Terin Trachtenberg

Lewis & Clark fosters an environment that really encourages making use of all resources and helping hands offered to you.

Terin Trachtenberg BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21


Lincoln City, Oregon

Current City

Lincoln City, Oregon


Computer Science


Queer Student Union organizer

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

Idyllic, Friendly, Supportive

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

Way back in high school, I visited Lewis & Clark and found myself enamored with the gorgeous campus and impressed with the friendliness of the people there. Upon high school graduation, I tried going to another school, but I ended up struggling greatly there, and had to withdraw for my own mental health. Once I felt ready for a four-year school again, I realized that the supportive, friendly environment I felt at L&C was exactly the kind of atmosphere I needed to be able to succeed at college—and I was right!

What have you been doing since graduation?

So far, I’m hunting for a job! I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do with my career by the time graduation rolled around, so in between general job hunting I took some time to enjoy a well-earned break after all the hard work of my last few college terms. It’s taken me a while to focus in on a course of action, but I now know that I’d like to find an entry-level position in the video game development industry and build a livelihood from there. I’ve got a couple of promising applications in the pipeline as we speak, so wish me luck!

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

While I haven’t found a job in the field quite yet, the computer science program at Lewis & Clark really helped me to learn how to be a team player, and I think that experience will be invaluable in whatever my first job ends up being. Beyond just learning about how to write code, I also learned how to talk about it to others, how to accept guidance and criticism from peers, and how to recognize when I should step back and let a more experienced colleague take the wheel.

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

I think the most important thing I learned—and something I’d struggled with at my previous college and in high school—is that it’s always a smart idea to ask for help if you need it. At all times at L&C, I was aware and appreciative of the fact that I had a large support network in place, whether said support came from my fellow computer science students always willing to work in tandem, my personable and helpful professors whose office hours were a godsend, or the Career Center, which got me through a moment of panic about my future late into senior year. Lewis & Clark fosters an environment that really encourages making use of all resources and helping hands offered to you, and it helped me truly internalize that there’s nothing wrong, and everything right, with asking for assistance if you know something’s going to be too much on your own.

Why did you major in computer science?

Thoughts of dabbling in computer science and programming had crossed my mind here and there before arriving at Lewis & Clark, but I actually didn’t feel ready to declare a major when I first arrived, so I put down English as a tentative path and waited to see where my first L&C term would take me. While the English course I took that term was excellent, I also tried an introductory computer science course, and as cliche as it sounds, everything just kind of clicked. I appreciated the hands-on approach to learning, I felt comfortable around my fellow classmates, and I had an eagerness to learn more. I swapped my major to computer science and never looked back!

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

Email communication from the alumni network is always nice to receive—I enjoy reading over it and finding out what fellow alumni are up to on and off campus, and it reminds me that even if I’m still searching for my exact career path, I’m a part of something bigger than myself and there’s plenty of support and connections out there for me as an alum.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

To me, the liberal arts are about understanding that empathy and expertise both have important roles in our personal lives and career paths. Deep knowledge about one subject is a very good thing, but it’s made even better when you have a much broader knowledge base from which you can draw connections, find common ground, understand how other people may feel differently, and seek answers to the more complex questions. I also strongly believe the liberal arts are, at their core, about recognizing and celebrating diversity.

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

I always had a smile on my face going into my Japanese courses! I love that, over the many courses I took in the Japanese program, both Kurogi-sensei and Satomi-sensei included plenty of relevant cultural information along with the vocabulary and grammar we were learning. A little bit of folklore here, a little bit of modern Japanese food culture there—we were always learning on multiple fronts, and each class felt like a long, pleasant conversation. No matter how hectic my days were, I was always happy to attend Japanese class.

Where did you find your community on campus?

I found community within the computer science program as well as with my fellow Queer Student Union organizers—both important social spaces to me that helped me get through a lot of my tougher days at Lewis & Clark. Even as a pretty shy person, I found it easy to bond with many of the people I met in my computer science courses! My software development and algorithms courses especially put me into small groups with classmates who would rapidly become friends I felt lucky to see each day (seriously, if any of you are reading this, don’t be afraid to get in touch!!). And I really can’t overstate how important the Queer Student Union was to making me feel comfortable and welcome on campus. Getting together with fellow queer L&C students each week and planning activities together meant so much to me, and did wonders for my sense of community.

Computer Science