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SAAS Summit Spotlight: Ellis Andrews ’20 talks Leadership, Service & Advocacy

Photo of Seattle Academy Alumna Eliis Andrews '20 a keynote speaker at the May 5 2024 SAAS Summit

Written By: Gena Wynkoop, Editorial Content Manager

This Sunday, May 5th is Seattle Academy’s second SAAS Summit: Civic Engagement & Social Entrepreneurship event. With an entire afternoon dedicated to spotlighting leaders who are using their entrepreneurial and collaborative skills across different industries as catalysts for effective action, one of our amazing keynote speakers is SAAS alumna Ellis Andrews ’20.

Ellis wears many hats as a fourth-year student at the University of Washington. A double major in Finance and Marketing and with a minor in French, Ellis is intrinsically motivated to serve her community and demonstrates this by serving as the Vice President of the Associated Student Body of UW.

“I’m the Vice President of the ASUW right now which means that I have a constituency of up to 50,000,” explained Ellis. “It just continues to grow every year with how many people enroll.” 

It’s a big job serving many stakeholders both internally and externally. “The role involves advocacy work in Olympia and supporting House Bills that range from aiding survivors of sexual assault to promoting higher education. These were significant pillars of my platform during my campaign. On a daily basis, however, the role transforms into more of an internal officer position. The fulfillment comes from crafting programming services that directly enhance the lives of our students."

The Associated Student Body of UW is a rare century corporation, having just recently turned 118 years old. “There’s a lot of history there. We oversee a budget of $2 million, 80 employees, 100 volunteers, and really organizing people’s efforts towards serving the student body,” explained Ellis.

Ellis has been involved since her sophomore year of college and has also served as a student senator in her sorority. The skills she needs to be an advocate and voice for others were cultivated when Ellis was on the Ethics Team here at SAAS. 

“I know that being on the Ethics Team was an incredibly relevant experience because you have to pass resolutions and argue your opinions,” she said. “There are so many different stakeholders, opinions, and considerations that you really have to think about. That’s the hardest and also my favorite part of my job. It’s complex.”

Those memories of competing on the Ethics Team are some of her fondest memories from SAAS and she was even invited back this past winter trimester to serve as a guest judge for a few practices. “The Ethics Bowl Team at SAAS right now is so wonderfully talented,” said Ellis. “The critical thinking and analytical skills that I learned at SAAS, I use every day. Especially lessons from the ethics team–those are so essential to my job now.”

And it’s a big job!

“I’m actually considered an elected official in the state of Washington,” laughs Ellis. “ I should make that like a fun two-truths and a lie. I’m subjected to a whole host of fun RCWs. You can FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] my text messages if you feel so inclined. It’s a lot of work, truly, but it’s for a great cause.”

As for post-graduation, she is interested in taking her finance and marketing major and implementing it into some sort of business operations role, but she has also tossed around other service-oriented avenues like joining the Peace Corps.

“I’ve actually floated the idea around of joining the Peace Corps,” she said. “Service is something that I’ve really valued since high school. I did a lot of volunteering and unfortunately in college that’s not something I’ve been able to do so frequently just because my schedule is kind of insane.”

Thankfully, Ellis’ schedule is open on May 5th because she’s coming back for the SAAS Summit to talk about her roles in public service! It’s always a pleasure for Ellis to come back to SAAS and when she can share what she is passionate about.

“I adored SAAS. The teachers were absolutely fantastic and I was really able to cultivate the foundation of everything I love there,” said Ellis.

At the end of the day, giving back to her community and serving as a voice is something she will always take with her.

“I absolutely love giving back to people. I think it's really important when you are in these positions of power, what the ‘why’ of how you got there is. For me, the ‘why’ was that I wanted to make campus better for people and I wanted to serve people. That’s important to me and my day-to-day, but I'm sure it will continue to be important to me throughout my life.”

To learn more about Ellis, you can find her on the keynote speaker panel at our SAAS Summit, happening Sunday, May 5th, 2024. Please visit