28 February 2018

Midterm Season

Hello all! Hope you are having a lovey week! I have been very busy all week getting ready for my midterm. It has been a stressful time, but I feel very prepared. I'm going to be getting together with my study group tomorrow and going over all the material. Luckily, I don't have multiple midterms this week. That's literally one of the worst things in college, just a whole week of stress! As soon as I finish blogging, Imma get back to studying again!
I am looking forward to this weekend! I'm going to be watching a movie with some friends Friday night to unwind from classes. I feel like that always helps me relax for the weekend. We also have the international fair this weekend too! This year's theme is "Breaking Down Cultural Stereotypes". I'm  very excited to have the opportunity to watch the whole show this year. For the past two years, I have been participating in the show. While dancing for the International Fair has been one of the most fun experiences that I have had and is one of the events that I really look forward to each semester!

Well, I need to get to studying a bit more before my midterm! Wish me luck!

-Elvira Ruan

25 February 2018

Winter Wonder...Week?

Hey everyone! How are you? How's it going?

Wow has the past week been suuuuper eventful, in a good and kinda bad way. The snow from my post last Sunday did not stick so classes were still on the next day and that Monday night, it started to snow again buuut classes were not canceled for Tuesday...or so everyone thought! I was in the chemistry research lab and from the one window in the lab, all of us could see how fast that snow was falling!! Then Jessica, one of the chemistry faculty members, came in and told us that the campus was closing at 12:30 which meant any classes after were canceled! For me, this meant going back to my room and getting some much needed rest! 
Little Snow Person says Hello!
The good news doesn't stop there! The next morning when I got up at 6 AM to get ready for my 8 AM class, I get the email that says that campus is closed for the entire day due to the snow! You bet I slept in for as long as I could because when there is a chance to catch up on sleep, oh do I catch up on sleep! That Wednesday seemed like such a long day since I spent all day in my room and just getting work done. Then Thursday, campus was to be open at 11 AM which meant any classes after would be open. Here's where the sorta bad news comes :(

On Thursdays, I usually have bio lab from 9:40 - 12 so when my lab instructor heard that campus was opening at 11, she emailed us saying that we will be going in for an hour. I was glad that I wouldn't behind in lab but I was kinda sad that I couldn't sleep in for a bit longer. Theeeen the next bad thing is because the week was so weird and something my body is not accustomed to, I can feel this next week being super duper duper looooong. While I did enjoy getting more rest, the days off felt like weekends and going to class has been a struggle, especially the 8 AMs. 

Well, I'm really looking forward to this week and getting my body adjusted to being back on schedule! I'm currently in the library and watching the rain from the window! I liked the snow but rainy Portland has a different feeling that I love so much!

If you have any questions or just want to talk, you can reach me at:


Here's the quote of the week:

"You can't make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen."- Michelle Obama

♥ Jessica

24 February 2018

Winter finally came...

Hey everyone,

Hope y'all are doing well, it has been an interesting week over here with the weather.

We had a random cold front come in which caused some inclement weather and the school was closed for the better part of the week.

I didn't mind having an excuse to stay home and study all week, plus sleeping in.. soooo nice!

Anyways, last weekend we had the 6th annual World Music Concert to honor the lives of Franya Berkman and Obo Addy. They were both professors in the music department who helped start this world music program at LC. There was about 6 or 7 performances from different musicians, and our Ghanian drum ensemble performed as well. I'm going to try and post some videos up.. I haven't had much luck in the past, but we'll see if it wants to cooperate today.

 Well as usual the video interface is acting weird so in the meantime... here are some photos from my midnight stroll at Mt. Tabor.
 Took some eerie photos by the lower water reservoir 

Below is supposed to be a video.. not sure what's up with it.. will check again later

Okay so this thing is acting up... I'm gonna check back later and try to fix the video thing.



22 February 2018

Venom Biology!

Hey friends!

