Grace Billings

As an RA, getting to create an inclusive and welcoming community where residents feel like they belong has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.

Grace Billings BA '24



Degree and Class Year

BA ’24


Poulsbo, Washington


English With a Concentration in Creative Writing


Women’s Soccer, Resident Advisor

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

Diverse, Community, Rigorous

What’s your favorite class? Why?

Education in a Complex Society with Cari Zall. This class dives into the faults in the public education system, allows you to bring in your own experiences from K–12 education, and expands your thinking about the public education system in the United States as a whole. I loved how after walking away from ED 205, I could see how every student in the class had a distinctly different experience regarding their educational journey, and yet because each of us lived in the same society, each of us shared the same fundamental and complex injustices and issues whether we had known that they were present or not. Cari is also the nicest professor you could ever have. She is understanding, caring, and makes an effort to get to know you, which as a result makes classes more fun and engaging. Especially in a class where we dive into a lot of deep and intense systemic issues, Cari handles these discussions purposefully and intentionally, and makes sure that discussions aren’t just focused on the problems, but also on potential solutions.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

The two largest factors that played a part in my decision to attend Lewis & Clark were my ability to continue to play soccer at a collegiate level and the Teacher Pathways Program! As a future elementary school teacher, I wanted to find a school that would help me learn the most equitable and caring ways to become a teacher. Although the College of Arts and Sciences only has a few education classes and most of what I will learn about teaching will take place at L&C’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling, the classes that I can take have been so eye-opening and wonderful!

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

The English major at L&C has the option for students to include a creative writing concentration such as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry! The classes that make up the concentration already go toward fulfilling your major, and you have the opportunity to have it listed on your diploma at graduation. Any student can take these creative writing classes, but having a concentration included on your diploma is exclusively for English majors.

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

My support systems on campus are made up of a bunch of friends from the soccer team, people I have met in classes, and people from other groups I am a part of on campus. As a resident advisor, I love getting to know everyone in my building and the surrounding area and getting to build strong relationships with them as the year goes on. As a member of the women’s soccer team, I love having a group of people I can rely on to support me when I need it, and for me to support when they need it. Although they aren’t at Lewis & Clark, my family is also one of my biggest support systems, and I make sure to call them as often as I can.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Something I wish I was told before getting to college was that making friends is much harder than it may look. Take every opportunity you can to get out and meet new people at the start of the year, and don’t be afraid to be a friendship third wheel! Invite yourself to join in with others and try not to let going alone hold you back from going in the first place! Making long-term friendships like what you had in high school will take years to build, so be patient with yourself and remember that even though it may look like everyone has already formed their circle of besties within a few days, they are still trying to figure it out just as much as you! Be patient, trust in yourself, and just be you!

Which residence halls have you lived in? How would you describe the hall’s personality? What is/was the best thing about living on campus?

I have lived in Copeland and Spruce (one of the Forest halls) while living on campus. I would describe Copeland as a bunch of smaller halls simply connected by the building’s structure. In Copeland, you can build tight bonds with those that live on the same floor as you, and if you make the most of the programming put on by your resident advisor (RA) and residential experience manager (REM), you can meet others who live in other wings of the building that you might not have had a chance to meet in passing. I would describe Spruce as a place where you can easily get to know your hallmates and neighbors, especially if you make use of the common areas and common spaces on each floor. While I have been there, Spruce has been a hub of energy where friends get together to play games and do homework. This of course is dependent on the year, who is living there, and who wants to make the most of these locations. All residence halls have common areas or lounges for residents to use so my advice is to make the most of them! I would say the best part of living on campus is having the opportunity to meet new people and having easy access to everything around you. Getting together with friends even if they live in another building is just a short walk away and so is everything else on campus! Having everything close together makes getting places quick and easy.

What’s one of the best spots on campus?

One of my favorite spots on campus is the library! Watzek is a great place to get work done because each section is labeled with the expected noise level for that area. If you need complete silence to get work done, need a place where you can talk for group study, or just want a generally hushed area, you can find a spot in the library that will help you work how you work best!

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced at Lewis & Clark?

My first year, I tore my ACL in a soccer match and had to spend the next year working to strengthen my leg again all while keeping up with my studies. The cobblestones, especially when slippery from the rain, were difficult to manage with crutches and I found myself needing to rely on others to complete basic tasks. Having to struggle through a period of time when I faced the inaccessibility of the campus provided me with a completely different outlook of L&C. Now that I am fully recovered from my injury I make sure to never take for granted the able body that I have. When I look back on that time I remember how my positive mindset was what kept me going, what kept me in class, what kept me doing my homework, and what kept me doing my physical therapy every day. Tearing my ACL was one of the biggest challenges I had to face while here at Lewis & Clark, but now I am forever grateful for the perspective I gained while struggling with immobility because it has helped me bring some of the accessibility issues of the campus to light and hopefully will help us make necessary changes!

What’s one of your best Lewis & Clark memories so far?

Once springtime rolls around, sunshine in Portland isn’t always common. One of my best memories so far has been pulling out a blanket and finding a grassy sunny spot on campus with friends where we can sit in the sun and get work done at the same time!

What do you love about being a resident advisor?

I absolutely love being an RA at Lewis & Clark because it has given me the chance to create a space for first-year students to find friends, find community, and find spaces that bring them joy when they are not in class. I love being a figure of support within my residential community, and being the familiar face that residents can come to with any questions or concerns at any time of the year. This past year I had such a wonderful time as an RA because I was leading a tight-knit community of individuals that used the residents’ halls as a place to connect, get to know, and become friends with one another. Being able to plan engagement opportunities and events for residents to come to, to meet new people at, and to hang out with friends from all over campus was definitely one of my favorite highlights because I got to tailor the events to what my residents showed interest in and enjoyed doing. Being an RA has its tricky moments, but getting to create an inclusive and welcoming community where residents feel like they belong has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.

Why do you love playing soccer at L&C? How do you balance athletics and academics?

I love playing soccer at L&C because it provides me with a tight-knit community that will always be there to support me and encourage me on the field, in the classroom, and in everything I do. To me, balancing athletics and academics at a collegiate level is represented in the phrase “student-athlete.” Here at L&C we are all students first. We prioritize our academics and having teammates who are of a similar mindset is super helpful on the days when getting homework or studying done can be a little tricky. I enjoy sitting next to teammates or friends to get work done, and I always make sure to plan time into my day for homework and studying. I use soccer as an outlet to get outside, exercise, be with friends, and take a break from school work. Balancing soccer with academics can be tricky because of the amount of time I have to dedicate to my sport, but the people I have on my team who are there to support me will always make it worthwhile!