Elyssa Stine '10
What brought you to Eagle Hill School?
The local public school I attended had class sizes of over 26, and they did not recognize my individualized learning needs in the way they should have. I was teased mercilessly for taking exams in what the kids called the “special” room. One of the teachers told me that I would never make it to college. The private schools in my area weren’t much better. When a neighbor dealing with the same issues had immediate success at Eagle Hill, my parents were overjoyed to learn about it. Eagle Hill was truly unparalleled when it came to individualized attention. I never had more than six total kids in each class, and my grades improved almost immediately. I became an honors student my second year, which was something I never thought I could do. It was like I had finally found people speaking my language. I’m proud to say I proved the aforementioned teacher wrong when I not only made it to college, but achieved a 3.7 overall GPA at Drexel University, a prestigious college in Philadelphia.
Describe your Eagle Hill experience.
At first, it was difficult being away from home, but I quickly grew acclimated thanks to a number of really amazing teachers and staff. Everyone was so dedicated to making sure students were thriving. I made friends quickly and learned how important a regimented schedule was. Going from classes to sports to dinner to study hall, etc., really kept me focused. Even as an adult, I still always similarly structure my days to increase my success and general well-being. For example, exercising at sunrise prior to the workday and always trying to eat meals at the same time truly helps me prosper.
What have you accomplished educationally and/or professionally since EHS?
I moved to New York City immediately after attending Drexel University. My first real job was in Financial Services, specifically Investment Banking. I worked at Guggenheim Securities in an administrative support role and absolutely loved it. After two years, I was ready for more of a challenge and moved to the buy-side, going through a rigorous interview process before landing a similar role at a prominent London-based hedge fund with an office on Park Ave. After realizing Investment Banking and the sell-side were more for me, I started at TD Securities, my current position. Over the years, I worked my way up and now hold the title of Business Support Officer. The benefits, retirement match, and overall culture in Finance are outstanding and well above average. I’ve truly enjoyed my career thus far.
After meeting my boyfriend, we decided we wanted bigger closets and better weather, so we moved out of our Upper East Side apartment and headed to Dallas, TX, which I absolutely love! I am still working at TD Securities remotely. After adopting an adorable Italian Greyhound, we are actively looking at houses in Dallas and preparing for marriage and beyond. I am most proud of the fact that my parents have never once had to help me financially since the day I graduated college.
How did the faculty at EHS impact you?
Mr. [Anthony] Westcott inspired me to focus on my creative writing. I have always loved to write, and while I no longer do it outside of the workplace, it has led me to other things. For example, I have performed in a few different live, paid, sold-out shows in the NYC stand-up comedy world. I still write jokes and hope to perform in Dallas as well.
I also was heavily involved in theater at EHS, and that helped me evolve. I have loved performing since I was a toddler, so it was great getting back into that later in life. Mr. [Harold] Burnett pushed me to be great on stage, and I’m so glad I took his classes.
When you think of three words associated with EHS, what are they?
Revolutionary, inspirational, and progressive.
What are your long-term goals?
I hope to stay in Dallas for the foreseeable future. After boarding school in Massachusetts, college in Philly, and then NYC for six years, I had never owned my own car because it was completely unnecessary. I can proudly say I finally now own a car, which was a huge deal. Next up is a house and hopefully a few more houses down the line. I’d love to stay in Investment Banking, but I think I will eventually move into a VP of Operations type role. I’d like to continue my various charity roles, including working with more organizations that support survivors of sexual assault.
If you had to give any advice to a current Eagle Hill student, what would it be?
Always advocate for yourself. One of the best things I’ve learned in life is that you will never get it if you don’t ask for something. I have benefited tremendously from being the exact opposite of a wallflower—even that “Can I have a promotion” line has actually worked for me. Usually, the worst that can happen is someone declining, so always speak up for yourself and at least try.
How did Eagle Hill prepare you for college and your career thus far?
Aside from advocating for myself, Eagle Hill taught me to be vocal about my learning styles. I obviously don’t tell anyone that I’m a visual learner in the workplace, but for example, I do have people email me rather than call. I was already very organized when I started at EHS, but I honed that skill through a heavily structured day. I still plan everything in advance and keep track of it all in a calendar, which was another requirement for one of my classes at EHS.