Stepping into the Future

April 26, 2024

Stepping into the Future

Where can a liberal arts degree take you? These College of Arts and Sciences seniors are charting their own course as they pursue careers in the specialty coffee industry, particle physics and public service.

Great careers often begin with a seed of curiosity. With enough encouragement—and some rich hands-on learning experiences—that seed can grow into a lifelong passion.

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences have the unique opportunity to blaze their own interdisciplinary path toward the career of their choice. With dozens of majors and minors to choose from, they can craft a course of study that combines multiple interests while helping them develop the skillset they need to follow their dreams.

Find out how these three seniors are forging their own path toward success.

Tackling global health at the policy level

Kavi Shrestha’s journey from aspiring doctor to global health and political change advocate has been marked by a commitment to intersecting classroom learning with real-world experience.

“My inspiration for majoring in both political science and global health started back in high school,” Shrestha reflects. “I wanted to be a doctor, but exposure to activism led me to think at a structural level.”

Shrestha’s commitment to experiential learning is evident through his participation in programs like the Global Works International Internship in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he applied his classroom knowledge to community health work, emphasizing the importance of preventative public health messaging. He also engaged in political advocacy as student body vice president of ASUO, pushing for SNAP protection and addressing the growing Fentanyl crisis.

“Student government was a great way to combine my interests and put that classroom knowledge to use in real-world advocacy, trying to make a difference here on campus,” says the Clark Honors College student.

Beyond academics and activism, Shrestha also values the cultural events on campus, particularly those organized by the South Asian Cultural Alliance, of which he is a member.

“The Bollywood ball, the Diwali event, the Luau—these are the most fun events I’ve been to here,” he shares.


There are hundreds of people with amazing performances, really good food, and some live music. I’ve had a great time at every single event.


As graduation quickly approaches, Shrestha plans on traveling before pursuing a career in public service with a focus on health policy. His advice for incoming students echoes his own journey on campus: “Just say yes to things. College is all about the communities you’re a part of.”

Harman Singh
Harman Singh

Exploring the world’s deepest questions

While researching particle physics at UO, Harman Singh helped push the boundaries of our understanding of the subatomic realm by collaborating on the International Linear Collider project, which uses particle accelerators to answer fundamental questions about the universe.

His interest in physics began in his formative years while watching documentaries that delved into the theoretical underpinnings of the discipline.

“These beautiful equations could have the capabilities of describing the vast universe, from galaxies to the tiniest particles that build up our atoms,” he recounts. “Just the thought of being able to contribute to this field to understand where our place is in the universe and how everything around us works sounded fascinating.”

Beyond his work in the lab, Singh also participated in the Department of Comparative Literature’s Nomad program, which provides a unique opportunity to examine the concept of time from both scientific and social perspectives.

“We wrote a paper that explored the concept of time,” explains the Clark Honors College Student. “As a physicist, this was interesting to me since our understanding of time has evolved over the history of physics to be understood as more fluid.”

After graduation, Singh plans to pursue a PhD in theoretical particle physics at the University of Pittsburgh. He advises incoming students to “nurture your curiosity and creativity,” emphasizing the importance of approaching scholarly pursuits with an open mind and a thirst for knowledge.

Lena Wehn
Lena Wehn

Blending chemistry, community and coffee

Lena Wehn has her sights set on a job that perfectly blends her passion for scientific inquiry, cultural exploration and vibrant community: the specialty coffee industry.

“It’s one of the most loving fields I’ve ever witnessed,” shares Wehn, who will graduate with a major in multidisciplinary science and double minors in chemistry and food studies.

Her decision to study multidisciplinary science was motivated by a desire for flexibility while pursuing a unique career path.


“I liked the choose-your-own-adventure aspect of multidisciplinary science,” explains the Clark Honors College student. “I felt like I could use that and build my scientific path to an industry advantage.”


Working in the Chris Hendon Coffee Lab, where she delves into the chemistry of coffee using electrochemistry, Wehn emphasizes the practical application of classroom knowledge to real-world challenges faced in the specialty coffee sector. She also enjoys the sense of community nurtured by the lab’s public coffee hours.

“It’s truly been the highlight of my every week,” she reflects. “They have been the most fantastic social hours. I’ve made so many amazing friends just by being behind this coffee bar all the time.”

An equally important and impactful experience for Wehn was her study abroad experience in Quito, Ecuador.

“Any travel where you spend a long time in one place is fantastic for broadening every aspect of yourself and pushing boundaries,” she says. “I got to explore a country I never thought I’d go to, and Ecuador is a coffee-producing country, so getting to be there and learn so much about the specialty coffee industry and production was special.”

For incoming students, Wehn offers advice grounded in her own experiences. “Get involved in research that you like,” she encourages. “It has truly shaped my career path and my life.”

—Codi Farmer (psychology, ’24) is a communications assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences.

—Video by Hannah Heckart, Henry Houston and Milla Ly, College of Arts and Sciences