Keilani Vega

Keilani, in a beige blazer, white t-shirt and blue jeans, smiling while leaning against a stone wall next to bright, colorful flower bushes.



Degree and Class Year

BA ’22


Pasadena, California


International affairs


French studies and environmental studies (double)


The Meridian Journal of International and Cross-Cultural Perspectives, TEP Student Partner

Overseas study

Strasbourg, France

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

Trees, Dear, Fun

What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?

My favorite class has to be International Law with Assistant Professor of International Affairs Suparna Chaudhry. She is new to the international affairs department and such an inspiration to me. Treaties, international agreements, and strategic diplomacy are a significant part of international affairs, so being able to dedicate an entire class to hone in on these facets has been extremely enriching. Not to mention, she’s also hilarious!

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

My mentor on campus is Associate Professor of French Isabelle DeMarte. I have taken French Composition and Conversation with her, but our connection was solidified when she entrusted me to be her student partner for Beginning French II. During the partnership, I attended her class once a week and drafted notes for her based on my observations as a student. We meet weekly to discuss our thoughts and feelings about how the course is going. Being able to connect with Isabelle on this level has truly shown me that she is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met and I am eternally grateful for the relationship we have. It is extremely evident that she cares deeply about the students in her class and the campus community.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I wanted to attend Lewis & Clark because of the wide variety of classes offered. The close-knit community also piqued my interest because it meant that I would be able to make close connections with faculty and students.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

I am a huge proponent of the liberal arts education because it is interdisciplinary. I have always been a student who is interested in many different subjects and niches, and I have been able to find exactly that at Lewis & Clark. I have always been appreciative of how the general education requirements are permissive to everyone’s individual interests. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had to go out of my way to fulfill them; rather, the courses illustrated in my major, minors, and general interests have always done so! Additionally, small class sizes and the ability to have personal, accessible relationships with my professors has done wonders for my heart. As I was applying to universities in high school, I couldn’t fully grasp what these concepts meant or felt like but now, I can’t imagine my college experience any other way!

Did you know what you wanted to major in when you came to L&C? Did that change once you got here? When did you declare your major?

I declared my major pretty early on in fall of 2019. I would say that I knew the things I was interested in but didn’t know how to put it into the form of the major. Luckily, the three departments I am involved in are interdisciplinary so I don’t have to pin-hole myself into one interest.

Why did you want to go to a liberal arts college? Did you consider other types of schools?

I considered going to school internationally, predominantly at other public schools in other English-speaking countries, but I ended up deciding on going to a liberal arts college because of the small class sizes. I definitely made the right choice because I can’t imagine having large classes!

Where do you find community on campus?

Fortunately, I feel like I have been able to find community in all pockets of campus. Because of my major and minors, I have been able to make long-lasting friendships in all of the departments that I am a part of. The Teaching Excellence Program (TEP) student cohort also meets once a week, so I have been able to connect with other student partners over Zoom.

If you went on a New Student Trip with College Outdoors, how did it shape your experience as an incoming student?

I went on a New Student Trip to the Columbia River Gorge. I am so glad I did because I was able to meet so many great people prior to classes starting. It also gave me a sneak peak of what Lewis & Clark would be like.

If you have studied or will study overseas while at Lewis & Clark, how did you choose your program? What did your overseas study add to your L&C experience so far?

Unfortunately, my first study abroad program was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am grateful for another opportunity to attend in fall 2021. I chose the Strasbourg trip to round out my French minor and have the opportunity to immerse myself in a completely different culture than what I am already used to. I also grew up in a major city and wanted a small town for my study abroad experience.

Did you choose to do all-remote learning or hybrid learning this academic year? How did you make your choice?

This year, I chose to be a hybrid student. Going home at the beginning of the pandemic was definitely sad. It was difficult for me to say goodbye to everyone a lot earlier than anticipated. I was certain I wanted to choose the hybrid option because I wanted to maintain my college experience as much as I could, despite the circumstances.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus has to be the lawn when it is sunny (or snowy!)

How did you decide on a major?

I knew I wanted to be an international affairs major after taking Introduction to International Relations with Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences Cyrus Partovi. Prior to coming to Lewis & Clark, I had an amalgamation of interests but didn’t have the vernacular to compartmentalize them. I knew that I was interested in global politics, with a little bit of human rights, with a little economics, a touch of diplomatic relations, and a sprinkle of law. When I arrived at Cyrus’s class, he touched on all of these concepts the first day. This revelation not only solidified my interest in international affairs, but also improved my ability to comprehend the complexities our world faces.

How do you manage stress?

Like many others during COVID-19, I purchased a Nintendo Switch, which both releases stress and makes me feel productive (ha ha). But with classes online, I try not to strain my eyes more than I need to so I stick to exercising, stretching, and meditating when I’m not playing the Switch.