My time at Lewis & Clark taught me to be an interdisciplinary thinker, which has led me to thrive in such a wide variety of work opportunities.
Degree and Class Year
Job Title, Organization
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I was drawn to Lewis & Clark because of the outstanding study abroad options they offered and the unique approach to the environmental studies program.
What have you been doing since graduation?
Since I graduated in 2018, I have jumped around quite a bit. Right after graduation I moved to Alicante, Spain, for a year where I worked as an English language teaching assistant in a small rural school. I was introduced to this program by a staff member from Lewis & Clark’s Overseas and Off Campus programs office who had previously done the program. That experience really sparked my interest in working in education. When I returned to Minnesota, I worked for a STEM program for high school girls called Girls Inc. Eureka! as program counselor and internship coordinator. After a few rewarding years of doing that, I shifted gears and accepted a one year contract as a research associate for a small museum in northern Minnesota where I assisted in doing research for an exhibit about the Anishinaabe people in the area and their history living in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. After my contract ended, I decided to move to the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota full time and I am now working as a manager of a canoe outfitter and helping educate and prepare people to go on wilderness trips. This job has combined my passions for education, environmental studies, history, and outdoor recreation! I have been here for just over a year now.
How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for post-college life?
My time at Lewis & Clark taught me to be an interdisciplinary thinker, which has led me to thrive in such a wide variety of work opportunities. As an environmental studies major I took classes in hydrology, indigenous history, sociology, Spanish, environmental economics, and more. Each of these disciplines has proven to set me apart from other candidates and employees in my work. The ability to speak conversationally in Spanish allowed me to connect with my students’ families both in Spain and in my work at Girls Inc. Having an understanding of how to approach research from environmental, sociological, and historical lenses helped me to take a unique approach to my job in museum research. Writing my thesis on mining has helped me to understand the environmental threats to the BWCAW where I live and work now. I don’t know if I would have walked away with such a diverse academic background if I had chosen a larger college or university.
What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?
I think the most important thing I learned at Lewis & Clark was how to be a critical thinker. Professors at Lewis & Clark are known for pushing their students to explore new perspectives and seek to understand them. I really tested my ability to use this skill when I was doing my independent research in Zaruma, Ecuador. I challenged myself to speak to as many stakeholders in the mining industry as possible and approach each of my interviewees with empathy. This allowed me to really see why mining in Ecuador was such a polarizing topic, and encouraged me to explore the issue more deeply in my thesis. The ability to understand multiple perspectives, even when you disagree with them, has proven to be really valuable in my career so far.
Why did you major in Environmental Studies?
I originally wanted to major in environmental studies because I loved the outdoors and cared about the environment. That being said, I quickly learned that there was so much more to the discipline than what I thought, and all of the ideas I had coming into Lewis & Clark were challenged. That ability to shift my perspective made me stick with the major, and I am so glad that I did!
How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?
I feel really grateful to have stayed connected with some of my classmates and professors after graduating despite moving away, and I hope to come back to campus soon and visit some of those people! Lewis & Clark is unique because its small class sizes allow you to create close connections with professors and peers.
What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge?
That is a tough question, but one of my favorites was definitely Global Environmental History with Andrew Bernstein. The course was so broad but I still find myself thinking about some of the incredible texts we read in that class and it has just really stuck with me after graduating!
Where did you find your community on campus?
I found community through College Outdoors, the environmental studies program, studying abroad, and through just living on campus and meeting people that way!
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 study abroad in Ecuador because of the immersiveness of the Spanish program and the unique biology courses. Studying abroad was easily the highlight of my experience at Lewis & Clark. Living with an incredible and welcoming host family, doing biology research in the Amazon, and volunteering at a Biopark and zoo were such fulfilling and unique experiences. I made lifelong connections that influenced the direction I went after graduating. I also was a Dinah Dodds Grant recipient and was able to receive funding to spend an additional month in Ecuador after my program ended to do research on mining in Zaruma, Ecuador for my senior thesis.