Maile Speakman L&C ’10 is in a PhD program in American Studies at Yale University.
Molly Hetz L&C ’11 received a President’s grant after college, moving to Argentina for four years where she became interested in Argentina’s wine economy. She wanted to make financial services accessible to people, especially as she lived through the peak of economic insecurity in Argentina (2011-2015). After moving back to the U.S., she worked with the online banking company Simple. There, she uses the qualitative skills she learned in ES to interview people about their financial decisions. Molly recalls how ES “was a great, well-rounded experience for me. What I loved was the diversity of classes.”
Madelyn Bèl-Elska L&C ’12 wrote her Hispanic studies thesis about mixed-race students’ experiences with identity and belonging. Now, Madelyn teaches fourth-grade Spanish immersion. She reflects on how ES “felt like it was the only place I could be myself. I got to learn about what I wanted to actually learn—a lot of focus on subcultures which have always driven change.”
Julie Peterson L&C ’12 earned her master’s degree in history and is now working in a museum.
Megan Scott-Busenbark L&C’16 taught in Toledo, Spain after graduation. She returned to the U.S. to work for the Office of the Public Defender in Orange County, California, and is now applying to law school.
Julia Withers L&C’16 worked at Oregon Humanities and is now living in California.
Tyler Wayne-Patterson L&C’16 moved to Chicago as part of Teach for America.
Lena Novak L&C’ 17 wrote her senior SOAN thesis about labor camps in Portland, OR, and migrant shelters in Mexico. After graduation, she participated in a border studies program on the US-Mexico border, then moved to Honduras for a year to teach bilingual education. After this linguistic experience, Lena moved to Dallas, TX for two years to participate in the Readers to Leaders program. Now, she is enrolled in a master’s of education program at the University of Pennsylvania in international educational development.
Ethnic studies allowed Lena the chance to take whatever courses she wanted. She enjoyed the intimate class space and getting to know other students in the program that had overlapping interests. She especially enjoyed taking Race and Ethnicity in the U.S., Colonialism in Latin America, and the ES Colloquium.
Favi Schetman L&C ’17 went to teach in Valencia, Spain, after graduating. She is now in a master’s program in migration studies at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.
Lani Felicitas L&C ’18 is currently working in organizing and advocacy work.
Maya Litauer-Chan L&C’19 stayed in the Portland community, starting an internship with Emerging Leaders. There she was able to “compile resources about anti-oppressive workplace practices and the pitfalls of professionalism,” and make them accessible to BIPOC. Then, she worked with Prism Health as a part of their Cascade Aids project, offering trauma-informed care, and de-escalating conflict. Here, she applied conceptual ideas she encountered at Lewis & Clark, practicing them in a fast-paced work environment. Once the pandemic hit, Maya moved to a lower-risk job at a gluten-free bakery and she hopes to transition back into the nonprofit world at some point.
Maya is “really glad that Ethnic Studies exists and encourages people to take advantage as ES gave her the tools to make an analysis and advocate for people of color in spaces where that isn’t happening on an institutional level.” Some of her favorite courses include African-American History and Crime and Punishment. She especially enjoyed being a co-chair for the Ray Warren Symposium.
Maggie Siddens L&C ’19 worked with the Columbia River Correctional Institution’s Liberation Literacy program and their newsletter Phoenix Rising. In March of 2020, she moved to New York City, NY where she worked for the nonprofit foundation Trail Blazers, an organization that makes outdoor educational experiences accessible to youth across income levels.
Ethnic studies informed her decision to sit on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee for Trail Blazers, a team of fifteen people who consider the language of the program and refine their mission statement to reflect the values of equity. She also uses ES lessons about freedom schools and linguistic justice to structure her lesson plans and make space in her educational sessions for multilingual youth. Her favorite courses include the History of Race and Ethnicity in the U.S. and the Social Life of Money and Exchange.
JahAsia Jacobs L&C ’20 graduated in December of 2020. She hopes to continue her studies about Black student loan borrowers and how they navigate the loan system as it recasts many aspects of their social lives. She also hopes to work with higher education financial aid institutions to foster more transparent and helpful relationships between them and Black borrowers.
Ethnic studies provided JahAsia with the skills to identify how everyday forms of inequality are historically rooted and take shape across national and cultural contexts.
Calling all ethnic studies alumni! What have you been up to since graduation? Start an interesting job? Discover a hidden talent? Used your liberal arts experience and degree to better the world? Adopt a cat? We’d love to know!