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Flyers for Life

Young alumni spotlight: Ellen Yoder ‘16

By Ellen Yoder ‘16

Author bio

Major: Communication Management
Nominated by: Katie Burns ‘16, ‘18
Recognition area: Leadership and Service- Ellen spent the past year serving the city of Dayton and living in solidarity with her neighbors as a member of the inaugural cohort of the Marianist PULSE program. She volunteered at Mission of Mary Farm, where she taught visitors about food deserts and supplied healthy food to her neighbors. She now works as a farm coordinator for Homefull, an organization which seeks to end homelessness in the Dayton area.

The University of Dayton instilled the values of learn, lead and serve in me through the numerous opportunities I was given with the Red Scare Executive Board, Lay Marianist Formation, Campus Ministry retreats and the Marianist Exchange program to Chaminade University of Honolulu. In my final year as an undergraduate, I started to consider a year of service.

After graduation, I lived with five strangers as part of the first cohort of Marianist PULSE (Partners in Urban Leadership, Service and Education). One of the greatest parts of my year of service was the support I received and the amazing people I was able to meet along the journey. It is a joy to have a network of people who I can dream with, learn with, lead with and continue to serve with.

Becoming a farmer was not in my original plan after college or even after my year of service. It was with the help of one of my UD professors that I became comfortable stepping outside my comfort zone and exploring the endless list of possibilities and opportunities that were in front of me. As I gained a passion for urban agriculture and food justice, continuing my work with Homefull felt like the right fit. I encourage those still trying to find their niche in the world to step out and connect with those in your community. Listen and learn about what is happening around you and to where your impact and passion is needed most.

I continue to be involved with the Marianists in Dayton and work to embrace the value of community with friends both new and old. I am active in my support to the PULSE program and continue my connection with Mission of Mary Cooperative. On a more personal level, I currently attend Our Lady of Grace Parish in West Dayton. Outside my work, I am a very active person; I love exploring the MetroParks of Dayton, attending Flyer basketball games and experiencing new happenings around town. It is incredible to see how far this city has grown in just the past year and a half.

President Spina came to UD after I graduated, but I have followed his journey as he became one of us. I agree with him that UD helps to inspire and prepare students in a way that encourages work toward a common good, and I hope that I can join him in continuing to inspire. I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love every day because of the values, community and resources I was provided by my family and through my time at the University of Dayton. I am grateful to my family, friends and UD for encouraging me along my journey.

“Ellen has a talent for empowering the people around her to be their best selves, whether that be through encouraging co-workers and clients at Homefull or just being a listening ear and friend to the people she loves. If Ellen isn't exemplifying what it means to be a graduate from the university for the common good, then I don't know who is.” - Katie Burns ‘16, ‘18


Young alumni spotlights are an initiative of day10, the University’s young alumni group. Click here to learn how you can recognize a classmate. To learn more about UD programs for young alumni, visit

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