Ruth Makonnen

I feel very lucky to have gone to a liberal arts college where I could actually have direct contact with professors and seek guidance from them.

Ruth Makonnen BA '22



Degree and Class Year

BA ’22


Ethiopia; the Netherlands

Current City

Portland, Oregon




Gender Studies


Pio Support Network, International Students of Lewis & Clark (ISLC), Emotions and Social Identity in Psychology (ESIP) Lab, Campus Activity Board (CAB)

Overseas study


Job Title, Organization

Clinical Research Assistant, Oregon Health & Science University

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

Open, Creative, People-oriented

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

Its ideals, how welcoming and supportive it is to international students, and its location.

What have you been doing since graduation?

I have been working at OHSU and living in Portland!

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

LC prepared me for my job both through the classes I had within and outside of the field of psychology as well as through the exposure I had to social studies research in classes and at my lab.

In addition to reading research papers, engaging in discussions about research, and conducting literature reviews, I could actively think about a research model and design during the summer after my junior year with Lewis & Clark’s Rogers Science Program.

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

I learned most of all how to collaborate with peers and be more innovative and resourceful in my thinking.

Why did you major in Psychology?

Human behavior has always been what has interested me most and I knew that’s what I wanted to study. I also knew for sure I wanted to work with people, preferably in a clinical or nonprofit setting, so psychology felt applicable and versatile considering those interests.

Why did you minor in Gender Studies?

I minored in Gender Studies, because I feel that understanding structural, contextual forces is integral to understanding individuals. Therefore, psychology and gender studies seemed like a perfect pairing for me.

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

I’m still living in Portland and some of my friends are still attending Lewis & Clark, so I definitely feel connected! I’ve also come back to campus to attend several events, such as poetry readings and symposium events.

What was your favorite class? Who was your mentor on campus? 

For both these questions, I would say that Kim, Diana, and Jerusha have been incredible teachers and mentors to me and I feel very lucky to have gone to a liberal arts college where I could actually have direct contact with professors and seek guidance from them. Kim’s Gender 200 class and Jerusha’s Clinical Psychology class stick out as some of the best classes I’ve attended at college and I was lucky enough for them to be my minor and major advisors respectively. Additionally, Diana as the mentor for my Rogers Summer Research project was incredibly supportive, resourceful, and engaging.

Psychology Gender Studies