Telling our story
What's your personal “elevator pitch” about Elon? Here are five key messages for you to share.
Every member of the Elon family experiences it—that moment when someone says, “Tell me about Elon; I’d like to know more about it.” It’s an opportunity to spread the word and be an ambassador, but how do you begin to describe the people, academic programs and opportunities that make our university unique?
The best place to start is with your own experience, explaining how Elon has transformed your life in powerful ways. In most cases those personal stories will reinforce five key distinctions of an Elon education. To help you get started on creating your personal “elevator pitch” about Elon, The Magazine of Elon provides this outline, with examples of students who are rising to new challenges, pushing beyond expectations and preparing to become the leaders our world needs.
We are a tight community: student-to-student, student-to-professor, student-to-alum.
On any given day, senior Zachary Fisher can be found in one of the labs in McMichael working on his Lumen Prize research with Associate Professor of Biology and Japheth E. Rawls Professor Yuko Miyamoto. Since Fisher first started studying the molecular signaling role of fibroblast activation protein in cancer cell migration, Miyamoto has been by his side guiding every step of his research journey. “She has helped me learn to develop focused research questions, experiment with techniques to get successful lab results and most recently present my research story to audiences,” he says. So far, the biology major has been able to verify the presence of the protein on a cell line—taken from a non-affected region of a cancer patient—he purchased for his project. Though he says his finding is just the first step, identifying the protein in a purchased cell line is significant because it allows him to perform his research in new ways. Outside academic conversations, the two often discuss Fisher’s non-science interests, which revolve around his passion for service, career and life goals. Having such an ally has been priceless. “Dr. Miyamoto has been a terrific mentor, academically, professionally and personally,” he says. “I feel that I can share all my thoughts and concerns with her, which is an invaluable quality in a mentor. She truly embodies the Elon professor model as a teacher, researcher and mentor.”
You’ll find Elon students learning in every corner of the world.
When senior Alyssa Adler signed up for January’s “Field Biology in Belize” course, she had one goal—say “yes” to everything. Within the first few days of her stay at the La Milpa EcoLodge and Research Center deep in the tropical forest, that personal commitment meant joining her classmates in holding a tarantula. The terrifying experience was followed by completing lab exercises on plant species and leaf cutter ants, taking an intense night hike while searching for poisonous snakes and scorpions, learning traditional dances from a teacher and her students at an elementary school, and visiting the Lamanai archaeological site to learn about the ancient Mayan culture. The Belize course was Adler’s third Winter Term study abroad experience, following previous courses in Costa Rica and Samoa. She is an environmental science major and a student manager for Elon’s Loy Farm, and she is considering entering the Peace Corps following graduation. She says study abroad has provided essential cultural and scientific experience in other countries as she prepares for a career related to the environment and agriculture. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the Elon bubble and just think about yourself in this college,” Adler says. “But being able to study abroad and get a world experience opens up your mind to new perspectives and ideas. Then you can take them home and implement them in your own life and gain a better understanding of how the world works and how we should interact with people.”
We learn through experience, so we make sure an Elon education is filled with opportunities.
Senior Michael Bodley and junior Leena Dahal spent a week in November conducting video interviews with world technology leaders as part of Elon’s Imagining the Internet team that covered the Global Internet Governance Forum in Brazil. The experience was just the latest of many opportunities the two have had during their time at Elon. Besides traveling to New Orleans, Philadelphia and Austin for college media conferences representing The Pendulum student newspaper, Bodley completed an internship at The Baltimore Sun in 2014 and spent 10 weeks last summer as part of the Carnegie-Knight News21 investigative reporting initiative, with work published by major national publications, such as The Washington Post and NBC News. “Elon has ensured that I’ve learned a great deal outside the classroom, providing me with the kind of real-world, real-life experiences that are a true difference-maker in the job market,” Bodley says. Dahal is an Elon Lumen Scholar studying post-disaster communication strategies in her native nation of Nepal. She is also researching refugee resettlement in Greensboro, N.C., with her mentor, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Mussa Idris. As an International Fellow, she has traveled to several cities to learn about American culture, politics and society. “At Elon, engaged learning isn’t just a phrase on a website or classroom syllabi. It’s intrinsically woven into everything we do,” Dahal says. “All of these real-world and hands-on experiences I’ve gained here have supported my growth as a student, scholar and most significantly, as a human being.”
Environment for Learning
Our campus is more than a pretty place. It’s a setting that breeds powerful collaboration and sparks bold ideas.
When Kayla Harvey first came to Elon, she was immediately struck by the beauty of its campus. But as time went by, she discovered there is more to Elon than a great first impression. “I recently met up with a family who was touring Elon and I realized that while walking around, I wasn’t focused on showing them the gorgeous locations on campus, but rather on all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had while at Elon,” the senior public health major and Elon College Fellow says. Opportunities like the concussion research she has conducted with Professor of Exercise Science Eric Hall, which has allowed her to develop her own question, collect data, analyze results, present her findings at conferences and write a paper for publication. In addition to research, Residence Life has been an integral part of her Elon experience. Having worked for two years as a resident assistant and a year as a residence area coordinator, she has not only helped other students grow, but has also grown herself. “It has taught me to be a leader, to think critically and to challenge myself to be the very best I can be,” she says, adding her Residence Life experiences convinced her to pursue a master’s degree in higher education. “It has truly been the out-of-the-classroom opportunities I have had that have defined my Elon experience and paved the way for my future.”
We’re restless, in all the right ways. And we are creating leaders the world needs in the process.
Shakori Fletcher ’16 remembers arriving on campus as a first-year student and feeling inspired by the drive, dedication and passion of faculty, staff, students and alumni. “It’s as if college being a time to find yourself takes on a new meaning at Elon,” she says. “There are always incredible stories of how someone perfectly found their niche and is excelling in the perfect marriage of their passions and abilities.” These experiences emboldened Fletcher to combine her passion for business, media and sales and create her own path. When she walks on stage in May to receive her diploma—she majored in broadcast and new media and minored in professional sales and statistics—she will do so confidently knowing she has what it takes to set herself apart in a competitive job market. In her time at Elon, she has interned in the Office of Admissions, worked as a sales associate for The Pendulum, served as a sales intern for EMC Corporation, Turner and NBCUniversal, and completed a fellowship with the International Radio and Television Society Foundation. She has also successfully competed in regional and national sales competitions. “My time at Elon has taught me to focus on doing the things that matter, for reasons that matter,” she says. “It’s about finding your passions, chasing your passions and diving in headfirst at the sight of things that you truly believe will make a difference.”