Author: Nikhita Giridhar ('19)
Nikhita Giridhar [NG]: Leadership obviously comes naturally to you – what’s your earliest memory of taking a stand?
Elise Hogan (EH): I switched elementary schools between 2nd and 3rd grades and to ease the transition, my parents put me in a summer program at my new school. Part of the program was a musical production and I was very dismayed to learn that there was only one solo vocal part and that it was for a male character. I made my case for being allowed to audition for the male part and a video of the final performance may or may not be on YouTube. I made a great Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.
NG: Who influenced you the most to get to where you are today?
EH: I have almost never not taken my father’s advice. My dad is my adoptive father – he opted in to being a parent to me when he met my mother, who was raising me on her own, and I think I would have been lost at points in my life without his love and support. I know that people say that you “don’t choose your family,” but I disagree – we do get to choose, every day, through our actions and commitment to the wellbeing of others. I was never shown the way or told what to do with my career… I mean, I got to college and didn’t understand why anyone who didn’t live in New York City would care to read The New York Times. That’s a silly example, but I think a good one. I’ve been shooting from the hip this whole time and struggling with imposter syndrome, but when I check in with my dad all of the noise quiets down and I know that I can keep pushing forward. Sometimes we are both out of our depth, but he believes in me and it is amazing how just one person believing in you can change your life.
NG: Is there anything no one (not everyone) at Booth knows about you?
EH: I started studying classical singing and musical theatre at the age of 8. That turn as Jack must have really lit a fire. In high school I performed in 9 musicals both at school and at the community theatre and competed in state-wide vocal competitions, one of which gave me the opportunity to perform with the Naples (Florida, don’t get too excited) Philharmonic. In college, I was the musical director of an a cappella group called the Dartmouth Dodecaphonics and continued to perform with the Glee Club, Dartmouth Chamber Orchestra, and local opera/theatre companies. Hit me up, AudioBooth!
NG: When did you know you wanted to represent your peers as GBC President?
EH: During the first few weeks of school, I attended a lunch with Dean Kole during which I voiced some of my frustrations and fears. When I got to Booth and I wasn’t immediately happy, I was looking for someone or something to blame; I missed my friends, I felt alone, I felt out of my league professionally, and I was afraid that I had made a huge mistake. In that conversation with Dean Kole she encouraged me to run for GBC if I had ideas for how to better the Booth student experience. The longer I was on GBC and at Booth, the more opportunities for coalition forming I saw and I thought that I could assemble a team of genuinely kind, approachable people, who could be your friend and who could make you feel less lonely and who could really hear what people wanted and make those things manifest. Another Dartmouth alum, Mindy Kaling, wrote a book called “Why Not Me?” and in moments of self-doubt I ground myself with that same question. Those of you who know me know that I can roll with the punches, am very open to feedback, and have an annoyingly loud laugh. Those of you that don’t, just follow the annoying laugh and tell me anything you’d like to see improved upon at Booth. I’m here and I’m willing to put in the work to make a better Booth.
NG: If there’s one thing you want your GBC slate to be remembered for – what will it be?
EH: I know that each member of our slate is talented, kind, and genuine and wants our GBC legacy to be one of servant leadership – we are committed to the growth of this community through empathetic and open-minded engagement with all of Booth’s varied stakeholders. We want to be remembered for taking action together as a slate, the student body, the alumni community, and the administration. If you leave Booth feeling like we really heard you, we will have done our jobs.