Not a whole lot to report. It's been so so busy and back to feeling like regular school. We're attending courses at UQ: University of Queensland. We get to ferry to school on the river and it's just amazing.  It's super amazing and it's a nice glimpse into what going to a big school would be like. I really enjoy it! They have a whole food court, a few book stores, a barber shop, a travel store, a pharmacy, a dentist and so much more! It's a massive campus with a really nice grassy quad in the middle. It's a really beautiful campus and there are so many students walking around. It's nice being at LC because you get to know the majority of the school even if you're not friends, and I for sure take for granted the relationship I get with my professors but the big school is fun for a few weeks :)

We've currently been taking classes at UQ's IMB - the Institute of Molecular Biology. It's a high end lab facility with incredible resources, and it's been a privilege to be able to use their facility - as my professor says, it's a courtesy to her really, we are so insanely lucky for the opportunity.

We're finally getting into the venom biology course! The first day the class went into the field and collected a ton of assassin bugs, spiders and some other venomous critters. Day 2 we were in the lab and learned how to extract venom. We learned the proper technique for spiders - both mygalomorphs and araneomorphs, assassin bugs, bull ants, centipedes and scorpions. We then also learned how to organize bioassays and inject crickets and mealworms with the venom that we had previously extracted.

To be honest I found this really hard. Extracting venom from the assassin bugs means we need to electrocute them. You can see the animals physically trying to pull away and spasming. When we do it later for real and for research the scientists then have to freeze - kill - them to preserve them. Injecting the crickets is also awful. A lot of them end up losing legs in the process. We also nearly impale them on a needle to inject them. Some of them its clear to see the venom taking effect. I've gotten so much better with dealing with bugs and creepy crawlers ect over my invertebrate zoology course and over this trip with field research and everything -- but I'm also pretty sure the lab side isn't fully my cuppa tea either... I'm not a crazy big animal lover - I do love animals, but it's hard to see the bugs spaz and squirm and actually show pain you never think they can have.

*the image at the bottom is not for the super faint hearted: crickets 24 hrs post centipede venom injection. They turned black and were paralysed.

The next few days have been lectures and learning the more techy side. We used LC's first super computer from Aus! Which is super exciting! It's called BLT - because there are 3 parts to the super computer. It's able to compute crazy amounts of information super fast. We were using terminal and learning some compsci skills.

Per usual, the things we are learning and doing are so so so cool, but it's still very full on. I haven't had a chance to explore the city yet and tomorrow we are heading to North Stradbroke Island for more field research.

That's all for now, I'll write more soon. Sorry about the lack of images too, we aren't allowed phones in the lab and it's been rainy the last few days and I haven't taken any photos of the campus. Luckily we're here for another 2 weeks and so some will be coming! If you do want to see the crickets scroll down.

Until next time!


crickets 24 hours after injection with a 1:2 dilution of crude centipede venom

20 February 2018

Snowy LC!!

Hello all! Just a quick intro! My name is Elvira Ruan and I am a senior psychology major. I am a psychology research assistant, a co-leader at Gente Latina Unida, and the student life intern for the office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME). I am excited to share parts of my experience at Lewis and Clark with you all!

It's been a snowy start of the week at LC! Things on campus have felt a bit more slow with the snow and everything and it had me in a very relaxing mood. It was a chill Sunday. I spent most of it indoors working on the IME Wokeshop series that me and a peer educator were going to facilitate on Monday. Our Wokeshop series aims to create a space for students to have discussions about topics on diversity and inclusion on campus. This week's topic was Liberal Biases. You can check out our whole list of Wokeshops here and check out our resources! I always get a bit nervous thinking about facilitating Wokeshops, just thinking about whether the group will be talkative and interested in the subject. We had the event in Templeton Monday at 6 pm. Despite the snowy weather, we had a great turnout! 

The next morning, the campus was even snowier than the day before!

I love seeing the campus like this! It's beautiful! In my four years at Lewis & Clark College, I have seen snow on campus three times and it's always been a great experience. While I was in my coding class, we all got a notification that school would be closing at 12:30 due to the weather. So snow day for us! My friends and I went around campus taking pictures in the snow and throwing snowballs at each other. Though today has been fun, I'm hoping that the weather will start to clear up soon so that we can go back to classes. I have a midterm coming up next week, so it would be nice to have a chance to review in class before that!

Gotta get back to my homework! Til next time!

