Ellis Alums

Ellis Foundation alumni are capable, deserving, and determined students who you are helping to succeed. Here are just some of their stories.


"Thank you for your financial support. It means so much to me that I will leave Truman debt-free, thanks to your generous contributions."

Eric, a Truman State University graduate, attended the ACS Nuclear Chemistry Summer School in both 2017 and 2018. He has accepted a fellowship position with Colorado School of the Mines in their Applied Chemistry Ph.D. program. In addition to his research and community service work, Eric also completed a minor in music, performing with the Cantoria chorale, and completing a solo piano recital while at Truman State.

Eric Norfleet

“You guys have given me the opportunity to continue conquering my goals … Helping me get into grad school will always be appreciated – you guys are never taken for granted. Assisting young adults with the cost of tuition is amazing and speaking on behalf of us all, it is greatly appreciated.”

From a member of the football team at Lincoln University, to studying with the University of Central Missouri’s football coaching staff, coaching as a graduate student at East Central University in Oklahoma, to returning to UCM as a member of the coaching staff and MBA student, Brian’s journey has always involved being a part of a team. It’s no surprise to us that he’s continued to be a member of the Ellis Mentoring team, sharing advice and support to students across the program.

Brian Smith


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“I’m ready to graduate with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at KSU. I have been applying for jobs and am very excited to take the next stop in my life. I wanted to let you all know that without the scholarship your organization provided me back in 2005 my path may have been quite different. Starting at KSU really gave me that extra motivation to focus on my studies and make something of myself. As I complete the highest degree in my field, I look back at my time as a student and realize that your organization was integral to my success. I hope someday soon to give back to your organization so that others can have the opportunity to succeed that I did.

What a wonderful surprise it was to receive this letter. Imagine sharing the credit for such an amazing accomplishment with us? We were awed and amazed then, and continue to be with Levi’s accomplishments. Levi is a shining example of the power of The Ellis Foundation and of our amazing students. Levi currently serves as an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Brandmeyer Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas, and volunteers his time and knowledge with current students at the foundation.

Levi Russell

“I hope that I will be in a position to assist those with the goal of furthering their education as you have done for me.”

Jake completed a master’s degree in Architecture at Kansas State University. As an intern with Gould Evans, Jake had the opportunity to assist in the building of a new hospital in his hometown of Harper, Kansas, and the construction of the new towers located at the Cerner Innovations Campus.  Following this successful internship, Jake accepted an official position with Gould Evans in Kansas City.

William 'Jake' Brannon


"I have found that not only is inclusion and diversity a strong passion of mine but also just the simple idea of giving back to others and helping them: just like you all have given back to me.”

Amy is a standout student and recently completed her degree in accounting. She interned with KPMG, Union Pacific, and Conoco-Phillips as an undergraduate and is on her way to completing her master’s degree in accountancy.

Amy Scott-Sanjur