As an Orange City native, vice president for student life Julie Elliott never saw herself coming back to her hometown, one that seemingly lacked professional careers. However, she was proven wrong.
Before coming to Northwestern, Elliott felt the call to impact young college students since she, like many Christians, struggled with her faith during her teenage years.
She said, “I struggled a lot with how I fit in the church, am I really a Christian?”
At the age of 19, she became a single parent. She recalls this transformative time in her life and how being a parent at such a young age required her to mature quickly. When her daughter was just three months old, Elliott began attending NW.
“I had professors take me under their wing, mentor me, encourage me, and transform my life. That’s when I sensed a call. These years of college are so pivotal for defining who you’re going to be for the rest of your life, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Shortly after graduating from NW, Elliott moved with her family to North Carolina to attend Duke University, soon earning her Master’s in Christian ethics. After five years in North Carolina, she accepted a position at Eastern University in Philadelphia. Ten years later, God called Elliott back to Orange City to serve as the vice president of student life at NW.
Elliott explains her job in a very simple way: “To ensure students have a great experience outside of the classroom.”
Elliott oversees the Compass Center for Career and Calling, Residence Life, the Health and Wellness Center, student activities, intercultural development, campus security and food services.
A typical day for Elliott starts by getting her two youngest children ready for school, dropping them off and arriving at her office on the second floor of Ramaker. She spends an hour responding to emails, and then spends the majority of her day in various meetings with staff, the cabinet, students, discipline cases and Title IX.
Her faith plays an important part in her career.
She said, “It’s impossible for me to think of my job apart from [my faith]. I really believe in the mission of Northwestern College. My call in life is to help prepare students for flourishing and faithful lives in service to Christ.”
Elliott has also developed a well-received program here: Ngage.
She said, “Northwestern is very strong academically, but I thought ‘where can we talk about ideas outside of the classroom, more life issues?’”
Thus, Elliott developed Ngage, a program that prompts community growth in debated topics. Ngage takes place monthly on Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m.. Anticipated topics for this semester are the death penalty, abortion and mental health.
Elliott is also acting as the advisor for the Women in Leadership club. She enjoys her time as the advisor, making personal relationships with the members and helping them prepare for a workplace that may have resistance toward female leadership.
Elliott has also impacted students.
Junior Sarah Gelberg said, “Julie Elliott has taught me that just because things are the way they are doesn’t mean that’s the way they have to be. She has taught me that being a woman in leadership is a true gift and one that may become difficult at times, but is all for God’s glory. She has become a spitting image of what the joy of the Lord looks like.”
One of Elliott’s treasured times as a leader at the college is her time with students.
She said, “There is a richness and a vibrancy to our student life program. When I get to know our students and see all the potential they hold, it really makes me hopeful for the future. It’s a unique privilege to be able to feel like your work is meaningful and is in line with how God created you.”