Giving back by helping othersEllingson honored for lifelong commitment to learning
From her high school days when she would help fellow students with concepts they didn’t understand, to today, in presenting advanced sonographic physics technology to present and future health care providers, Stephanie Ellingson has always valued education and giving back to the community.
As a junior in high school, she recalls her first chemistry class with Nevada (Iowa) High School teacher Ronald Jacobson, known affectionately as “Jake.” She recalls his enthusiasm and advanced knowledge of science and how it encouraged the students to want to learn. It sparked an interest in science that has carried on to this day. She said that her ability to explain concepts also began to emerge with the study of science.
“I think it is the idea you should give back in any way you can,” Ellingson said. “That was a way I could. If I understood something and they didn’t, I could help them. Later they could help me with something. That same thing carried on through college.”
Jake was one of the people Ellingson honored during her acceptance speech on Jan. 29, when she became the first Nevada High School graduate to be inducted into the school district’s Hall of Honor. The Hall recognizes Nevada alumni who had distinguished themselves with academic excellence, career accomplishments, community service, personal excellence and a lifelong devotion to learning.
She recommended the current Nevada students be thankful for their education, teachers and facilities, be assertive in what they want to do, and be supportive of others.
Realizing that many times people don’t understand how good teachers are until later, Ellingson said that on reflection, she saw students in college who had not had the same foundation of knowledge that she had, and she realized the good job of teaching he had done. She said that in many ways that educational foundation was life changing.
“When I teach now, I find myself explaining things in some of the same ways he did,” she said.
Another thing that carried over from her high school days is when Ellingson teaches her students by applying the knowledge to real-life situations in a hands-on way.
Even with an application listing her accomplishments being five pages long and including her graduation from the University of Iowa, where she studied radiologic technology and diagnostical medical sonography, as well as many online courses to teaching the radiation science program at the university, Ellingson said she is unsure why she was chosen for the award. The application shows she is board certified in six areas of sonography. She is the program director of the sonography program at the University of Iowa. She said that she is devoted to teaching in all aspects of life, both professional and personal.
“I furthered my education in the area of education so I could teach,” she said.
Seeing educating others as a way of being able to help more people, she opted to instruct instead of work in the field of sonography. Ellingson said that she feels by teaching others who will then go out and help people, she will be able to help more people.
“I like seeing other people grow and find something for their lives,” she said. “I think that extends into other areas.”
Growing up, she remembers her parents, Mary Jo and Karm Kellogg, always helping and teaching others. She recalls her father helping with school athletics. Her mother also taught quilting classes.
The application also goes into many areas of volunteerism, coaching and other work she has done in the community.
In the application, Ellingson’s work on the Washington School Board was named as her “single greatest accomplishment.” The paragraph details the board’s work to improve school facilities and student outcomes.
“A board of directors is there for a reason,” Ellingson said. “They are not just a figure. They are a functional body. I served on boards in my profession and I saw things can be accomplished.”
Ellingson commented that many opportunities that exist now, such as college-level courses for high school students, didn’t exist when she was in school. She recalls in high school (Class of 1986) the resources for learning about careers didn’t exist the way they do today. It is to this end that, as a Washington School Board member, she hopes to supply the best opportunities possible for students.