Soaring Beyond: Landon and Vanessa Ellison

MEET LANDON AND VANESSA ELLISON! As we are heading into the Thanksgiving break, we wanted to highlight the successes of this couple, both individually and together. Landon is currently the Director of Outreach at UNT. Vanessa is the Sustainability Education Coordinator for the City of Denton

We asked Landon and Vanessa some questions, advice for current students, and how UNT helped them to succeed and SOAR BEYOND!

When you started at UNT, what were your plans after graduation? How have these plans changed?  

L: “I planned to be an artist of some sort and Vanessa a news anchor. I chose a career in higher education after great experiences in Greek Life and working as a resident assistant for UNT Upward Bound. I went on to earn a master’s in Higher Education Student Affairs. I am now Director of Outreach at UNT and working on a doctorate.”  

V: “I became passionate about sustainability after a UNT Environmental Science Course. I earned a Masters of Science in International Sustainable Tourism in 2015 from UNT and Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza and now I serve as the Sustainability Education Coordinator for the City of Denton. I am now working on a doctorate in Sociology from TWU. ” 

L & V: “Take opportunities that appear to you and don’t be afraid to fail. Every experience is a learning opportunity. If you do not get a position after an interview, ask for feedback, and use that information for the next opportunity. Utilize the resources UNT offers as well. There are great people here to help you. ” 

How did your program at UNT help you to feel prepared for this role? 

L: “I had the opportunity to learn from great professionals at UNT who worked in higher education. I learned as much in my student involvement as I did in the classroom. The information I learned in my undergrad coursework also serves me well in my professional field, especially my marketing and sociology lessons.”

V: “My undergraduate work in Journalism prepared me to excel in public speaking, which I do frequently. My master’s prepared me well for my current position in sustainability and educating the community on proper recycling and community responsibility.” 

How did you find your current role? 

 “Both of us knew the bringing managers previously. We both had to interview and perform, but setting a good impression in pastinteractions helped ya both get the foot in the door.”  Networking for the win, yet again! 

 What was the toughest interview question they asked you? 

L: “ The weakness question is still difficult. One time I was told my weakness wasn’t a real one and to give an actual area I needed to work on on the spot. Sometimes we’re taught to discuss a weakness that is actually a strength and flip it, but some hiring managers want to know how self-aware you are and how you work to improve. ” 

 How did the Career Center help you? 

V: The Career Center has helped us both as students and alumni. We both got help from a Career Coach for our current positions. Landon had trouble finding an internship in undergrad until a Career Coach looked at his resume. He got the next internship he applied for after that session. ” 

Want to hear more from Landon and Vanessa? Check out their testimonial videos!

 Would you like to be featured in our Soaring Beyond Success Series? Email Jeanette Hickl. We’d love to share your story!




By Jeanette Hickl
Jeanette Hickl