Rylie Neely

I was initially drawn to the small class sizes and the opportunity to form deep and meaningful relationships with peers, professors, and the greater LC community.

Rylie Neely BA '20



Degree and Class Year

BA ’20

Current City

Bozeman, Montana


Environmental Studies


SAAB tutor, Intramural Coordinator and participant, ENVS symposiums, Dance X, Festival of Scholars, Garden Club

Overseas study

Budapest, Hungary (CIEE)

Job Title, Organization

Currently doing seasonal work in Bozeman, MT including ski instructor and organic farming.

Continuing Studies

I begin a program this fall through Ghent University of Belgium to pursue a Master’s in Marine Biology and Resources.

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

 Exciting, Challenging, Community.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I was initially drawn to the small class sizes and the opportunity to form deep and meaningful relationships with peers, professors, and the greater LC community. I was also very drawn to the natural beauty and rainforest ecosystems surrounding the campus. When I toured campus, I loved seeing people out spending time with one another and felt there was a close knittedness I hadn’t seen on other campuses.

What have you been doing since graduation?

I graduated in 2020 right when COVID hit, and moved with a few LC friends to Bozeman, Montana, where we took up seasonal jobs and skied every day. I spent the last two years as a ski instructor in the winters and an organic farmer and farmer’s market manager in the summers. My love for the outdoors certainly carried over from my time at LC into post-grad life.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for post-college life?

At LC you are held very accountable for your learning, and the small class sizes and dedication of the professors create such a conducive learning environment. I felt challenged by the curriculum while also supported by my peers and professors, and as a result, I believe I developed a strong work ethic and an ability to ask for help when I needed it. As a liberal arts college we were also taught the importance of a multi-disciplinary education, and how approaching problems from different lenses can be extremely helpful and productive. All of these skills and lessons have translated to jobs and my life after LC.

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

Probably how to be a contributive participant in a community. You have to speak up if you disagree with something, raise your hand, and ask if you don’t understand something, contribute your time, your resources, and your ideas for us to become a greater community.

Why did you major in Environmental Studies?

Since high school I had a strong interest in matters of sustainability, environmental science, and geology. I was able to take many classes I found interesting through this major in chemistry, geology, oceanography, climate science, etc. which was my intention in picking ENVS.

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

Mostly through the friends I made at LC and the community I built there. Many of my dearest and closest friends today are my friends from LC, and we have stayed very connected across different states, countries, and continents.

What was your favorite class?

How did it expand your knowledge? I loved Professor Jessica Kleiss’s Climate Science class and Professor Liz Safran’s Hydrology class! I learned so much and would have taken them twice if I could have!

Where did you find your community on campus?

Intramural sports was a big one, friends who were in college outdoors, and just by meeting people as much as possible and building on those relationships.

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 chose to participate in a program outside of the ones offered at LC, because I was very set on studying in Budapest, Hungary. I chose the program with CIEE which LC accepts and transferred my credits through, and I loved living and studying abroad there. I think I brought back the excitement I had from meeting new people and challenging myself in a new space. I came back refreshed and ready to form new friendships as well as build on my old ones.