-Elvi Ruan

18 February 2018

Snow Day Sunday!

Hi everyone! How are you? How's it going?

So today, everyone on campus woke up to the beautiful sight of snow falling!! Y E S S N O W !! But it was early in the morning so no one went outside to enjoy it. After a while, it stopped snowing and around 2ish it started to snow again!! A lot of us in Copeland went outside and we just had one giant snowball fight! It was so much fun being able to see everyone just laughing and enjoying the beautiful sight that nature has given us! It lasted for about half an hour and everyone just hung out together and watched the snow fall while taking some pictures. I decided to video chat with my family and show them the snow since in Southern California, you don't really see snow!

Snow snow snow ❄

A post shared by Jessica Doan-ut (@jessicadoanut) on

These past few days have been super busy because of all the fly-ins coming in which means I have been hosting back to back for the past couple of days but I really do enjoy hosting! I also had my chemistry and calculus midterm the past week. Both of them went really well and I don't think I did too bad sooo fingers crossed that I do well! It was also Lunar New Years this past weekend and it was a kinda sad feeling since I wasn't home to celebrate with my family like I usually do but my family did video call me and it made me feel happy to see everyone!

Anywhoooo, I think that for my post next week I'm gonna try to put up a room tour video or some kind fo q&a video so if y'all could help out and just send me questions that I can answer! Okay, now that I've taken the time to myself (basically an entire day of procrastinating) I shall get back to getting some studying done!

If you have any questions or just want to talk, you can reach me at:


Here's the quote of the week:

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” ― Maya Angelou

♥ Jessica

Brisbane and Bust

Hey friends!

We've finally made it to Brisbane, which to me is insane because I associated this with the second half of the semester, which it almost is... O.O wow.

Since my last post we traveled back from Tassie to mainland and spent 4 days at the Lamington Plateau doing field research and I was off the grid.

We started off by being welcomed with a HURRICANE and literally spent our first night holding down the kitchen tents while the sky was black, it was pouring rain, whipping wind and thundering and lightning like crazyyy! Let's just say it wasn't the welcome any of us really had wanted after waking up at 3am that morning to catch the flight out of Tassie.

Luckily the rest of the trip had a bit nicer weather (until the last night lol...)

We spent our first day doing a long hike looking for Nothofagus, an ancient Gondwanan plant we saw in Tas, but with the recent climate change is now dwindling and we probably saw the last of the Nothofagus plants the exist up north. We were hiking through warm tropical and temperate forests and this plant family really needs the cool temperate environment.

Image result for yellow robbin
Yellow Robbin
The next few days were dedicated to getting into the dirt and doing some research. We did more transects looking at a 20x20m plot and taking surveys of the land, like which plants were where what was the soil like, any evidence of fires and so on. Our main goal is to be able to look at an environment's plants or animals and ask "how and why is this here". So in the transects we were comparing the rain forest to a sclerophyll forest that had recent controlled burning.

That same morning myself, and half the group woke up at 5am to go on a bird walk. The plateau is full of animals! Just on the walk we saw a fair number of species, but also heard loads. To name a few, there were the wild turkeys, the Tassie crows, king parrots, crimson rosellas, yellow robins (my favorite! They get all  ruffled and poofy and they're adorable), whip birds, bower birds, cat birds... the list goes on and on.

The next day we were out again and hiking again. That night we were focused on mammals and were out until pretty late again. We went spot lighting and mammal trapping. We saw about half a dozen ring tailed possums, two bush tail possums, and two bush rats in the traps. It was really cool to see the native species. For the mammal trapping we set out about 25 elliot traps, a few wire traps and a possum trap. We had two rats in the elliot traps; our expert field guide and tutor showed us the proper way to catch it,  and then put it into a bag to use a dichotomous key to figure the species.

Image result for pseudoscorpion
Australian Pseudoscorpion 
The last day was out in the field again this time with three different entomologist; one was a beetle expert, the other two were arachnid experts with different specialties: spiders and pseudoscorpions. We were able to spend about 45 minutes with each on a rotation to learn proper collection techniques and also to learn about each of their specialties. It was really cool for me to work with the pseudoscorpion expert mainly because that was my independent project sophomore year fall in Greta's invertebrate zoology course. (Greta is my professor who is also leading this Australia study abroad). Pseudoscorpions are these really really small inverts that mostly live in leaf little, or in our case under certain tree barks, they're adorable and looking like a really fat and flat scorpion missing it's tail.

