Julia Neely

L&C was really a turning-point for me in terms of the way I engage with those and the world around me.

Julia Neely BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’21


Birmingham, Alabama

Current City

Yatsushiro City, Japan


Religious Studies


Asian Studies

Job Title, Organization

Assistant Language Teacher, Yatsushiro City Board of Education

Continuing Studies

Prospective Law

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

Intimate, Familiar, Gorgeous

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

Intimate, familiar, and of course gorgeous!

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I toured the campus on a whim after looking at other schools in the area. I realized that unlike the other schools I had visited, this school did not overwhelm me or make me feel anxious about the upcoming year. It was small, the beautiful campus seemed not only manageable, but it was very peaceful and calming. Everyone I met seemed happy to be there, and the staff was friendly and professional without taking themselves too seriously (many such cases elsewhere.)

What have you been doing since graduation?

I moved to Japan to teach English while I work on studying and writing up applications for law school.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

Many former L&C students have done the same program as me, and L&C actually hosted a practice interview for each applicant in 2021, when I applied to my job. life

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

I met some of my best friends at L&C and learned how to coexist and grow up with someone. I spent most of my time at L&C with two of my favorite people—one whom I met through being roommates, and one in my department. We are still friends and communicate regularly despite being on opposite sides of the globe. I became significantly more social in college, and shed a lot of (what I imagine is typical) teenage anxiety about making friends and interacting with others. L&C was really a turning-point for me in terms of the way I engage with those and the world around me.

Why did you major in religious studies?

I believe I entered college in the biology department. I was terribly lazy and ignorant in regards to how WebAdvisor and college registration worked, so I failed to register until the very last moment. I registered for the necessary science classes, and then looked over the available elective courses that remained. Professor Robert Kugler’s Apocalyptic Imagination course immediately caught my eye. I had a particularly difficult time focusing and engaging with classwork and lectures in high school, but this class was extremely engaging. I had never had the chance to study something like that before, and it revealed to me the breadth of available knowledge in the world that I had never bothered to look into before. Professor Kugler advised me in my transition into the religious studies department and for the next three years, and he was my most helpful and trusted resource on campus.

Why did you minor in Asian studies?

Actually, I received my Asian Studies minor by accident. Many of my RELS classes on Buddhism and East Asian religion overlapped with the requirements for the minor, so I took two extra classes to get the minor: Japanese and a history class about Japan. Not only have these classes helped me in understanding and engaging with the community I currently live in, but I have made many connections back home through my current job abroad.

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

I am connected through the friends I have who are graduating this year, in 2023, the staff that I occasionally keep in touch with, and through the friendships I made at L&C which will last a lifetime. Living in another country, it is difficult to engage in-person, but through social media, email, and the occasional letter, I keep in touch with those from my past at L&C to this day.

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

I enjoyed every class that Professor Robert Kugler had, but as Apocalyptic Imagination was the class that lead me into the department, it holds a special place in my heart.

Where did you find your community on campus?

I was lucky to meet my favorite people through my department and random housing placements. I suspect most people at L&C could get along with anyone, but I consider myself especially lucky for meeting some of the most selfless, easygoing, and nicest souls by chance.

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

I’ve already mentioned him, but Professor Kugler did an excellent job guiding me through the many uncertainties of college life. He always made time for me, and I rather enjoyed just chatting with him about life and nothing in particular. During a more difficult time in my life, he acted swiftly and with care in arranging support from faculty within and outside of his department. The entire department acted similarly—I could not have asked for better support.

Religious Studies Asian Studies