I would say the most important thing I learned at L&C is to be open and flexible: to new opportunities, to new disciplines, and to new interests.
Degree and Class Year
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I initially applied and committed to Lewis & Clark for their international affairs program. I also knew that I wanted to go to a small school where I would have the opportunity to get to know my professors.
What have you been doing since graduation?
I applied to graduate school during my senior year at L&C, and the next year started a PhD program in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech where I study the effect of light-matter interactions on the quantum state of photons. Along the way I’ve also earned a master’s degree in physics and spent a summer as a research intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Outside of school, I am a rock climber and involved in the paraclimbing community in the Southeast.
How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your PhD program?
Being at L&C taught me to be a self-advocate and to create opportunities for myself, which are both invaluable skills as a PhD student.
What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?
I would say the most important thing I learned at L&C is to be open and flexible: to new opportunities, to new disciplines, to new interests, etc. It is highly unlikely that there is a single path that will make you happy and fulfilled, and college is the time to figure out what paths are out there.
Why did you double major in chemistry and economics?
I started at L&C very confident that I would major in international affairs. I very quickly decided that I would double major in IA and chemistry because I found I really enjoyed organic chemistry and I wanted to keep taking more chemistry classes. In the spring of first year, I took Intro to Economics as a requirement for my IA major and was shocked both by how much I enjoyed it and how much it made sense to me. I had always considered economics to be an extremely difficult and abstract subject that I would have no hope of understanding. Ultimately, I switched to double majoring in chemistry and economics because I wanted to keep taking classes and learning more in both of those disciplines.
Why did you minor in mathematics?
I got a minor in mathematics because I found math to be the common thread that tied together my chemistry and economics majors.
How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?
I stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum by staying in contact with both my L&C friends and professors through email, phone calls, and letters.
What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge?
My favorite class was Partial Differential Equations taught by Associate Professor Paul Allen. As a student in that class, I felt for the first time that I truly understood the mathematics underlying the phenomena I was studying in quantum chemistry. The class definitely challenged me, but I also had enough support that I could rise to the challenge. Ultimately, the mathematical tools and understanding I gained in that class prepared me well for my graduate studies in both chemistry and physics.