I love the collaboration between everyone on campus and the perseverance to challenge one another to be the best that they can be.
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
Xanadu (a place of great beauty, luxury, contentment), invigorating, intellectual
What has been your favorite class so far? How has it expanded your knowledge?
Associate Professor Heather Smith-Cannoy’s Human Rights and International Politics class, where I learned how to conduct my own qualitative research and write about it. In the class, each student was asked to identify a human rights crisis currently taking place around the globe. Then we conducted an interview with an NGO that is currently working on researching or combatting that crisis. I chose forced child marriage as my research topic and Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, as the setting for my research. Upon starting the project, I emailed approximately twenty different NGOs asking people to do interviews with me. I ended up being able to conduct four qualitative interviews, all with people on the ground in Burkina Faso working to fight forced child marriage. I even conducted one interview in French, though I had only taken two semesters of it at that point! I am still in touch with one of the women I interviewed. It was such a humbling experience to be able to do something powerful from here and to see myself bridging those types of connections in the world. I then used the research to create a proposal for how to fix the crisis. Not only was I able to do my own research, but I was able to take it to the next level and apply theories about how to solve human rights crises and apply them to my own situation. Doing the research, looking for solutions, and writing the paper were all transformative and empowering experiences for me.
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
I chose Lewis & Clark during a very tumultuous time in my life. I had been displaced by a serious crime committed against me and my family and was feeling lost, aimless, and homeless. Then, I received a call from the assistant dean of admissions, who invited me on an all-expenses-paid visit to the college. At the time, I had already committed to attend another school. When I came to Portland and was embraced by the community of scholars and professors here at Lewis & Clark, I knew that this was going to be home. What I love best about the college in a word is community. Lewis & Clark is a community of students, professors, and workers that truly desires the success of each other. This community is here to build you up and here to catch you if you fall. I love the collaboration between everyone on campus and the perseverance to challenge one another to be the best that they can be.
What do you like most about working in public relations?
What I love most about working in the Office of Public Affairs and Communications is getting to be involved in everything that is happening around campus. I get to meet people, learn about all kinds of events, and absorb campus in a way that not a lot of students are able to. This on-campus job has been a great stepping stone for me. At PubCom, I have been responsible for producing stories to populate the newsroom (which is found on the college website’s homepage). In producing these stories, I have attended and covered many events, symposia, author readings, etc. I have also been able to engage with many students across several different departments in order to conduct interviews about their research, achievements, trips abroad, and love for L&C. In addition, I have been able to draft press releases and media advisories, and contact media sources (both local and national) about interesting and important things happening on all of Lewis & Clark’s three campuses. This has allowed me to build personal and professional contacts.
Describe how you fit your jobs into your schedule.
One thing that I learned early on in my academic career was time management. This is critical for anyone that wants to do extracurriculars or work during college. This job has been flexible in that I’ve been able to change my hours to fit in my schedule from semester to semester.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the quiet section on the third floor of the library. It overlooks the campus garden behind the Manor House. Trees, moss, flowers, open space, rain. It’s a beautiful, peaceful, and intellectual spot—much like many others at Lewis & Clark.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?
Besides all of the beautiful bridges, buildings, and people? The food. Salt & Straw Ice Cream to be exact. Hands down the best ice cream you’ll ever have.
How did you decide on a major?
I decided to take Introduction to International Relations the spring of my freshman year to meet a general education requirement. What I didn’t know when I walked into Bodine 300 is that Professor Cyrus Partovi and the field of international affairs would change my life over the course of the semester. After one week of talking about theories and applying them to current events from the international section of the New York Times newspaper, I was hooked. When I figured out international affairs is really just shorthand for political science, economics, psychology, and global history (which are all topics of interest for me), I was sold.
How do you manage stress?
As good as it is to be on campus around everyone, during times of academic stress it’s also important to remember that there is an entire world away from Palatine Hill. I find peace in taking time for myself, checking out from technology, and exploring new places with my dogs. I love walking, hiking, and moving to get the stress off my mind. My favorite thing to do—time permitting—is jet out to the Oregon Coast. Watching the waves crash against the rocks for 15 minutes will cure any stress or ailment.
Where do you find community on campus?
Maggie’s is one of my favorite community places at Lewis & Clark. You walk in and the barista knows your name. You get your favorite drink (mine is a lavender chai) and sit down, and more than likely you’re already sitting with friends or someone you know is right about to walk in the door. It’s warm, inviting, and inclusive.