Zach Schonrock

People are often surprised by the combination of my chemistry and music double major, but this is what the liberal arts is all about!

Zach Schonrock BA '18



Degree and Class Year

BA ’18


Salt Lake City, Utah

Current City

Seattle, Washington


Chemistry and Music (double)


Cappella Nova Choir, A Cappella, Admissions Lunch Host, Student Academic Affairs Board (SAAB)


Pharmacy Intern, Fred Hutch Cancer Center

Continuing Studies

Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Candidate, Class of 2025, University of Washington School of Pharmacy

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

Coming from a relatively small high school, I wanted a place that would have a similar small setting as I was worried about being totally overwhelmed by a huge state school. L&C stood out to me because despite it being a small school, it still had lots of great and unique opportunities. Further, everyone I interacted with, from the admissions folks who greeted me to the students and faculty I talked with, clearly loved being a part of the college.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Immediately post-graduation I worked for several years as a senior research assistant at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) studying the biological mechanisms underlying acute leukemias. Since leaving OHSU, I started pharmacy school to get my doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) from University of Washington, and I work as an intern at Fred Hutch Cancer Center. I’m hoping to pursue a career in clinical pharmacy and clinical research, probably in the oncology setting.

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

Take opportunities when they’re available. There are plenty of opportunities I didn’t take because I thought I’d have time later and never was able to (College Outdoors trips!). So, if you have the time and bandwidth, I encourage you to go for it. This is a time to do cool things and try new stuff, so use it!

Why did you major in chemistry and music?

People are often surprised by this combination, but this is what the liberal arts is all  about! I’ve always loved science and knew I would go into science, so chemistry was a natural fit. Music was something I’ve always liked doing, and I knew that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to dive as deep into music to this extent again. Beyond that however, what really sold me on both departments was the tight-knit community and culture of support in each of the departments that made the hard work worth it.

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

I still chat regularly with the friends I made at L&C, and even met a classmate at UW who’s an alum too! Plus, anytime I’m in Portland I’ll reach out to friends and mentors and see who’s around and who wants to get some tea or coffee.

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

One of the most incredible classes I took was Gamelan. L&C has a full Javanese Gamelan in the music department. Every quarter, anyone can join the class and learn to play all the instruments and be exposed to a totally unique opportunity and musical system that is wholly unlike any Western music. Plus, the chance to bang a gong so big you can feel the reverberations for a full 30 seconds is quite an experience!

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

I had pretty much universally fantastic faculty throughout my time at L&C, but there were two in particular who’s support and guidance have stuck with me even to now. Dr. Anne Bentley from chemistry and Dr. Aaron Beck from music were both research advisors for me, but beyond that they both had a remarkable ability to be so supportive of my future goals and endeavors. For one example, Anne supported my research and encouraged me to present it at a national conference, and Aaron helped me create an opportunity to write program notes for the L&C Orchestra and Choirs to support my growth as a writer.

Chemistry Music