*I'll try to post more photos later, these are both from google, I didn't take any photos during the time there and just completely unplugged*

Fast forward the last night we had another storm come through but this one was nicer. It was kind of hysterical, we were all standing under the kitchen holding the tents again, but this time were were passing around snacks and otter pops while being just bombarded with rain (luckily not too much wind that go around).

Needless to say by the next day we were all exhausted though, and slightly broken (only half kidding...) We had about 15 hour days while there and each day was packed with great opportunities, but lots of hiking and all outdoor work. It was such a nice blessing to get to Brisbane. We're in these incredible apartments, but more important, they all come with washers and hot showers.

While were were in the bush a lot of stuff happened. It was a really great experience, we had some of the best food on program despite not having a real kitchen, no electricity and having our kitchen almost be blown away twice lol. We were camping in really great safari tents with cots and it was a good time, but it was really really nice to come back to civilization. The 16th was Lunar New Year/ Chinese new year! I'm really sad I missed it, for some reason I had my dates mixed up and didn't realize it had passed while I was in Lamington. The good thing is celebration normally goes on for 2 weeks so hopefully I can explore Brisbane and find some good Chinese food and celebrations. We also heard of the Florida shooting and that was devastating to hear. I also got some terrible news and so it's been a bit head on coming back to the city as well. Lamington was a really great experience and we're all learning so much but I'm also learning that field research for plant biology or entomology is probably not in my career future - but don't get me wrong, it's wonderful to learn about and it's important to learn it all because all the sects are connected. If I go into wilderness medicine I'll need to know all about it.

This is getting long again, sorry, there's just so much that always happens and I want to write about it all. If anyone has questions about my study abroad I'll be in Brisbane for the next few weeks, minus a few weekend excursions. But I'll have pretty consistent wifi and service to answer any questions.


11 February 2018

Self Care Saturday!

Hi everyone! How are you? How's it going?

I think my posts are going to start going up either Saturday or Sunday because my weeks are just super busy! When I'm not in class then I'm in the Bio Lab looking for virgin female fruit flies or going to the Chemistry Research Lab to take a sample of our silver and gold nanoparticles or studying and doing homework along with sleeping. With all these craaaazy things going on there are also the students that are coming for the fly-in programs and doing overnight visits that I am hosting and volunteering at these events!

Because of my crazy schedule, I decided to go walk around downtown yesterday and go down to the waterfront to just enjoy the beautiful, sunny day! Yes, you read that right!  S U N!! 
I'm really glad I made Saturday a day for just me and treat it as a day of just self-care and being able to just not think about anything for a while really helped me, especially with two midterms this week. I really used it as a moment to think about things and just enjoy the beautiful day!

I can not say or emphasize enough how important self-care is. It is suuuper important that you put some time aside for just you. Whether it's laying in bed all day and just watching shows or taking a drive somewhere, use it as a day of being stress-free and relaxation.

Now to a week of studying for midterms and prepping for hosting!

If you have any questions or just want to talk, you can reach me at:


Here's the quote (well, more like picture) of the week:

♥ Jessica

09 February 2018


Hey friends!

Sorry I’ve been off the map for the last 8 days, with no service or wifi! A lot has happened though and I have SO MUCH to update you all on!

We left Sydney! Sydney was amazing and I was so so sad to leave, but I figure that’s what this whole trip will be like. Every place is so beautiful and incredible and there’s never enough time to see and explore it all before we have to move on, but each new place is just as amazing and exciting! (Just means I need to make another trip back and spend more time everywhere)

Next we went to Maria Island. Maria Island is a beautiful little island off the coast of Tassie! (Yep, we left mainland Aus for the down down unda). Maria Island is a SUPER AMAZING little national park basically. It’s nearly untouched in the sense that it used to be another penal colony, but never became heavily populated. We stayed in an old penitentiary with no electricity! It’s also super cool because the wildlife has no real predators so *and I swear, no exaggeration!* You can make a 360 turn and see at least 3 wombats, a few paddy melons, a couple of wallabies, maybe a kangaroo or 20, and some prehistoric looking geese. There was also an interesting project just a few years ago where they introduced the Tasmanian Devil onto the island to make the only colony without the facial tumor disease, and so if you’re lucky you might spot a devil too! I also saw an echidna! A super rare and very shy little guy. There are just animals GALORE and it’s so mind blowing!!!


