A Love for Discovery and Learning Grows at Groves

Interview with alum Ella Beaudoin

Ella Beaudoin is currently a Smithsonian paleolithic archaeologist whose research interests span from cultural adaption and resistance to colonialism, to early hominin cultural evolution and landscape use. She has conducted fieldwork in the U.S., Kenya and South Africa.

You can read her recent December 2019 article Here’s What 2019 Scientific Discovery Taught Us About Our Human Origins in Smithsonian Magazine.

Ella BeaudoinWhen we interviewed Groves Academy alum, Ella Beaudoin, in 2016, she had just completed her junior year at American University in Washington, DC. Ella was studying Paleolithic Archeology and was working on her senior thesis focused on stone tools, edge damage, and calculating edge damage. She had been an intern at the Smithsonian where she worked on evaluating tooth marks on a modern bone assemblage. We caught up with Ella before she took off for the Koobi Fora Field School in Kenya where she will be a teaching assistant for other college and graduate students.

Ella’s learning disability was diagnosed early on. When she was seven years old she transitioned from her public school where she struggled to Groves Academy where she flourished. Ella has an abundant amount of gratitude for her parents because their advocacy for her changed her life. Once Ella arrived at Groves, she learned how to read and also began to improve in math. “My greatest academic achievement is learning to read. I can never thank Groves enough because the teachers there gave me the tools, focus and support to learn to read. I read my first entire book at age 11. I wouldn’t have gone to college let alone have dreamt of graduate school had it not been for Groves Academy.”

In addition to the significant learning strides made during her time at Groves, Ella also discovered more. “Groves let me figure out I was smarter than how I felt.” Ella commented that the teachers at Groves encouraged her by explaining that she was bright but just learned differently and with some hard work she would achieve just as much as other students, if not more.

Another key to Ella’s success was the other Groves students. “Being around other Groves students who were persevering and working with their learning disability inspired and motivated me to keep going. It also taught me patience. We live in a world where everyone is not the same as you and you need to learn how to interact with people different from you.”

When asked what Ella would say to current Groves students or students thinking about attending Groves Academy, Ella answered without hesitation, “Your disability doesn’t define you. You are just as smart and wonderful as everyone else.”

Groves Academy is proud of all of our alumni and we love hearing stories like Ella’s. Ella has a bright future and upon graduation is planning on attending graduate school. She hopes to continue to do research work and be a professor someday. Ella said, “I want to teach others because the teachers at Groves taught me that I could do things I never thought I could. I want to do the same and be that teacher for someone like me.”

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