Ellen Jorgensen ’23 from her balcony perspective on the world

student in an outdoor setting

Ever since she was a child, Ellen Jorgensen ’23 has been intrigued by the power of perspective. Growing up in Harlem, she would peer over the edge of her balcony, wondering if the pedestrians below ever realized they could look so small. Then, looking up at the jets overhead, she would imagine the feeling of pressing her head against an airplane window, looking down at her home, indiscernible from the lattice of buildings packed onto the skinny island of Manhattan. As she grew up, Ellen nurtured her fascinations by delving into anything that offered a new balcony from which to see her world.

In high school, Ellen used her interest in perspective to fuel a deep love for learning. As an interviewer at her school paper, she was able to explore the passions and expertise of the people around her. Later, as an editor, she was able to gain insight into the way her writers thought through problems and ideas. However, nothing satisfied her more than the in-depth point of view that could be offered in the sciences. She loved the way that science was really just the practice of asking questions, even those that are impossible to answer. The scientific method demanded that she approach questions from every perspective imaginable as she began to see how everything in the universe, from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy, could be used as a vantage point for new ideas and solutions.

Currently, Ellen is in her second year at Syracuse University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Earth Science, a minor in Physics, and excitedly exploring so much more in the College of Arts and Sciences. Earth Science as a field can only be understood through the manipulation of perspective. In order to record temperature data from millions or even billions of years ago, you must be able to measure the ratios of mere molecules and atoms. The combination of micro and macro frames of reference is what attracts Ellen to the Earth Sciences.

On campus, Ellen is a part of The Kumquat, a satirical news organization, and assists in a paleoclimate research lab in the Earth Science department. At The Kumquat, she enjoys twisting and rearranging the goings on of campus in a humorous and often expository light. In the lab, she works with sediment samples to extract information and patterns from ocean temperatures over three million years in age. Talk about perspective-altering! Working with such varying scales and mediums allows for a new balcony from which to see her world nearly every day.

As a new member of the Blackstone LaunchPad team, Ellen will be working as an Orange Ambassador, exploring the myriad of incredible projects and creative minds that the Syracuse community has to offer. The position is generously funded through a gift from Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture) who is Minister of Evolution and President of the Republic of Tea. Rubin created these roles to help entrepreneurial students continue their “orange experience” at Syracuse University.

In this new role, she is most excited to explore the varying ways that contributive and innovative people perceive their own impact on their respective communities. How do you identify need? How do you reach a solution? How do you entwine these concepts into a feasible plan of action? In some way, everyone approaches these questions as they face their everyday problems, but every once in a while, someone truly fantastic is able to answer them in an unprecedented way. It is her hope that exploring the perspectives of such an engaging cohort of people will open her eyes to a new frame of reference – a new balcony, if you will.

Story by Ellen Jorgensen ’23, LaunchPad Orange Ambassador, photo supplied