Hannah Ronningen

Lewis & Clark’s small campus has a uniquely homey feel that made me feel like I belonged there.

Hannah Ronningen BA '20



Degree and Class Year

BA ’20


San Diego, California

Current City

Portland, Oregon


Art History


Religious Studies


Curator of Gender Studies Symposium Art Show 2020

Overseas study

Siena, Italy

Job Title, Organization

Educational Assistant with Portland Public Schools

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

Cozy, Green, Inclusive

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

From the very first time that I visited, I knew that I wanted to attend Lewis & Clark College. I was blown away by how beautiful the campus was, and everyone I met seemed so welcoming and kind. Lewis & Clark’s small campus has a uniquely homey feel that made me feel like I belonged there.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Since graduation, I have been exploring my passion for art and education. I am currently working as an educational assistant at Kellogg Middle School in Portland, Oregon. In my free time, I have been continuing to develop my art practice in drawing and painting. This summer, I am so excited to be traveling to Europe for the first time since my study abroad program in 2019!

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

My time at Lewis & Clark prepared me to engage with the world critically and with an open mind. Discussion and discourse was a huge part of my coursework at Lewis & Clark, and that really challenged me to consider perspectives other than my own and to advocate for my own beliefs.

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

The most important thing I learned during my time at Lewis & Clark was that prioritizing my mental health is a necessity. I learned that in order to be a successful student/employee/human being, I need to listen to my body and give it what it needs. While at Lewis & Clark, I took a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course that taught me how to better connect with myself, deal with stress, and live in the present moment. These skills have been absolutely crucial in helping me to now be the best version of myself.

Why did you major in art history?

I came to Lewis & Clark knowing that I wanted to major in art history. The art history department at L&C is small, but populated with some of the most inspiring and knowledgeable professors I have ever had. Studying art history is a great opportunity to discover new things while learning about art, culture, history, and theory.

Why did you minor in religious studies?

I am a naturally curious person. Growing up in a Catholic household, my view of religion was narrowly confined to what I learned from Sunday services and confirmation classes. Once at Lewis & Clark, I was excited to explore different global religions and broaden my horizons beyond my own worldview. I am so glad that I minored in religious studies because it allowed me the opportunity to learn about different spiritual perspectives from some really incredible professors.

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

Say what you will about social media, but it has been an excellent way to stay connected to Lewis & Clark and my fellow alumni! Though some of the best friends I made during my time at L&C no longer live in the area, I am still able to keep in touch through Instagram and Facebook (yes, I still use Facebook!).

What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge?

My favorite class that I took while at Lewis & Clark was Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture with Associate Professor Ben David. Taking this class solidified my decision to study abroad in Italy! Italian Renaissance Art is Ben David’s specialty, and through this class he fosters such an inquisitive and welcoming learning community.

Who was your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor?

Although I would consider all three members of the art history department to be my mentors, I was especially driven to succeed by Associate Professor Dawn Odell. She is truly one of the most brilliant people that I’ve ever met. She challenged me to develop my skills as a writer and art historian, and pushed me to be a better student and community member. Beyond helping me succeed academically, Dawn supported me through tough times and became a trusted advisor and advocate during my time at L&C.

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?

As an art history major, I felt like I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see all of Italy’s fabulous art and architecture in the flesh. The Italy study abroad program is based in Siena, a gorgeous Tuscan city with medieval architecture and a rich cultural history. During this time, I was able to immerse myself in Italian culture and cuisine, and participate in service projects that brought me closer to the Sienese community. I look back on my overseas experience as one of the most valuable parts of my Lewis & Clark experience. If you are considering studying abroad, I would without a doubt tell you to do it!

Art History Religious Studies