Student Spotlight: Ellie Higgins

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ellie Higgins. I grew up in Los Altos, California, and went to Saint Francis High School in Mountain View. The area I grew up in is known as Silicon Valley, where a ton of large technology companies are located, including Google and Apple. I am surely one of the first people to hate self-driving cars. I completed my undergraduate education at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. I graduated in the spring of 2022 with a B.S. in public health, an honors interdisciplinary baccalaureate, and minors in psychology, global health, and sustainability and environmental stewardship.
While living in Bozeman, I was a ski instructor at Bridger Bowl for several years. It was in Bozeman that I discovered my passion for hiking, climbing, rafting, and outdoor recreation in general. That passion also inspired my interest in environmental protection and sustainability. This is what led me to pursue my MBA in sustainable business practices at Duquesne University. In the future, I would like to combine my experiences in public health with the sustainable management principles I am learning in the MBA-SBP program. There is a great deal of potential change to be made in the environmental impacts of healthcare, but sustainability has been somewhat sidelined in the healthcare industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to being a part of that change in the future.

What could you give a 30-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
With no preparation, I could give a presentation on gray wolf restoration efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. From the intense boundaries their species has overcome, to the profound effect they have on the surrounding ecosystem, the story of their survival is quite beautiful to me. I also think it’s super cool that their social structures are matriarchal, unlike so many others, including much of human history. All in all I’ve always felt so fascinated by the story of the restoration, and could probably talk about it for a whole day.

Where would you spend all of your time if you could?
If I could spend all of my time in any place, I would choose Red Lodge, Montana. Red Lodge is a small rural town, at the base of the Beartooth mountain range that runs between Montana and Wyoming. The town, though small, has a ton of character. The best hiking, skiing, and whitewater rafting I’ve ever done have all been around Red Lodge. The restaurants there are also incredibly good for such a small town, and they hold a traditional rodeo every summer. A road through the Beartooth range connects Red Lodge with Cooke City, Wyoming, which also serves as the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. I would love to spend every day there exploring the mountains.

What skill would you like to master?
One skill I would like to master is knitting a sweater. I have been knitting for a few years now and I mostly make scarves and hats. Knitting a sweater entails making several different shaped pieces and weaving them all together in the end. It’s a tedious process, but I would love to be able to make a full piece of clothing like that someday.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
The most interesting place I have been is Santiago, Chile. In high school, I went there on a mission trip with a group of my classmates. We spent our time volunteering at an orphanage just outside the city, doing landscaping and helping with other activities to enhance the quality of life there. On the last day of our time there, we walked around and explored Santiago together. We visited an open-air market and a museum documenting Chile’s tumultuous political history. It was an incredibly enriching experience.

What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
In the next ten years I am excited to see where my career takes me, geographically that is. After graduation, I’m not sure if I will stay in Pittsburgh or relocate. Either way, in the next ten years I want to get out of my comfort zone and visit as many places as possible, in the United States and abroad. Short-term, I can say that I’m very excited for the trip to Portugal our MBA-SBP cohort will be taking this spring. I’ve never visited Europe, and given how tightly knit our group is I know we will have a great time.