Side note: I love wombats, I call them fuzzy rocks :3 But my favorite is the paddy melon. Think smaller, fatter and rounder kangaroos!

While on Maria, we were working with the famous Scott Ling doing marine biology work. We snorkeled and helped him with his fish research identifying various fish in marine transects, as well as counted species in several intertidal transects. The snorkeling was ASTONISHING! I’ve never snorkeled before and for my first time, we were in a kelp bed filled with so many different fish species! It was like every second there was another MASSIVE fish that was beautiful and interesting! I also saw two stingarees!!! Everything we’ve done has just been so insanely mind blowing and I’m still wrapping my head around it all! 
Intertidal transects 

Whilst on Maria we also did an 11km hike scaling the side of a cliff essentially and could see the different terrestrial bioregions as we gained about 2000ft of elevation. Take it, this was the same day we had the “how to” into to snorkel, and so we went from sea level to the top of this mountain side and it was so insane!

It’s been so insanely full on, and each day was PACKED from very very very early to pretty late, finishing each night with a lecture, but it’s been such a rich experience. We were only on Maria for 4 days, but we packed in week’s worth of materials.

Fast forward to leaving the island (ON MY BIRTHDAY, I got to spend my 21st birthday in Tassie!!!) We went from Maria, took a ferry back to the mainland of Tas, and then took a bus to Hobart, had 2 lectures and then continued onto Maydena.

Maydena is a tiny town right by Mt. Fields National Park. We stayed in little cottages, and were out in the field all day each day. The cottages are super rustic and pretty nice! It’s almost like a farm, there are geese, chickens and ducks running around with a nice little goat pen too, but the coolest thing is their back-pond houses about 5 platypus!!! We’ve learned a fair bit about them already because they are such odd species, plus they are venomous, so they’ve fit well into our venom biology course.

Day 1 in Maydena, we went for an 18km (about 11 miles?) hike up in Mt. Fields National Park’s subalpine. It was INSANE. It was stunningly beautiful, but it was a rough hike. Crazy long, a lot of it had no marked trail, and about 1/3 of it was a boulder scurry literally jumping on these MASSIVE boulders of dolerite (Won’t lie, it was a bit terrifying). Day 2 we did a bit more hiking, which was rough cause we were all pretty destroyed from the day before, but did a vertical transect and data collecting and observing the fauna over 5 different bioregions as we gain elevation.

*I’m currently writing from Maydena, but can’t post until we get to Hobart in about 2 days time when we should be back in service*

But, yeah, this is getting super long, but I’ve left out so much still! Every day is packed with so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences and it’s so wonderful, but it’s exhausting as heck. We get a break day about every 2 weeks, so we’re all a bit ragged, but it’s like we still can’t squeeze all the amazing experiences in the time we do have.

If you want to hear more (and if I have service) shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!


06 February 2018

Stuff n thangz

Hello everyone!

Happy Tuesday to you all.

Wanted to give a quick update of what's been going on in my world.

Last week was super busy, I had a ton of meetings and interviews for different things, which was all good but very exhausting. This week I have my second round of group interviews for this RA position for fall. The first round of interviews went really well, so this Thursday they have all the applicants doing group activities about problem solving. Should be interesting...

This week I've just been trying to recalibrate my daily schedule to alleviate stress. I've never taken so many credits at once, and they're all super reading intensive, so I think I'm going to do away with my smart phone the days I'm at school to reduce distraction. Now that the weather is improving I think it's time to go spend more time in the forest also.

My Ghanian drum and dance class is so much and I'm really glad I chose to take that because it's been a huge stress release for me. We're preparing for this performance we'll be doing on the 17th, so i'll see about taking a video to post up on here.

