Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education Ambassadors

The Watts Williams School of Education Ambassadors are a diverse group of student leaders who represent and serve as a voice for undergraduate students of all majors/minors within the school. Ambassadors host recruitment events/activities and offer support to prospective and fellow undergraduate students while creating a more meaningful experience in the school.

Serving as an Ambassador is a significant honor within the Watts Williams School of Education. Ambassadors will have the unique experience of serving as a student leader and voice for their peers among faculty and staff, and assist the school in recruitment and retention of highly qualified students.

The program advisor is Jennifer Strange and Alice Rickards ’24 and Elizabeth Small ’26 are co-leading the organization. Meet the 2023-2024 Watts Williams School of Education Ambassadors below.

Photo of Ella Allen '26.

Ella Allen '26

Ella Allen is a sophomore from Frederick, Maryland majoring in Mathematics with Teacher Licensure. She chose Elon because of the opportunities provided by the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education, the possibility of studying abroad, and the wonderful community! She is an active member of Kappa Delta sorority, serving on the Support and Accountability board, and serves as the 2026 cohort class chair of the Teaching Fellows program. She is also an Elon 1010 peer educator and orientation leader. She is interested in research with combining the arts and mathematics. Ella will be studying abroad in New Zealand this spring but looks forward to returning to campus, continuing her teacher preparation, and welcoming new students as an ambassador!

Photo of LilyClaire Alpert '26.

LilyClaire Alpert '26

LilyClaire Alpert is a sophomore from Westchester, New York majoring in Elementary and Special Education. She is looking forward to connecting more with the School of Education and meeting the amazing future educators within the school. She chose Elon because of the School of Education’s numerous opportunities to connect with students through placements and volunteer work. So far at Elon, she is involved in Kappa Delta, The Village Project, Circle K Club and the Elon Elementary garden club. She is excited and proud to represent the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education and welcome prospective students to learn more about it.

Photo of Leann Beckham '26.

Leann Beckham '26

Leann Beckham is a second-year Elon and NC Teaching Fellow from Mebane, NC. She is majoring in Mathematics with a Teacher Licensure, as well as minoring in Coaching and Statistics! Education has always played such a large role in her life growing up as many of her family members are teachers. Naturally she was drawn towards Elon’s School of Education early on! She is involved in Kappa Delta, Alpha Phi Omega and serves as the Communications chair for her Teaching Fellows cohort, as well as being a student worker in the Teaching Fellow office! In the Alamance County community, she’s had the privilege of being part of the first graduating cohort of the Alamance Scholars Program, as well as coaching at one of the local volleyball clubs! She is excited to become more involved in the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education and can’t wait to see what is in store for this year!

Photo of Rachel Deegan '25.

Rachel Deegan '25

Rachel Deegan is a junior from Kingston, New York majoring in Physical Education and Health with minors in exercise science and coaching. Elon stood out to her because of the unique classes and experiences both in and out of the classroom. On campus, she chose to involve herself in a chair position in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, as well as involvement in Autism Speaks and Club Lacrosse. She enjoys being an ambassador and getting to know prospective students interested in Elon’s program. She truly feels lucky to be a part of the program at Elon and all that it has given her so far.

Photo of Hannah Hanson '25.

Hannah Hanson '25

Hannah is a junior majoring in Secondary English Education and minoring in Poverty and Social Justice and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The School of Education at Elon University has provided her with opportunities to pursue every aspiration, so she looks forward to sharing those opportunities with incoming students. When not working in the Curriculum Resources Center, Hannah enjoys her involvement at the Writing Center, Elon Academy, and Omicron Delta Kappa leadership organization. Hannah is deeply dedicated to education and lifting the voices of others. She eagerly awaits starting the year and meeting some fantastic future educators!

Photo of Lindsey Hefty '25.

Lindsey Hefty '25

Lindsey Hefty is a second-year Teaching Fellow from Lawrence, Kansas, and is majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. She chose to attend Elon because of the extensive amount of classroom experience students are offered both through placement and volunteer work. Educators hold an important role in creating a better world for all, and the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education at Elon prepares future educators to do just that. On-campus, she serves as her teaching fellow cohort’s class chair, is a resident assistant in the colonnades neighborhood, works in the Teaching Fellows office, serves as a . She is incredibly excited to continue to become more involved in the school of education and cannot wait to create change through education!

Photo of Lily Hill '25.

Lily Hill '25

Lily Hill is a junior elementary education major with a minor in early childhood. She is from Hingham, Massachusetts and is extremely excited to represent the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education as an Ambassador. She is studying education because she has always dreamed of being a teacher and thinks it is so amazing how educators can make such a large impact in the lives of their students. The Watts Williams School of Education at Elon stood out to her compared to other education programs because of its hands on approach to learning and one-on-one time with the students in the classrooms. She is involved in Relay for Life: entertainment committee and was a student orientation leader. Lily is going to study abroad in Australia and learn about the importance of outdoor education and environmental education.

Photo of Carolyn Hornor '25.

