Polly Ren

My advice to incoming students is to be brave and try new things, and your advisor is super useful.

Polly Ren BA '25



Degree and Class Year

BA ’25


Shanghai, China


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology





Overseas study


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

Inclusive, Pioneer, Diversity

What’s your favorite class? Why?

Organic chemistry with Professor Louis Kuo. This is a required class for the biochemistry and molecular biology major, but also a hard class because it requires learning many new words, a lot of 3D imagination (stereochemistry), and knowledge about different chemicals in structure, physical properties, and reactivities. There was a time when I felt I knew nothing, so I went to Dr. Kuo’s office hours and asked him some really basic questions. He always patiently explained every detail to me and gave me examples to practice to make sure I fully understood the concepts.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I like to attend a small school so that I can use all of my energy studying, not socializing. Also, the small classes can let me communicate with my professors easily. I enjoy this beautiful campus and the pine tree forest surrounding it.

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

BCMB is a major that involves many experiments, which I love. It can let me release my imagination to set up a hypothesis and use my knowledge and effort to solve any difficulties I face.

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

I am the copresident of the Chinese Club. My Chinese friends and I will meet once every two weeks and decide on activities for students to join and enjoy. I also have many good friends who are in the same major as me, so we can go to class and study at the library together.

If you went on a New Student Trip with College Outdoors, how did it shape your experience as an incoming student?

I didn’t go on any New Student Trips because of the pandemic situation. But I also didn’t think I would enjoy the trip. I am an international student, so I am not super familiar with U.S. pop culture. I wasn’t sure if there would be other Chinese students on the trip and we would become good friends or if I would just finish the trip lonely.

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

After I declared my major, I went to talk to my advisor and found the Berlin program that matched my studies. I think the biggest benefit of joining an overseas program is to experience a different culture, and then compare and absorb the goods.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

  1. Be brave and try new things. You will always find someone who shares the same thoughts with you in college.
  2. Your advisor is super useful. You can also go to the College Advising Center for help. They can help you figure out what classes you should take each semester.

Did you visit campus before you applied?

Yes, I did visit the campus before I decided to study here. I think visiting the campus you are interested in is necessary because you will only know if you fit in this environment or not when you actually are in this atmosphere. I did a lot of research about Lewis & Clark College before I visited. That did help some, but all of the descriptions are written in the writer’s perspective, which is subjective. I truly suggest all students who are interested in L&C visit this campus before they come.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology