LU fellowship recipient John Ellis blends art, technology to serve community
For The Record- Staff Report
John Ellis, a senior computer information science major from Bridge City, has found a unique opportunity to give back to his university and community. Ellis was recently awarded LU’s 2017 Presidential Summer Fellowship, a newly established award of up to $10,000 for summer research to the top two finalists in the application for the Beck Fellowship.
“With the Presidential Fellowship funding my project, I’ll be able to create a unique unification of the arts, technology, and management. This will not only make me more skilled for my future career, but I’ll also have some insight into how to benefit similar organizations in and outside our area,” he said.
Ellis balances his talent for technology with a passion for music as a drum major in the LU Marching Band and clarinet player in the LU Wind Ensemble. He will mix his love for both fields by researching the information technologies used by nonprofit organizations that sponsor drum and bugle corps programs, like Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!) in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He will then use his findings to create an IT model for future use by other nonprofits and small businesses.
“We live in a very digital world. An organization’s success is almost synonymous with its proficiency in digital outreach, marketing, management, and the like. What I hope to make is a model for anyone interested in starting a nonprofit or small business can use. When I finalize the model, I’ll give it to the Center for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship on campus, where it can be made available to anyone,” he said.
Ellis says his motivation for the project is his desire to give back to the organizations that have supported and inspired him.
“As someone who has been involved in music programs and in the marching arts, I’ve always been attracted to the drum corps activity. It’s a fantastic venue and opportunity that helps students grow to become better performers, educators, leaders, and most importantly, better people. That’s why I’m so attracted to these organizations,” he said.
“Coming to Lamar, my love for these things has flourished. With marching band alone, I’ve been able to work with some of the finest and talented students on campus,” he said. “They’ve made the experience so enjoyable for me. Even as a non-major, they’ve made me feel a like a part of one of the greatest families on campus.”
Ellis says that his project will do more than benefit nonprofit organizations and small businesses; by contributing his research to LU’s Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, he will give Lamar University the means to serve the community, gain recognition and stimulate growth.
“It’s a challenging world with a challenging economy, especially in keeping up with newer technologies. I’m hoping to create a clearer understanding of unique ways of working, promoting greater outreach, efficiency, and success,” Ellis said.
Ellis will receive funding from the Presidential Fellowship as well as from the Office of Undergraduate Research to cover all costs of the comprehensive project. His faculty mentor is Kami Makki, professor of computer science.
Ellis works as an intern in Lamar University’s marketing department. He plans to add a minor in business and finish his bachelor’s degree in May 2018, then attend graduate school at LU. His degree plan will allow him to complete his bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Business Administration within five years.
Ellis has earned a place on the President’s List twice. He is a recipient of the Cardinal Scholarship, the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music Scholarship, the Motiva Enterprises Student Achievement Scholarship, the Texas Interscholastic League Foundation Scholarship, the American Real Estate Endowed Scholarship, the Charles & Susan Gordon and Julia Gordon Gray Memorial Scholarship, the Dr. William “Bill” Nylin Scholarship in Computer Science, and a Lamar Marching Band Participation Scholarship.