Education People

Q&A with PACS Director of Finance and Academic Affairs Beth Elliott

Beth Elliott and husband Ryan (center) enjoy a day at the beach with sons Jack, Tommy and Connor.

Beth Elliott finds her greatest professional joy in watching the development of young professional students in the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (PACS), and her favorite destination is the “happiest place on Earth”.

What is your title and how long have you been with PACS?

My title is director of Finance and Academic Affairs. I’ve been with PACS since 1997, when I was hired by Bill Clark for a position at Central Institute for the Deaf (CID). At that time, CID operated the graduate programs through an agreement with Washington University, and when PACS formally transferred to the School of Medicine in 2003, I also made the move. Prior to that, I worked in Neurology for a year, and before that, a variety of odd jobs in college, from an overnight Labor & Delivery unit clerk to making pizzas to interviewing prisoners as a research tech.

What are some of your responsibilities as director of Finance and Academic Affairs?

Elliott and husband Ryan attend a recent Cardinals game.

I’m responsible for the financial and administrative oversight of the undergraduate and graduate programs. That includes things like budgeting, accreditation, recruiting, admissions, curriculum development, and policy development. Basically, anything that affects our applicant, student, and alumni populations falls under those umbrellas, but I could not do it alone. There’s an amazing group of support staff in PACS who make the place run day in and day out.

What do you like most about your work here? What is most challenging?

My favorite day of the year is when I make calls to applicants to let them know they’ve been admitted to the program, and my second favorite day is commencement. The students who come to us are all bright, enthusiastic, and want to make a difference in the world. It’s rewarding to watch their journey from prospective student to alumnus, and I love that WashU can be a part of their goals.

The hardest part of my job is also what keeps it interesting – no two days are ever the same.

What spare time activity brings you the most joy?

My husband and I have been married for 24 years and we have three sons. Our two oldest are both away at college, so I look forward to any time we can all be together, but it doesn’t happen very often. We had one week this summer when we were all free, so we took advantage of that and spent the week together at the beach.

The Elliott family during one of their many trips to Disney World.

Is there a special something at the top of your bucket list, and why?

I’ve always wanted to go on a safari in Africa. That’s the big one. It’s been on my list since I was a kid and it would be the ultimate adventure.

What are Beth Elliott’s favorite things?

I love horror and suspense movies. My favorite alternates between The Shining and Rear Window.

My favorite indulgence – depending on my mood – would be either plain glazed Krispy Kreme donuts, Starbucks, or mom’s homemade mac & cheese.

What would most surprise your colleagues to learn about you?

I am a huge Walt Disney World fan and I go as often as I can. In 2014 and 2015, I was invited to work on contract with Disney Parks helping guests plan their vacations by answering questions online. It really was a dream-come-true kind of experience, since I also got to go behind the scenes in the parks and go to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World for media events. It truly is the “Happiest Place on Earth.”