Photo of Ellen Thomas

Name: Ellen Thomas
Major: Accounting 
Year: Senior

This June, Ellen Thomas will graduate from Oregon State with a degree in Accounting and a minor in Economics. Ellen is hoping to become CPA certified and work at a public accounting firm after her summer internship at Moss Adams in Portland. As a native of Tucson, Arizona she was inspired by seeing her mom take on a leadership role for her high school’s graduation party. Ellen watched as her mom changed her leadership approach from taking responsibility of everything and becoming overstretched, to learning how to delegate and give people the power to develop their own ideas. That experience helped shape Ellen’s personal leadership motto, “leadership is the ability to empower individuals to a potential they don’t even see in themselves.”

Ellen’s leadership experience and involvement on the Oregon State campus has prepared her for professional life after graduation. She is a student Ambassador for the College of Business. “Part of being a good employee is understanding people’s leadership styles including your employer’s. This makes it easier to relate to [and understand] their decisions. In accounting especially, everything is a group effort, knowing how to work well in a group and be a leader is invaluable.” Ellen is currently Vice President of Reporting for Beta Alpha Psi, an honor society for financial students and professionals and is preparing for the organization’s future by empowering younger members and preparing them to take on leadership positions. 

As a sophomore, Ellen joined Chi Omega which inspired her to become involved in the chapter. “I saw the leaders of the house when I first joined and how it [was impacting] their lives in a positive way and I knew I could benefit from that experience even though it was going to be challenging at times. As a student leader, Ellen thinks the biggest challenge is learning how to be personable and relatable to your peers while upholding and representing the standards you want to see in other people. Also, you need to be considerate. “You must look at more than the individual, you have to look at the group and the future of the group. You must have a micro and a macro view of the situation when you make decisions and be aware how they will affect members.” Ellen also advises student leaders to pick your battles. Decide what is important to you, focus on that and let the other little things go. 

Seeking opportunities on campus have greatly enhanced Ellen’s Oregon State experience. “By putting stress and strain on my decision making abilities they have improved and it has given me a confidence that I didn’t have before.” She encourages students to pursue their interests on campus and in the community because of the wide array of organizations. “If you have an interest there is an opportunity to be a leader within it and grow your abilities.”