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Luz Aguirre

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Class Year: 2017
Hometown: Guanajuato, Mexico, and French Camp, California
Majors: Sociology and Anthropology, Hispanic Studies (double)
Minor: Latin American Studies
Extracurriculars: Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) Student Life Intern, Student Academic Affairs Board Hispanic Studies Corepresentative, The Polyglot Journal Editor, Gente Latina Unida (GLU)
Overseas study: Valparaiso, Chile

What was your favorite class (title and professor)? How did it expand your knowledge?

I have a couple of classes that I really enjoyed. I think every class I took here at L&C was challenging, empowering, and allowed me to really engage academically. These are some of my ultimate favorites: Cultural Anthropology and Borderlands with Kabir Heimsath; Popular Culture and Protest in China with Jennifer Hubbert; Latin American Film with Freddy Vilches; Perspectives in Statistics with Yung-Pin Cheng; Art of Tea in Japanese Culture with Janice Waldmann.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I visited Lewis & Clark through the Compass Scholars Fly-In Program and I fell in love with the beautiful campus, its location, and the size. I wanted to attend a small school because coming from a big high school it was not easy to really get to know my professors and at L&C I saw that was a real possibility. It helped even more knowing that I could afford to come to L&C because of my financial aid package.

How did Lewis & Clark support you as a TCK?

I had never heard of a Third Culture Kid until I came to L&C and was told that I was one. It did not make much sense to me, until I started to explore my identity and culture. I began to understand how I was different, how my lived experience was different, and how I belonged to a third culture composed of two dominant cultures. For four years, I explored what it meant to be a TCK and it really helped to have friends who identified as one because they understood those differences and feelings. The International Students and Scholars/Third Culture Kid community is very close and welcoming, and they have always thrived to help students like myself feel at home and find our belonging and communities on this campus.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am taking a year off before applying to law school. I will be participating as a language assistant for the Meddeas Program in Madrid, Spain, for the upcoming academic year!

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

I have two spots. First is the Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) office, where I spent a lot of time laughing, planning life, and having some of the most inspiring conversations! And the second one is Watzek Library. I have spent an endless amount of late nights there doing work and some of my best work has been written in study room 101. The round tables on the second floor are very welcoming and comfy too, if I may add.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?

The ability to explore different neighborhoods and finding something weird but cool: #KeepPortlandWeird. I really liked going to SE Hawthorne and NW 23rd for food, and enjoyed exploring the numerous coffee shops in Portland.

How did you decide on a major?

I came to L&C knowing that I wanted to improve my Spanish, especially my writing and reading. But I did not want to do just that, and I took several intro courses in humanities. Taking Cultural Anthropology with Kabir genuinely interested me and I knew it would be an area I would enjoy exploring. I decided to become a sociology and anrthopology major, and I am beyond happy with what I have learned and continue to learn.

What’s your best Lewis & Clark memory so far?

I have many good memories, from being part of the Women’s Crew Team for two years to going abroad to Chile. My experience at L&C has truly been wonderful!

How do you manage stress?

I take breaks from my work to be with friends and socialize, but it takes practice to not over spend your time. I consider my social life as self care, because I was involved in so many things.

Do you have a job on campus? If so, how do you fit work into your schedule?

I had two work-study jobs on campus. For all four years I worked at the Student Support Services office, and it was really nice because I never worked an excess amount of hours and everyone in the office was welcoming, encouraging, and understanding about my needs. I also worked at the Student Health Center for about a year, and it was fun! I loved the staff!

What advice do you have for prospective students?

College goes by very quickly, and things are always going on, so take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Remember that college is the experience you make it, so make it a valuable one!

Why did you want to study overseas?

I grew up living back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico for most of my life. Living in both countries made me more curious and aware about the differences and similarities of the spaces I inhabit. When choosing colleges as a senior in high school, I wanted to expand this possibility of going to new places and learning about cultures I had never been exposed to. I decided to study overseas as my opportunity to continue understanding my cultural roots and engage in an intersectional experience.

What did your overseas program mean to you and your L&C experience?

Going abroad changes you. A clichéd response from everyone, but very true. You do different things, at a different pace, to a different capacity, and with a different mindset. I thought it would be easy for me in Chile because I know Spanish and I have lived in Mexico, but in reality I was not prepared. I came back with a unique perspective of the experiences in my life and others. I shared meaningful conversations about cultures, race, ethnicity, politics, and life lessons that I cherish and have learned from. My lived experience abroad helped me grow, and when I returned to L&C I utilized this wisdom in achieving success and exploring new endeavors.

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