By Mia Varnado
Of all the people to see and places to go on Wilson Colleges’ campus, one that all will see more often than most is Heather Ellerbrock and the One Stop Student Service Center. If we played the game of six degrees of separation, substituted with references from Wilson College, Ellerbrock, would without a doubt be Kevin Bacon.
Just as numerous as the daisy’s that grow everywhere, so are the number of persons one can run into on campus. There are people we see every day and never really know them or the role they play here on campus. Insert Ellerbrock, most know her office is in the One Stop Student Service Center, but many know little else. So, I asked, and she so graciously allowed us to discover more about her. Ellerbrock is married to Adam Ellerbrock with whom she has two children (sons) with: Liem,6 and Lucas,2. She is a graduate of Greenville College where she received her B.A. in Political Science. She likes running, baking, hiking, the snow, and cold weather. Like you or I, she’s a student at Wilson and is currently in the process of writing her thesis to achieve her master’s degree. A new skill outside of the scope of her job that Heather would like to learn is, grant writing and fundraising initiatives. I met with Heather not only get to know her a bit better but, to also understand the function of the “one stop” (as it is so fondly called on campus). I had the privilege of sitting down with her on a cold winter morning in February. Once I arrived inside of her office, it felt warm and inviting, leaving the cold air and snow outside a distant memory. Her office was neat, with drawings from her eldest son and full of pictures of her family which she describes as her most valuable possessions in the space.
As with all interviews I do, I asked Ellerbrock to draw a Wilson College Daisy and to write the words Wilson College using her non dominant hand. Ellerbrock who expressed that she is “not artistic at all” did an impressive job. She was able to laugh at herself after doing the task, which created a lighthearted atmosphere, that allowed the conversation to flow. As it turns out Ellerbrock started out as a vocal performance major in college due to her love of music and musicals. So, naturally, when asked to pick between plays and musicals she stated she prefers musicals and in the great paperback versus audiobooks debate she picked paperback. When I asked Ellerbrock to write the title of her autobiography, she named it “I Just Don’t Know.” I found this hilariously interesting, considering that in my near two years here, I have yet to ask her anything that she does not know. This is not a dig at her but more of a testament to her career here at Wilson. According to Ellerbrock, she has worked in various roles for the college since starting here in 2012.
In 2018, her title became and still is Director of the One Stop Student Services Center. Outside of that role she heads up the Work Study Program. The one stop was created in 2017 to assist students with their financial paperwork and entrance and exit counseling. It quickly grew into a place where students can pay fines, add money to their accounts, have their name badges printed out, pay tuition, and to utilize the wealth of knowledge that anyone working in there has. Although you cannot pick up your parking pass here, one should consider taking advantage of the most underutilized service that they offer which is, assistance with helping students fill out their FASA. Ellerbrock stresses the importance of “students need to file their FASA every year…as early as possible, apply for scholarships to reduce [their] out-of-pocket expenses and long borrowing and take advantage of all resources on campus.” For those who find the task of the FASA paperwork to be daunting or simply want to make sure it is done correctly the first time she recommends setting a virtual appointment for students to get help. Hours for spring 2021 semester in the one stop are currently 8a.m. to 6p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 8a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It should also be noted that the One Stop typically host financial services events for all interested students. This semester they will host a virtual literacy event around late April for seniors to help them understand the next steps of their student loans post-graduation. Not only does Ellerbrock believe that because “you pay for your education so you might as well get as much out of it as possible,” but “Students should take advantage of every opportunity that they are given, realize that their time in college goes by fast, and to try enjoy it as much as possible.” Ellerbrock emanates girl boss energy, so I spoke with Alex Coombs, the Assistant Director of the One Stop to get his take on it.
Coombs has worked at the One Stop for two years and from his time spent in the there can say that not only is Ellerbrock a girl boss, but she is also a good boss who makes her employees feel valued. Anyone who has ever worked anywhere knows the importance of having a good boss. Not only does it make great business, but it creates a great work environment for employees. He goes on to say that ”Heather always seeks the advancement or betterment of the department and has dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy to those initiatives.“ From this glowing review one may deduce that Ellerbrock is well on her way to queen bee leadership status which would be hard to argue against it being well deserved. Of all the people to see and places to go on Wilson Colleges’ campus, one that all will see more often than most is Heather Ellerbrock and the One Stop Student Service Center and if this were a game of six degrees of separation, substituted with references from Wilson College, Heather, would without a doubt be Kevin Bacon.