Faces of Rhodes

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Ellie Skochdopole ′15

Hometown: Dallas, TX
Major: Art History
Minor: French

Research interests: I would like to examine art’s influence on a culture, whether it is Ancient Egyptian, Renaissance European, or Modern American. Art is so often overlooked or seen simply as a side project for a civilization, but in reality, it is so much more—it is a visual representation of what was important to a society, whether it be religion, war, or politics. I believe art is one of the most accurate and valuable legacies of the past.

Extracurricular activities: Member of Alpha Omicron Pi; Design and Layout Editor of The Bridge, the Memphis street newspaper; Digital Assets Assistant RSA in the Department of Communications

Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.

I was very specific about what I wanted in a college—a small, liberal arts school, east of Texas, south of the Mason Dixon Line, with an easily accessible Target location. My guidance counselor suggested that I look at Rhodes, so I came for a visit. After my official campus tour and interview I got in the car, looked at my parents, and said, “That’s where I’m going to college.” The rest is history.

How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes College?

When I first came to Rhodes, I had never really spent a long period of time in any city besides Dallas.  I had never been out of my bubble nor pushed myself to do so. Coming to Rhodes has helped me expand my horizons. I am exploring subjects I had never thought I would enjoy, meeting people so different than those I knew at home, and loving every second of it. Being here has helped me to become a grounded, well-rounded young woman instead of a sheltered, naïve girl.

Tell us about your plans this summer, to study abroad in Paris. Where will you be interning and where will you be living?
 
I was accepted to the Boston University Summer Internship program in Paris, France. Needless to say, I bawled like a baby from excitement when I received the e-mail because the program is perfect for me—it allows me to study abroad while also giving me the opportunity to build my résumé. I will be taking a course on literature in Paris, where I will read works by authors such as Hemmingway, Zola, and Breton in their original context. I have yet to find out where I will be interning, but hopefully, it will be in a museum or gallery where I can further explore my interest in and passion for the arts. I will live with a French family, which I am very excited about—there’s nothing better for full cultural immersion than to live with natives!

How do you see your experience studying/interning abroad in Paris contributing to your academic career?
 
I have been studying French for almost 10 years now, and I am hoping that after my program, I will finally be able to achieve my life-long dream of fluency in a second language. Even if that doesn’t happen, I know that simply being abroad will help broaden my cultural and education horizons. I will be able to meet all sorts of new people with new ideas, which will help me to consider my own world in new ways. The exposure to the arts, especially in a city known for its artistic developments and achievements, will also be an amazing academic experience. I may want to live in Europe one day, and this experience will help me explore that opportunity.

Tell us more about your job as the Digital Assets Assistant in the Communications office. What’s a typical day like?

As the Digital Assets Assistant, I help to manage the photos and videos of the campus. I have special access to the digital archives, meaning I can explore photos taken at Rhodes as early as the 1920’s. It’s so cool to be able to see all of the changes that have happened over the years. For example, did you know that freshmen girls used to have to wear bonnets? Who knew! My job also consists of running a photo-a-day blog called Rhodes College 365. We post a different photo everyday, usually of events and people on campus. It’s pretty cool, and you should check it out!

Tags: Art and Art History, Modern Languages and Literature, Texas