Mikah Bertelmann

Lewis & Clark gave me very practical skills such as quantitative analysis, critical thinking, and concise writing but it also prepared me to always give my best in all I do and to persevere.

Mikah Bertelmann BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21

Current City

Washington D.C.


International Affairs


Political Economy


ASB, New Student Orientation, Student Engagement

Overseas study

Siena, Italy

Job Title, Organization

Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State


US-Taiwan Business Council, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, U.S. Embassy Budapest

Continuing Studies

Master of Public Policy, School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego

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

Collaborative, Empowering, Friends.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

After visiting the campus, I really appreciated the community of people. Everyone was welcoming and made an effort to know me and my interests. I continued to feel supported throughout my time as an L&C student.

What have you been doing since graduation?

I completed my master of public policy degree in June, 2023, and joined the U.S. Foreign Service in July.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for post-college life?

Lewis & Clark gave me very practical skills such as quantitative analysis, critical thinking, and concise writing but it also prepared me to always give my best in all I do and to persevere.

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

The most important thing I learned was time management and organization. I was actively involved on campus and had to manage a lot of different responsibilities – L&C taught me how to do this effectively. This is a skill I used a lot in grad school and will undoubtedly need in my career too.

Why did you major in International Affairs?

The faculty in the IA department are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their students. Their experiences translate to engaging lectures and their care for their students’ success is clear throughout the program.

If applicable, why did you minor in Political Economy?

I wanted to challenge myself academically by taking economics courses and this was a good opportunity for me to do so without taking exclusively econ courses. I also enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the minor, which exposed me to courses in sociology and anthropology too!

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

I am a member of L&C Global Advisory Board and the L&C Young Alumni Council. I’ve helped to plan events for young alumni to return to campus and hope to continue to be involved.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

I describe liberal arts as the opportunity to develop skills such as problem-solving and critical analysis, across a broad range of topics from computer science to art history. A liberal arts education allowed me to become an intellectually curious and well-rounded student and now worker that has a variety of skills and experiences that will allow me to tackle any challenge that may come my way.

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

My favorite course was Social Justice in the Global Economy with Professor Elizabeth Bennett. Professor Bennett introduced to new concepts in social justice each week through real-world literature on various topics. Each class, we came together to talk through the challenges and more importantly, how to overcome them. This course taught me to be critical about some of the world’s most pressing issues while also being hopeful that there can be a solution.

Where did you find your community on campus?

I was very lucky to have several communities on campus that I still keep in contact with today. By being part of the Associated Student Body, I was often in community with like-minded peers that wanted to make the L&C experience better for everyone. I was also very fortunate to have friends outside of ASB from my time at the bookstore and working in student engagement. Despite being jobs, I enjoyed both because of the great people I worked with.

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

I am very fortunate to have several mentors on campus. At the IA department, I relied often on the advice of Professors Elizabeth Bennett and Laura Vinson and Professor Emeritus Cyrus Partovi who were all great mentors. Each of them took the time to provide advice on anything and everything I went to them about from which study abroad program to do to selecting a graduate program that was right for me. I cannot thank them enough for their continued support of all that I do. Outside of the department, Associate VP of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning Rocky Campbell and Director of Student Engagement and Special Events Tamara Ko were and continue to be huge support systems in my life. Thank you to Rocky and Tamara too!

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 studied abroad in Siena, Italy. Having taken Spanish my first year L&C and for several years before that, I thought I would end up on one of the Spain programs, but my advisor, Elizabeth Bennett, encouraged me to consider a program that would challenge me. I knew I wanted to learn a new language and the Siena program allowed us to take a full year of Italian! I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn a new language that isn’t normally taught on-campus and to have gone to such a beautiful country with such a rich history.