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Parasa Chanramy

July 26, 2011

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Parasa Chanramy, Senior

From: Aloha, Oregon

Exploring: International affairs

Storyteller: My name contains parts of my mother’s and father’s names. It carries the story of my family and how far we’ve come since my parents arrived here as Cambodian refugees. I’ve shared the story of my name as part of the race monologues, a powerful event held during Lewis & Clark’s annual Ray Warren Multicultural Symposium, and I don’t think I’ve ever connected with people in quite that way before—it was so personal, and I really felt heard and understood.

Multicultural mentor:  This year, as one of the student chairs of the Multicultural Symposium, I helped craft the theme. We settled on hybrid identities, a concept that came from my experiences as a peer mentor for LINCS—the Lewis & Clark Intercultural Network for Connecting Students. The symposium explored topics like the politics of mixed identities and what it means to check “one or more” on the census form. We got great feedback, and it sparked interest in creating a support group for students who have hybrid identities.

Mercy Corps team member: A chance encounter with a Lewis & Clark trustee opened the door to my internship at the Mercy Corps global headquarters in Portland. I spent the summer doing research on how to recruit staff members from underrepresented populations. As an international organization that serves diverse populations, it was important work for Mercy Corps, and it was an extremely valuable experience for me.

Open doors:  So many opportunities have come my way here: I’ve done a fellowship at Princeton, spent a semester in London, and worked for an international aid organization. The faculty and staff at Lewis & Clark will help you open doors, but it’s up to you to walk through them. In my four years here, I’ve walked through some pretty great doors.

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