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Alumni Profile: Micah Depper B.A. ’10

November 22, 2013

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    Micah Depper B.A. ’10
Micah Depper B.A. ’10

Major: biology
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Current work: Founding faculty member of Harpswell Coastal Academy

What drew you to attend Lewis & Clark?

I wanted to attend a small school with an environmental focus and the opportunity to work closely with professors.  As far as cities go, Portland can’t be beat!

What was your most memorable moment at Lewis & Clark?

I studied abroad in New Zealand during the spring of 2009.  We spent the first week of our trip on a Russian icebreaker ship traveling to the New Zealand subantarctic islands, where we huddled in albatross nesting grounds, explored a 50,000 member penguin colony from Zodiac boats, and studied gigantic Dr. Seuss-like plants known as “megaherbs.”  It was magical!

Were there particular courses or faculty that helped shape the way you approach your role as a teacher?

I am deeply grateful for the great teaching I experienced throughout the biology department. I felt like I was living in a mystery novel each time I entered Professor of Biology Greg Hermann’s class.  Instead of figuring out “who done it,” we were unlocking the mysteries of the mitochondria, investigating genetic disorders by breeding nematodes, and living the successes and travails of real scientists.  I borrow deeply from his bag of tricks in my classroom.

Were there other formative experiences that gave you general direction in your pursuits after graduation?

During my senior year, I worked with dozens of high school students through the HHMI Student Outreach Leadership Teaching Team (SOLTT).  I had an incredible experience and really felt I made a difference in the lives of the students I worked with, many of whom ended up being the first in their families to attend college. 

I eventually became the outreach coordinator for the program. This role gave me the opportunity to shift SOLTT’s focus from simply tutoring high school students to also training undergraduates to be skilled pre-service educators. Tutors developed teaching and curriculum design skills with help from professors at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education & Counseling, and we changed the format of the program to feel more like a hands on science club than a study hall.  I gained critical skills in this position that adequately prepared me for my current job as founding faculty of a charter school.

What would people who know you now be surprised to know about you when you were a student?

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. six days a week to row on the crew team and played in a Led Zeppelin cover band at the same time!

Is there anything else you’d like to say to current or future students?

Keep an open mind to the opportunities life presents.  I could never have guessed where I’d be now just four years ago, and I’m much happier than I could have ever imagined.

Biology