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Ella Mode, ’15, President of Sandusky Service House

Her Campus Hollins: What is your major, why did you pick it, and what do you think are the pros and cons?
Ella Mode: I am double majoring in biology and psychology. I started off as just a pre-med biology major, but then I fell in love with psych classes and found a way to tie it into what I want to do with my life so I decided to double major. I love the interconnectedness of my two majors, but sometimes I wish I had more room in my schedule for classes other than science classes.
Her Campus Hollins: What is your greatest strength? Why do you think it’s your greatest strength?
Ella Mode: I’d have to say my greatest strength is compassion. I am very passionate about helping others and I believe that by doing so I’m able to help change the world for the better, even if it’s only in a small way.
H.C.H: Any hobbies? What got you into them? What do you like about them?
E.M: My life is pretty consumed by classes and such, but when I have free time I enjoy reading and traveling. Since I’ve been young they’ve been a wonderful escape from the rest of the world and I find that relaxing.
HCH: Who is your hero? Why?
EM: My hero is my high school Spanish teacher. High school was really rough for me, but she was there the entire time with open arms and all the love and support in the world. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and she is the reason that I was able to go away to college and continue to keep reaching for my dreams.
HCH:  How did you get involved with Sandusky? How did you get involved in service? What made you decide to take a leadership position? Have you had a lot of leadership experience in the past?
EM: I’ve lived in Sandusky since spring semester my first year. I’ve been involved with service for as long as I remember, and living in Sandusky with other wonderful women who share my passion for service really feels like a home away from home for me. I decided to become president because the former president was planning on moving elsewhere and I had some ideas to improve the house and thought that I could really make a difference. The rest of the house seemed to agree that I would be a good fit, and I was then voted in as president. Yes, I have had leadership experience in the past. In high school I was a section leader in marching band, and I also spend my summers working as a camp counselor at a leadership camp for at risk, inner city kids, and those experiences have taught me a lot about leadership.
HCH: What do you want to do in the future? Why?
EM: I want to be a pediatrician at an inner city clinic. Kids with a lower socioeconomic status are at higher risk for psychological disorders, and by combining my two majors I hope to be able to pick up on and treat the child and the family as a whole. I think that most people take healthcare for granted, but so many people don’t have access to doctors who care, and I want to be able to both improve the lives of and be there for kids who need it most.
HCH:  What do you struggle with? Why?
EM: Sometimes I struggle with being nice to myself and putting myself first. Like many others at Hollins, I’m overcommitted, and I usually put everyone before myself. I’m learning to take care of myself and that it’s ok if I don’t ALWAYS get everything done that I want to get done, but it is still a struggle.
HCH: Words of advice?
EM: No matter how bad things may seem, they will get better. Don’t ever lose hope.
HCH: What inspires you? Why
EM: My camp kids inspire me. Like I said before, I work with at risk, inner city kids. Some of them have been through unthinkably awful things but they are so strong and have so much passion for life and it always inspires me to keep fighting my own battles. I got started with the camp, Crossroads for kids, the summer after my first year at Hollins. I knew I wanted a summer camp job, but I wanted it to be more meaningful than a traditional camp, and then I found Crossroads, and it was the perfect fit. There’s also a lovely Hollins alum who’s a camp director at one of the camps. My favorite memory is my first summer of camp when all of the boys were gone on trek and camp was just the girls and we had a trash bag wedding dress fashion show and sang songs and danced all night, and the girls just let themselves have fun because there weren’t any boys to impress, and it was a night that I’ll never forget.
HCH: Favorite type of service to do? Why? Favorite service project memory you have – at Hollins or otherwise? What makes service meaningful to you?
EM: I love volunteering in healthcare settings. My favorite community service was when I volunteered at a children’s hospital. Being able to play with the kids and take their mind off of being in the hospital was so rewarding. I loved being able to bring smiles to their face. Bringing joy to others and giving back when I’ve been blessed with so much is really what makes service meaningful to me.
HCH: Favorite book – fiction and non fiction? Why?
EM: My favorite fiction book is The Fault in Our Stars because I think it is an absolutely beautiful story. My favorite non-fiction is Learning How the Heart Beats by my favorite author/pediatrician Claire McCarthy. It is my absolute favorite book because it is about her journey in becoming a doctor. She does the same kind of work that I hope to do and I’ve actually have the opportunity to talk to her about it and she is all around such inspiring person. Whenever I’m discouraged with school or whatever else, I reread her book.
HCH: Favorite thing you’ve done at Hollins? Why?
EM: Ring night! Ring night was so much fun. For the first time ever I did so many things outside of my comfort zone and really grew as a person and it was such a great experience.
HCH: Favorite childhood memory? Why?
EM: When I was in 2nd grade I was so determined to make it across the monkey bars, but it took me the longest time. I even fell off and ended up with a concussion, but I still never stopped trying until I made it across. I think it’s my favorite memory because it shows just how much determination pays off because I still remember how amazing it felt when I finally made it across.
HCH: Favorite quote? Why?
EM: “Life is a beautiful struggle.” Life is definitely a struggle sometimes, but it is so beautiful at the same time and it is so important to always look for the good in the bad.
HCH: What are you proudest of? Why?
EM: I’m proud of how far I’ve come so far in my life. I have a long way to go, but despite all the challenges, I’m still well on my way to making my dreams come true and that’s something I’m really proud of.
Writer, artist and life enthusiast, Emery is a Sophomore at Hollins University, majoring in creative writing She is from Calfornia and has a love of cats.
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