Ana Sundvall

Lewis & Clark provided the guidance, context, and avenues that allowed me to explore and direct my passions into action.

Ana Sundvall BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21


Boulder, Colorado

Current City

Washington, D.C.


Classics and International Affairs (double)


College Outdoors (leader and whitewater rafting instructor), Paddle Club leader, Admissions Ambassador Tour Guide, SAAB Board Department Representative for Classics

Overseas study

Greece, fall 2019

Job Title, Organization

Program Development Assistant, Indo-Pacific Programs—Young Pacific Leaders @ Cultural Vistas

Continuing Studies

A graduate-level course at Pacific University in education during my time with AmeriCorps

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

Beautiful, Leadership, Conversational

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I chose L&C because I was looking for a small liberal arts college with great study abroad and academic programs. I appreciated that L&C is in a place with easy access to the outdoors and a vibrant city, while also feeling like it held its own space. I also loved the flexibility of course selections. I was able to double major, pursue extracurriculars, and study abroad. The first time I visited the campus, it felt like the place I wanted to grow in for the next four years.

What have you been doing since graduation?

After graduating in May 2021, I challenged myself and explored what life could offer me as a new graduate. I continued to live in Portland until spring 2023 and recently moved to Washington, D.C. During my time at Lewis & Clark, I found strength through outdoor opportunities, love and admiration for Classics, and a drive for international development and cross-cultural work. I am grateful that I was able to extend those passions that were developed over my time at L&C to post-grad careers and opportunities. Over the summers I worked as a seasonal outdoor educator and cross-cultural leader with ARCC programs where I’ve led outdoor student trips throughout the Western United States and Costa Rica. I have returned to Lewis & Clark College for seasonal roles as the Fir Acres Writing Workshop resident director for the 2022 and 2023 program years, as well as logistical and administrative support for College Outdoors’ New Students Trips. I spent an academic year as an AmeriCorps member and math educator serving Century High School in Hillsboro. I carried my love and passion for the Classics the following year when I worked for College Year in Athens, the program I studied abroad with at L&C. I currently work for Cultural Vistas, based in Washington, D.C. I am the program development assistant for the Indo-Pacific team and primarily focus my work on Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) programs. These programs are in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and focus on strengthening U.S. relations in the region and supporting passionate people of the Pacific Islands, Australia, and New Zealand in developing their professional skills and projects.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

Lewis & Clark provided the guidance, context, and avenues that allowed me to explore and direct my passions into action. My studies in both international affairs and Classics were instrumental in finding an organization like Cultural Vistas. While these academic studies don’t seem too connected on the surface, my academics gave the backdrop for working at College Year in Athens, which then guided me to Cultural Vistas. My work with College Outdoors gave me the confidence and leadership skills that I use and build on every day. I would not be who I am without my undergraduate experiences at Lewis & Clark.

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

I learned how to rely on myself and when to look to others for support in achieving our shared goals. The collaborative liberal arts approach gave me the flexibility and team ethic that has helped in every factor of my life.

Why did you major in international affairs and Classics?

My interest in international affairs stems from my childhood in Peace Corps, living in the Indo-Pacific region. Growing up abroad ignited a love for travel, and my father’s career made me interested in international development. I chose to take an academic approach to my innate curiosity to find more understanding in the world and to harness my humanitarian wishes into action. My path to majoring in Classics was less directed and I am so thankful it happened the way it did. I started with general interest but had no background in Classics—I hadn’t even read or watched Percy Jackson. However, I loved languages and knew that Latin is the seed of romance languages. I found Associate Professor Gordon Kelly, the Latin professor, and made some inquiries. He gave me access, and before I knew it I was taking almost all the Classics courses, reading Virgil’s Aeneid in Latin, and studying abroad in Greece.

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

I have continued seasonal employment at Lewis & Clark with College Outdoors and the Fir Acres Writing Workshop. L&C has given me so much, so coming back for program work has been one way I give back. Also, my best friend Haley Rovner BA ’23, is moving to D.C. with me after just graduating from L&C this past May, so the college has never been too far away.

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

My favorite class was Professor Elizabeth Bennett’s International Political Economy. Dr. Bennett is a fantastic professor capable of seeing student potential and artfully guiding her students toward success. I never felt like I had a mind for politics or economics, but through her class, I found a deeper understanding and relations to the humanities. I was able to build on the knowledge and focused lens from her class in my international affairs thesis on Microfinance and Poverty Rates in Guatemala. This IA thesis won the Political Economy Best Paper Prize of 2021.

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

I have two mentors on campus. The first is Gordon Kelly, a professor in the Classics department. I turned to Gordon as a first-year student, so unsure and uncommitted. He took the time to support me in my independent pursuit of knowledge, which evolved into taking classes and culminated in a major. He showed me support regardless of my academic confidence or merit in the discipline. He supported me while I indecently learned Latin before I was ready to commit to taking a Latin course. In every course I took with him, he happily carried on the academic discussions during office hours or additional learning opportunities.

My second mentor is Thom Lehman, who was the assistant director and warehouse manager for College Outdoors. He supported and guided me in my pursuits of becoming a whitewater raft guide and outdoor educator. He provided countless opportunities for my personal and professional growth.

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?

The Greece study abroad program fit perfectly with my academic goals and personal curiosities. The Athens and Lesvos program was focused on Classics courses, and I even finished my major abroad. I was also able to take an international affairs-focused course for my second major, and an art class for the general education requirement. Apart from satisfying academic needs, studying abroad was a fantastic opportunity to make history come alive, eat fantastic food, and travel Europe. I met my college best friends abroad, which make it even more special. Studying abroad was the highlight of my college experience.

Classics International Affairs