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Zayla Asquith-Heinz

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Class Year: 2019
Hometown: Haines, Alaska
Major: Sociology and Anthropology
Extracurriculars: College Outdoors (Hike With a Professor creator)

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

Welcoming, challenging, lush

What has been your favorite class so far (title and professor)? How did it expand your knowledge?

My favorite class thus far was Introduction to Anthropology with Professor Kabir Heimsath. I was stunned by his teaching methods as well as the material of the class. The experience shifted my perspective of the everyday world.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I knew I wanted a small liberal arts college where I could become close to my professors and explore different fields of study. What distinguished L&C from other liberal arts colleges was the location. I’m from a tiny town in Alaska and I wanted to stay in the Northwest, but also gently ease myself into city life. The L&C campus feels remote but is close to the city. It also gives access to the wonders of Oregon—from Mount Hood to the Columbia Gorge to the coast.

Describe the most memorable Hike With a Professor.

One of my most memorable moments with a professor was the first few minutes of a tsunami hike with Environmental Studies Professor Liz Safran. After parking near a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, all eight participants leapt out of the van to gaze at the breathtaking view below us. A few minutes after we gathered, Liz gave a quick talk on the basics of tsunami science and the geography of the Oregon Coast. She talked about the science of the place like a history lecture, referring to the tectonic plates below us, the coastal range behind us, and the expansive ocean in front of us. Speaking above the howling wind and crashing waves, students started asking questions. “Would a tsunami reach us here?” “What would happen to the town below?” “What infrastructure is in place for evacuation?” The lesson quickly became a conversation. Our small group contained different levels of experience—from students who majored in environmental studies, to students like me with very little science background, to Liz who dedicates her life to studying and changing natural disaster response. Despite our varying levels of knowledge, we all participated in the conversation. After lunch, we transitioned into discussing the infrastructure-side of tsunamis as we walked along the evacuation route in Seaside, the neighboring town. The hike was full of dialogue, both academic and casual, but it was the first moment of passionate teaching and engaged, curious conversation that set the tone of entire trip.

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