Last night I gave a presentation at a Latinx Social Hour that a friend of mine whose involved in locals politics hosts for Latinx leaders in the community. It was a great networking opportunity, I got to meet a lot of wonderful people that work in Washington Co. (suburb of Portland). My presentation went really well and people were very receptive to the material, so that's always exciting.

I was asked last minute to be a panelist speaker for this event called Race Talks here in Portland. Every month they host a different topic of discussion where people from the POC community can speak openly and honestly to white/non-POC allies who want to better understand a persons lived experience can come to listen to people's stories. I'll include a link to it because it's a cool project and worth checking out. I am a little on the fence about doing it because of the conversation I had earlier with the organizer, but I'm trying to keep an open-mind. I decided I'd sit on it for a few days and decide if I really want to put myself out there like that.


Outside of school I have worked as a consultant for about four years doing trainings with mainly healthcare/government agencies around 2SLGBTQ+ issues, and building stronger allyship. It has been a ton of fun and great way to give back to the community, but I've learned to be selective about who I do emotional labor for. As someone who is part of many marginalized communities I have learned that often dominate cultures want to take from you and rarely wish to compensate for the hard work.. This is kind of the inkling I got from the Race Talk thing, so I'm not talking bad about them, I just want to emphasize the importance of self-care and setting healthy boundaries.

Self-care is something I've really struggled to find balance with since transferring to LC. LC is a wonderful school and I love so many things about it, but the reality is that a lot of systems, institutions, and bureaucracies are not well equipped to support people who come from diverse backgrounds. Part of going to college is figuring out what works for you and finding a work/life balance. For some students it is really easy to do well, but for others who come from low-income families, are non-traditional (like myself), maybe don't have a lot of outside support, etc.. college can be very difficult. I am really lucky to have a wonderful support network both in and outside of LC, which has been a lifesaver, but in all honesty transferring to LC has been one of the most challenging things I've had to deal with in years and it's really put a lot into question for me.

The point I am trying to make is that often times we can have the best intentions for our plans, but then life happens and sometimes you have to readjust how you do things. I realized that I am getting BURNT OUT from all I have to do, so I decided I need to cut extra stuff outta my life and focus on me. That way I can get through the semester in one piece. It feels weird talking about this stuff in the blog, but honestly this shit is real, and I would be doing anyone whose reading this a disservice by saying college is just peaches and cream. It isn't. It's awesome a lot of the time, and it's also super depressing and isolating at times. So when shit hits the fan (excuse my language) how are you going to respond to the stress in your life? I choose to be proactive, utilize the resources that are there for me, and ask for help. It's hard as a young man to feel like I can't do it all on my own, but ya know, it's important to reach out when you need it.

Even reaching out for help often times it still feels like my world is crumbling underneath me. My commitment to myself is to start saying "no" when people ask me to do extra stuff. I'm gonna spend more time in nature, and I'm gonna get back in the gym. Hopefully things will improve and I get back to some type of balance.



04 February 2018

New Opportunities!

Hi everyone! How are you? How's it going?

It's been a craaaaazy week for me so I apologize for this super late update!! In all honesty, this week felt super quick but really productive. Compared to the last couple of weeks which felt super long and like they weren't going to end.

Anyways, now that it's February I can already feel Spring creeping up on us like I saw some flowers on the bushes nears the dorms starting to bloom and I am super excited to see the campus with all the flowers coming back! This month is going to be super crazy because of all the students being admitted and coming to do overnight visits and doing tours. Since I am a host, I will be hosting many students throughout the next couple of months!

On other news, I have this feeling that this semester is going to be amazing and just have a feeling of good vibes! For one, I have been given the most amazing opportunity to work with Anne Bentley, a Chemistry Professor here at LC! I get to intern for one of the students that are conducting research with her. I get to see how gold and silver nanoparticles interact with each other.

I really do apologize for such short and not so lively posts but I promise that I will try to do some videos and maybe interviews with my friends!

If you have any questions or just want to talk, you can reach me at:


Here's the quote of the week:

"Don't be a drag just be a queen." - Lady Gaga

♥ Jessica