By Sarah Stringer ’12, Staff Writer
After 12 years of helping prepare Scripps students for almost every level of their lives after Scripps, Career Planning & Resources Special Projects Manager Julie Elliott now finds herself navigating the same situations that she has helped countless students face. At the end of the semester, Elliott will be moving with her family to Baltimore, Md., leaving the Claremont community and establishing new networks in her future hometown.
“I’m going to lose my close friends here, but it’s a lot of what seniors will do, too,” Elliott said. “It’s just the transition to life outside of this amazing place, and it’s been amazing, it’s been a great 12 years.”
Elliott’s husband, Heath, has just started a new position with development at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. While he has already started work in Baltimore, Elliott has decided to remain with their two daughters—one of whom is in third grade, one of whom is in kindergarten—until the end of the semester, at which point she and her husband will pack up and move to the east coast together.
Elliott was born and raised in the south, and she admits she knows virtually nothing about the area where she will soon be living. Now, Elliott realizing she is taking the advice she normally gives students in terms of networking and building connections.
“I’m trying to tap in to whoever I know on the east coast,” Elliott said. These efforts have already started to pay off. “I feel like I’ve already got people that, once I’m there, will help me make connections in the neighborhood.”
This personal networking has also led her to some possible career prospects. While not searching for professional contacts, Elliott has already communicated with the career service departments at three universities in the area, and has even heard of one potential part-time position. Still, Elliott said that her main pri-
ority will be helping her children adjust, and taking time to get acclimated herself to the new environment. She adds that she is looking forward to this time of transition, which will allow her to reflect on her own goals and objectives.
“There’s part of me that’s excited about the adventure of it. I could reinvent myself,” said Elliott. “I haven’t really given it much thought, because I really like my work in career services, but maybe I could do something else in higher education. Maybe in taking some time off, I can do some of the work we encourage our students to do, and really consider if is there something else I’d like to do. I’m excited about taking some time to figure it all out.”
Elliott has always been dedicated to her family and her career, two driving forces that have, at times, proved difficult to negotiate. She has been open in sharing about her own process of finding a work-life balance; in 2010, the Scripps College Magazine profiled her perspectives on these issues. Previously serving as the director of career services, Elliott found that she was unable to spend as much time with her family as she thought necessary. This ultimately led to a breaking point, when she went to then Dean of Students Deborah Wood for help. Together, they came up with a new part-time position as Special Projects Manager for Elliott to fill.
“I have been so blessed to be able to work part-time here at Scripps, and to be able to be at home in the afternoon with my kids,” Elliott said. “I really cannot say how fortunate I feel that I get to do both things that I love.”
Elliott began working at Scripps in 1999. First working in the CP&R office in Steele Hall, Elliott was involved in the office’s move to its current location in Seal Court in 2000. Elliott has since served in almost every position with CP&R. She has been intimately involved in several projects, including launching CX,
PHOTO COURTESY OF SCRIPPS COLLEGE
the Claremont-wide administrative database for faculty, staff and students that has been essential in integrating the various offices and the different Claremont institutions and keeping everyone up-to-date. Life Connection and the academic portal are all part of this network that Elliott helped to create with her 5C colleagues.
Another major project that Elliott has particularly enjoyed has been building relationships with faculty in Keck Science to be able to better serve Scripps students in the joint science program. This project has involved everything from large-scale programming efforts to providing sample science resumes with input from Professor Armstrong and Professor Wiley. The results of Elliott’s efforts are now in the CP&R service booklet, and have helped students represent their experiences effectively to potential employers and graduate schools.
“It’s been neat to hear that something that’s come out of a coffee conversation in Seal Court has made an impact,” Elliott said.
Along with this desire to reach out to students in all different disciplines comes Elliott’s appreciation for the overall diversity of student interests. She says that she is delighted that students are always coming up with new ideas and challenging her to learn with them in her role as a career counselor. This year, Elliott has helped students who are considering everything from consulting, to pharmacy, to sports broadcasting.
“The students continue to impress me and challenge me,” Elliott said. “What I love is that we learn together. Our students are always trying to do unique things that fit for them. I don’t think there’s a typical Scripps student, at least not in the work that we do.”
The legacy that Elliott hopes to leave is not so much a specific program, but a spirit of genuine caring and support among students and colleagues. She says that team built over the years has been a great source personal and professional fulfillment.
“A lot of our work is individual, but we’re all in it for the right reasons, and we’re going to work as hard as we can to make students feel comfortable walking in and getting the support that they need,” Elliott said. “They’re more than just students. It runs deeper than that.”
As everyone in the Scripps community will eventually discover, there is a life after Scripps. Elliott will be embarking on the next stage of her journey at the end of the fall semester. After having made 12 years’ worth of footprints on the community through the CP&R office she has been integral in shaping, Elliott which will continue to help students decide their own next steps.