierzychudek encouraging me to think how a science background could be a useful and unique skillset for law (and it turns out she was right!).
Degree and Class Year
Job Title, Organization
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school, and L&C felt like the right fit when I visited. I was drawn to the liberal and environmentally aware student body, robust study abroad offerings, the College Outdoors program, living in Portland, and, of course, the beautiful campus.
What was it like to take a law school class as an undergraduate student? What was the title of the class and who was the professor?
I took an Environmental Law and Policy class taught by Marla Fox (who was, at the time, a staff attorney at the Northwest Environmental Defense Center). The class was taught on the undergraduate campus and was designed for undergrads. I really enjoyed the class because it was a great introduction to the legal and policy side of environmental work. Additionally, local practitioners guest lectured throughout the semester, which was a great window into what working in the field would be like.
How did you become interested in going to law school, and why was continuing at Lewis & Clark appealing?
I became interested in going to law school through that undergrad class! Although I was a biology major, I felt drawn to advocacy work. I remember my mentor Professor Paulette Bierzychudek encouraging me to think how a science background could be a useful and unique skillset for law (it turns out she was right!). I decided to continue on at Lewis & Clark Law in particular because of its reputation as one of the best environmental law programs in the country, and because I already had a strong connection to the Portland community.
How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for law school?
The liberal arts education I received at L&C prepared me tremendously for law school. Although I did not take any of the traditional pre-law curriculum, I found that the critical thinking and writing skills I developed during my undergrad studies really set me up for success in law school. Additionally, my experience doing an honors undergrad thesis in biology and subsequently working to publish that research was an incredibly impactful experience and helped me develop skills I use in my job today. Overall, I think going to a small school allowed me to get a lot of feedback on my critical thinking, research, and writing skills, which is not always possible at larger schools.
What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?
To be curious, critical, and a good human being.
How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?
I go back to L&C annually to guest lecture at the very Environmental Law and Policy class I took as an undergrad, which is always a joy. I also keep in touch with my greatest undergrad mentor, Dr. Bierzychudek.
Where did you find your community on campus?
I found my community through my first-year residence hall, College Outdoors, and Climbing Club. Climbing Club in particular was a huge source of my college community. We would spend weeknights at the gym together and go on organized trips together on weekends and school breaks. I am now even married to the former L&C Climbing Club president :)!
Who was your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?
My mentor was Dr. Paulette Bierzychudek. She became my mentor once I declared as a biology major and was incredibly impactful on me as a student and human. She helped me find my study abroad program in Costa Rica, I worked as a research assistant for her during one summer, I took her upper-level ecology courses, and she was my thesis advisor. She provided me with immense guidance and encouragement during the entire thesis process, and after I graduated, we worked together to coauthor a paper on my thesis research that was published in a peer-reviewed journal. She also helped me get a job as a research assistant at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory after graduation, which was one of my best life experiences to date. I consider myself very lucky to have gotten to know and work with Dr. Bierzychudek!