Elizabeth Boone: Rising star in student personnel

Elizabeth Boone
Elizabeth Boone. Marc Studer photo

By Sean Park
For her commitment to the success of fellow students, Elizabeth “Ellie” Boone received an Undergraduate Rising Star Award in November from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Boone, a University of Washington Bothell senior majoring in Community Psychology with a minor in Education, was one of only six students across the country and Canada to receive this honor.

Boone was lauded for her outstanding leadership skills, for contributing significantly to programs that benefit students and for helping to maintain a positive campus culture.

Commitment to service

As a member of the Club Council in Student Engagement & Activities, Boone is responsible for working with club leaders on their many programs and activities. Given that there are nearly 100 student-led clubs and organizations on campus and only six Club Council officers, this can feel like a daunting task.

But Boone, who has an interest in a career in student affairs, said she enjoys the collaboration.

“I love my job because I like to connect with students who are making a difference on our campus,” she said. “Just knowing they are so passionate about growing or starting something motivates me to lock in and do my part to help them achieve their goals.”

Boone already had several years of experience in student leadership when she took on this job, beginning in high school and through two years at Cascadia College where she was hired to be the chair of the Cascadia Activities Board. “I was shocked to be put in a leadership role, but I took the opportunity seriously and had a lot of fun working with my team,” she said.

These efforts were recognized in her second year at Cascadia when she was named the 2017 National Association for Campus Activities Outstanding Student.

“Ellie is someone who takes risks, puts herself out there and takes advantage of every opportunity presented to her,” said Shandy Stomieroski, assistant director of student Life at Cascadia College. “She is the type of leader who shares successes and failures with her teammates — and pushes herself and others around her to be the best version of themselves.”

Working together

Boone transferred to UW Bothell in her junior year and was already on the radar of the Student Engagement & Activities staff as a potential student leader. Through joint events with Cascadia, they knew of her involvement and accomplishments.

“Ellie has displayed remarkable leadership since her first year of college,” said Sam Al-Khoury, director of Student Engagement & Activities. “When she transferred to UW Bothell, our whole team was ecstatic that we would have an opportunity to bring on such a talented person to our student leader team.”

Boone said her favorite parts of her Club Council job are helping club leaders with planning, budgeting, recruiting and outreach. She also likes to lead by staying in the background.

Carla Christensen, assistant director for Student Engagement & Activities, appreciates Boone’s empathy for club leaders and event organizers. “Ellie knows they are all deeply committed to their clubs,” she said. “This understanding has helped her be a more effective Club Council member.

“She has shared with me that when she finds herself in sometimes challenging circumstances — such as when club leaders don’t follow processes as outlined — she reminds herself of their passion and the work they do to serve their club members, and she is better able to guide them,” she said.

Added Boone: “I tell myself, if they didn’t care so much, they wouldn’t be trying so hard. I have to remember where their emotions come from in those situations. All eyes are on them, and I want them to be successful.”

Continuing to grow

Boone was not aware she had been nominated for the Rising Star Award by Christensen and others who have worked with her so was surprised when she received an email headlined, “You have been nominated for an award!”

“At first I thought it was spam and ignored it,” she said. “But then I looked at it again and realized my advisers were listed as the nominators. A few weeks later, I received another email saying that I won the award.

“All I remember after that,” Boone said, “is calling my grandma and crying on the phone for like 20 minutes and feeling incredibly blessed to be in this position.”

Boone hopes other students follow in her footsteps and urges her classmates to take advantage of all the activities and resources that are available at UW Bothell.

“Our campus is very student-focused, so speak up, suggest changes you want to see and believe will benefit the school,” she said. “Every student has the power to start or change something, why can’t it be you?

“The focus on students has really helped me,” Boone said. “I’ve had opportunities here to learn and grow as a leader that I wouldn’t have elsewhere. I feel very lucky.”

Imagining the future

Boone was recently accepted into graduate school where she will be pursuing a master’s degree in education.

And while she is interested in continuing to work in higher education, she admits to still being open to other paths as well.

“I’m the type of person who likes to explore different opportunities and learn new things, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I start in higher education and end up somewhere else,” said Boone. “I plan to always work with students so I will take every opportunity that helps me best support them.”

Student, left, consulting with Elizabeth Boone.
Nomungerel Natsagdorj, left, a social justice organizer, consults with Elizabeth Boone. Marc Studer

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