Jordyn Tomlin, Class of 2017

Ellis senior Jordyn Tomlin traveled to Nepal over the 2016 summer as the awardee of the Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56 International Travel Grant for the Global Empowerment of Women and Girls. Inspired by the documentary Girl Rising in eighth grade, Jordyn’s passion for working with girls was realized in Nepal where she worked to improve access to education in rural areas. Not only did she see firsthand the obstacles girls face in Nepal, she brought that knowledge back to Ellis to empower her classmates and educate them on global issues. This fall, Jordyn will attend Columbia University where she plans to study Music and Anthropology and hopefully have the chance to travel abroad again.
How did Ellis support your dream of going abroad?
Ellis really exposed me to global issues starting in eighth grade with the leadership and globalization class. I’m really grateful for that exposure because it made me care about something that wasn’t directly affecting me. Then in Global Leadership by Design in eleventh grade, we worked with refugee women from Bhutan and Nepal which really opened the doors for me in terms of my trip abroad. Ellis has taught me to be very independent. At Ellis, you are challenged to think critically and problem solve. When I was in Nepal, if I didn’t know what to do I would think to myself, “Okay - what would an Ellis girl do?!”

How did your experience in Nepal change you?
It definitely changed me a lot, I gained a lot of independence. I had a lot of freedom in Nepal which gave me time to explore and reflect. Everyone in Nepal is so happy and carefree which taught me to be present in the moment and enjoy myself. It’s given me the ability to step back from what I’m doing, take a break, and notice everything around me. Nepal changed me for the better.

Do you hope to study abroad again in the future?
Yes, definitely. I’d love to study abroad in college, maybe even multiple times. I want to travel the world and go back to Nepal as soon as possible. It would be so great to go back and see the people I consider family now.

What have you learned about leadership as an Ellis student?
From Ellis, I’ve learned that there are different kinds of leaders. In Student Diversity League, I’m co-president with another student and we complement each other very well. I’m more go with the flow, and she’s more hands-on and it works really well. I realize now that I don’t have to be doing everything to be a leader. Ellis has also taught me that leaders come in all shapes and sizes. You need a different leader for every situation. In some, I’m better suited because of my experiences, but I now know that I don’t have to be an expert at everything to show leadership qualities.

What does your future hold?
I’m going to Columbia University in New York City and I plan to major in Music and Anthropology. Hopefully after that I will go to grad school for Forensic Anthropology. I’m really excited to be in New York and put myself out there. As a highly selective school, I know it will be challenging like Ellis, but I’m ready to prove to myself and to the world that I belong there.

Was there a teacher at Ellis who had a particularly strong influence on your life?
Dr. Corbesero helped me apply for the Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56 International Travel Grant for the Global Empowerment of Women and Girls and choose the program in Nepal. She has really inspired me to be leader. She has been such a motivational force, with Nepal―she told me I can do this, I have the potential, and was just really reassuring throughout the entire process. She was so confident that I would do well in Nepal that it motivated me to put my best foot forward.

Favorite course at Ellis?
Spanish. Mr. Gaddess has taught me a lot about Spanish and there is never a boring day in his class. Even if we’re doing an AP practice exam, I still have fun because he’s so lively. Mr. Gaddess brings a positive energy to learning the languagehe’s not just teaching us how to speak Spanish, he’s also teaching us about songs, movies, and the culture there. His class makes me love Spanish.

What is your best Ellis memory?
My best memories all come from the musical these past two years. Whether you’re interested in STEM, or art, or you’re an athlete―the musical is the one place where everyone comes together for a common purpose. It brings together Upper and Middle School girls and at the end, everyone is so proud of the accomplishment and show, no matter what you’re into or what grade you’re in.

What woman inspires you and why?
My grandmother. As a single mom, she worked so hard to make sure her kids were okay and looked after. Even though she is really diligent about work, she still has a childish nature and never shows any stress. It’s always fun to be around her, I want to be like her.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Spontaneous. Outgoing. Diligent.