Etta Moen

I came to Lewis & Clark because I liked the small school feel while having a large city be super accessible. It was one of the few schools I visited where I felt comfortable as soon as I stepped on campus.

Etta Moen BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21

Current City

East Orange, New Jersey


International Affairs and Hispanic Studies


Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Track & Field, Editorial Board of the Meridian Journal of International and Cross Cultural Perspectives

Overseas study

Alicante, Spain Spring 2020


Donation and Program Services Intern at Blanchet House of Hospitality

Continuing Studies

currently pursuing Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University

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

Empowering, Community, Passion

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I came to Lewis & Clark because I liked the small school feel while having a large city be super accessible. It was one of the few schools I visited where I felt comfortable as soon as I stepped on campus. Coming into college I had no idea what I wanted to study and with the liberal arts structure I was able to explore different areas of study without feeling pressure to immediately choose a major.

What have you been doing since graduation?

I spent the summer after I graduated working as a senior counselor at a youth arts program called Young Musicians and Artists. Two weeks before I returned to Portland I sent my two-weeks notice to my other job selling shoes at a local run shop. I started looking for opportunities in the nonprofit sector and found an internship with Blanchet House of Hospitality, which serves the houseless community in Downtown Portland. In addition to the internship, I was also a volunteer assistant coach for the cross country and track and field teams at LC. I spent the year between completing my undergraduate degree and starting my graduate program living in Portland with my best friends from LC, Skylar Golleher BA ’21, Emily Tash BA ’21, and Chloe Safar BA ’21. After my internship I spent one more summer with Young Musicians and Artists and then moved to the East Coast to start my graduate program at Seton Hall.

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

I think LC really prepared me for grad school. The level of work that professors expect from you here is not that different from the level at a graduate level. Yes, there is definitely more reading to do for classes and longer papers to write in grad school, but I felt prepared because of the skills I learned from the professors at LC. I was also able to be successful in my internship because of research and organizational skills I developed at LC.

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

It’s hard to choose just one thing because I feel like I learned so much about myself and grew so much as a person along with learning a lot in the classroom. I think if I had to choose I would say learning how to prioritize what is important to me and how to better manage stress.

Why did you major in International Affairs and Hispanic Studies?

When I was a first year I decided I would major in something new probably once a week. Coming in I knew I enjoyed my classes in History and Spanish. After exploring many different options I settled on International Affairs because I liked how it mixed history with current events and how it showed that world events are similar to a puzzle that studying international affairs can give you the tools to solve. I chose to major in Hispanic Studies because I really enjoyed the classes I was taking and wanted to continue taking them.

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

Right after I graduated I stayed connected by helping coach the cross country and track teams but now that I live on the East Coast it is really about maintaining the connections I made while at LC. I remain connected to LC by the people I met there.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

The liberal arts are all about choice and opportunity. They give students the choice in how they want to go through their education and the opportunities to try different things that students may not have chosen to do on their own. Liberal arts create space for students and encourage them to try new things. Because of classes I have taken through the liberal arts structure I am able to have general knowledge in many subject areas that are in no way related to my primary field of study. I think liberal arts are a great way to create an individualized learning program for students.

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

I think it is a tie for me. The first being United States Foreign Policy with Cyrus Partovi. This class is what got me hooked on International Affairs. It forced me to find the important aspects of readings and comprehend a lot of information and be able to communicate my ideas in a simple and clear way. My other favorite was International Political Economy with Dr. Elizabeth Bennett. This class was one of the most challenging classes I have ever taken. The amount of reading and the structure of the class was very similar to my grad level work. I didn’t mind doing all the work, however, because I loved learning about how the smallest action can have a huge impact on the way the world functions.

Where did you find your community on campus?

I found my community in athletics. Having that built in group of friends from cross country as a first year was super helpful. Some of my best friends come from my team. Beyond this, I made a lot of friends through my roommates and other friends from my dorm on campus. I lived in Copeland Hall my first two years and met a lot of athletes from other teams and became friends with their teams too. I also was able to meet other friends of athletes so while my primary community was athletics, it was not limited to athletics.

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

I wouldn’t say I have one singular mentor. I think the person I went to most, especially in my last year, was Elizabeth Bennett. She was my advisor for my thesis and was super helpful in that process. I really think that the International Affairs department does a great job of supporting students and making it easy to access professors directly. All the professors genuinely want to see every individual student succeed and are willing to do whatever they can to help students. It was so special to have that support system behind you when pursuing academics.

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?

As part of the Hispanic studies major, each student is required to study abroad in a language-intensive program. This limited my options for where to go but I ended up choosing to go to Alicante, Spain. I loved my experience abroad. I really enjoyed getting to live in a different part of the world and live with a host family and explore the region on my own and with my friends. While going abroad was required for my Hispanic Studies major, I found that it helped my understanding of parts of my International Affairs study. The experience broadened my perspective and taught me how to assimilate to a different culture which is super helpful in life. I happened to be abroad when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Because of this my time abroad was cut short but did not ruin my experience. I was fortunate enough to get halfway through my program before being sent home. I still have so many positive memories associated with being abroad.