Sherwood native Kirsten Elliott is the director of philanthropy at The Center for Election Science – a nonpartisan nonprofit that studies and advances better voting methods. In addition to raising money for the center, she is also a “fairly new vegetarian” who said she enjoys whipping up decadent, meatless meals.
Kirsten moved to Salt Lake City to pursue a Master of Public Policy at the University of Utah. Before joining The Center for Election Science, she worked with owls, falcons, and other birds of prey as a fundraiser for HawkWatch International.
What made you choose the UALR School of Mass Communication?
“While working on my degree in political science at UALR, I realized that I’d have time to fit in another major. I was interested in pursuing a career in lobbying, so I decided that combining a degree in public relations with a degree in political science would be the best fit. What I didn’t realize was how fantastic the School of Mass Communication would be.”
What was the most important thing you took away from your studies at UALR?
“I came to UALR as a transfer student after an underwhelming semester at Baylor University. I wasn’t sure what I wanted; I just knew Baylor didn’t fit the bill. What I found at UALR was a talented, caring community where I was able to make lifelong connections and lay the foundation for an exciting career. There is SO MUCH to offer at UA Little Rock! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Who was a faculty member who made a strong impact on you and your career path?
“I had such strong professors in both my programs at UALR, but I have to give special recognition to Amy Barnes. Amy recognized that I was a strong student, but instead of just supporting me along that path, she pushed me to dig even deeper. As a result, my writing skills improved greatly and I also learned how to effectively manage others. I still think back to those lessons.”
What advice would you give to current students?
“You have more resources and opportunities available to you than you might realize … but you won’t know that unless you take the initiative to find them. Don’t be afraid of sharing your goals with your professors, peers, and others you meet. You never know who will be able to connect you with the opportunity that sets you on your future career path.”
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?
“I’m marrying my best friend this summer, and we’re excited to be making our way back to Arkansas (Fayetteville) as he pursues his J.D. One of the random hobbies I picked up that I’ll miss once I move is being able to handle birds of prey. If anyone knows of a nonprofit working with them in the Fayetteville area, let me know!”