Carolyn Hornor '25

Carolyn Hornor is a junior elementary and special education major from Amherst, New Hampshire. The Dr. Jo Watts School of Education is one of her favorite places on campus, especially the CRC! She is studying education because some of her teachers were her biggest supporters through all her levels of schooling and she hopes to be that for her future students. She loves the education program here at Elon because you get to partake in hands-on classroom experiences with real students from the very first education class you take. Other things Carolyn is involved with on campus is her sorority Sigma Kappa, Club Tennis, and works in the Curriculum Resources Center (CRC). She is so happy to be an Education Ambassador and get to share all the amazing things the education program encompasses!

Photo of Mandi Jaffe '24.

Mandi Jaffe '24

Mandi Jaffe is a senior studying Outdoor Leadership Education and Communication Design double major with a minor in Environmental Education. She is from South Florida. Mandi has two on-campus jobs, she works as a trip leader for Elon Outdoors through RecWell and an Eco-Rep for the Office of Sustainability. She is in Alpha Chi Omega and is the Assistant New Member Educator as well as on the Hillel executive board as DEI Chair. Last fall she spent the semester in London, studying abroad and doing an internship for Ashden whose mission is to accelerate transformative climate solutions and build a more just world. This January she is headed to New Zealand to learn about eco-tourism. She is excited to meet those interested in experiential education and be able to share her experiences with those interested!

Photo of Alice Rickards '24.

Alice Rickards '24

Alice Rickards is an elementary education major and a fourth year Teaching Fellow. She is from right outside Philadelphia! She is a teacher candidate in the School of Education because of the professor-student partnerships, research opportunities, commitment to engaged learning and a phenomenal support system for those passionate about education. She is a tour guide, a member of an all-gendered service “fraternity” and involved in the Elon Outdoors club. She is incredibly thankful to have the opportunity and privilege to be part of the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education, Teaching Fellows program and the Elon community as a whole. Alice is coming back to Elon from a semester abroad in New Zealand with the teaching fellows and looking forward to welcoming her younger brother as a first year phoenix!

Photo of Veda Skog '24.

Veda Skog '24

Veda Skog (she/her/hers) is a senior studying Outdoor Leadership Education and Strategic Communications with a minor in Leadership Studies. Veda is from Anoka, Minnesota and is an Odyssey Scholar and Leadership fellow. She also works at Elon Outdoors where she takes her peers on backpacking trips around North Carolina. Veda has a long-standing passion for music which can be seen through her heavy involvement with the on-campus bands and the record label, Limelight Records. Last Spring, she spent the semester studying abroad in Sorrento, Italy where she interned at a sailing school. This January she is going to New Zealand with Mandi where she is going to learn about ecotourism. Veda is excited to meet those who are interested in talking about experiential education, she especially enjoys pondering thoughts about the intersectionality between identities and the outdoors!

Photo of Elizabeth Small '26.

Elizabeth Small '26

Elizabeth Small is a sophomore from Roanoke, Virginia majoring in Elementary Education with hopes of becoming a kindergarten teacher. She enjoyed her time as an ambassador her freshman year and is excited to co-lead the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education ambassadors. She also loved her time at Elon Elementary where she student taught in a kindergarten classroom for her spring semester of her freshman year. At Elon so far, she is involved in Kappa Delta as the Director of Administration, EFFECT Feminists as the community outreach chair, SUB street team, and she volunteers at the boys and girls club with America Reads. She can’t wait to see what her sophomore year holds as she gets to take on new leadership roles within different organizations such as her sorority and the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education.

Photo of Ella van Gerven '25.

Ella van Gerven '25

Ella van Gerven is a junior majoring in mathematics with teaching licensure and minoring in dance and psychology. She is from Lincolnshire, Illinois. Ella has been very grateful for the opportunities that the Dr. Jo Watts William School of Education has given her. She has participated in It Takes a Village since starting at Elon University and has loved her time at the Boys and Girls Club. One thing that has really stood out to her was that the minute she was in an education class, she was in a classroom doing hands-on learning. Ella is also involved in her sorority, Sigma Kappa, and works at the Campus Recreation and Wellness. Ella is so excited to continue her journey as an Ambassador and can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Photo of Morgan Wecht '25.

Morgan Wecht '25

Morgan Wecht is a junior from Chesapeake, Virginia majoring in Elementary and Special Education. Morgan is following in her parents’ footsteps by attending Elon University and planning to go into the education field in her hometown. She has always known she wanted to be a teacher by volunteering her time in previously attended schools and continuing to do internships with her former teachers. During her junior and senior year in high school, she participated in the Teachers for Tomorrow Program. Morgan has been awarded a Guaranteed Teaching Contract from Chesapeake Public Schools after she graduates from Elon. While on campus, she works in the Admissions Office and volunteers her time at the Boys and Girls Club. She enjoys her time in the Teacher Education Program, and especially working at Grove Park Elementary School. Morgan is excited to share her classroom experiences with prospective students looking to major in education at Elon.

Photo of Zach Weitzen '26.

Zach Weitzen '26

Zach Weitzen is a second-year Elon Teaching Fellow from Westchester, New York. He is majoring in Middle Grades Education with a concentration in Social Studies and a minor in Psychology. Elon stood out to him because of its small class sizes and amazing professors and opportunities that the university can give. On campus he is involved in Hillel, as an Engagement Intern for the class of 2027. He is also involved with the Center for Leadership as their Leadership Education Intern. He is also extremely excited to continue serving as an Ambassador and talking with prospective students!!