In the Light: Jacob Ellison


Senior Jacob Ellison, a Russian and Eurasian Studies (REST) concentrator with a minor in Computer Science, has been able to explore the unique fields in which he is interested as well as create and expand clubs. Ellison’s academic pursuits however, strayed from his original plans.

“I intended to be a physics major when I came to Colgate, and I took Russian language on a whim to fill out my first semester schedule,” Ellison said. “I wound up enjoying Russian a lot more than physics so I took more classes in REST and by sophomore year, I was a REST major.”

Dancefest fans may recognize Ellison from his contributions to Ballroom Dance.

“Last semester my dance partner, Avalon Bunge, and I choreographed and performed a Viennese Waltz showcase at Dancefest,” Ellison said. “This experience was one of my favorites from Colgate because it was simultaneously fun and beautiful but also totally nerve-wracking. ”

Besides the actual dancing, leading the Ballroom Dance club has helped Ellison grow in other ways. 

“Teaching dance has made me a tremendously better dancer, talking in front of 50 people has defeated any fear of public speaking, I’ve become more patient and I can better anticipate when people won’t understand something,” Ellison said. 

Ellison also leads the Russian Club and Club Climbing. Ellison started on the climbing wall as a first-year and has worked there since sophomore year. 

Ellison is particularly proud of how his clubs have grown over the years to expand their impact to a growing number of students. 

“I think whatever impact I’ve made had been collaborative between my co-leaders and me,” Ellison said. “Ballroom dance is now the largest dance club at Colgate, Climbing Club didn’t exist a little over a year ago but we competed in a competition in New Jersey last weekend and Russian Club is growing similarly. ”

Post-graduation, Ellison is planning on taking the Columbia Publishing Course and finding a job in publishing. For underclassmen with time still left at Colgate, Ellison recommends taking the lead and teaching, instead of just joining clubs. Colgate’s small size makes access to teaching more possible.

“Find something you love and become good enough to teach it,” Ellison said. “Colgate is a small community which is great, because if you become an expert at something, odds are very good that your expertise will not be redundant. It’s also just rewarding to know something well enough to share it with other people. At Colgate, the opportunity to teach what you love is so attainable and the experience is so useful, that I would encourage you to pursue it.”