Polypilot product mascot

Introducing PolyPilot:

Our AI-Powered Mentorship Program

Start your trial today

Learn More
profile picture

Ellis S

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Stanford University


Iberian and Latin American literatures and cultures, contemporary activism and social movements, humor studies, literary analysis, cultural studies, urban studies, creative writing


I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and following my high school graduation I backpacked around Europe for six months and then worked as an au pair in Spain for eight months before attending the University of Otago in New Zealand where I studied Spanish, psychology, and German. Following my degree, I went on to complete my honors at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid where I wrote my thesis on Spanish humor in times of crisis (the Spanish Civil War and the 2008 financial crisis). In 2016, I completed my M.A. at New York University in Madrid where my thesis focused on the creation of collective identity within community-established public spaces. Currently, I'm entering the fourth year of my doctoral studies in the Iberian and Latin American Cultures Department where I plan to focus on urban space and contemporary socio-political activism within Spanish, Catalan and Basque contexts. Eagerly looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Language learning

Academic or creative writing in English or Spanish

Literary analysis/guided reading of a particular literary work

Languages I know

Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, and German

Teaching experience

Most recently, I had the pleasure of tutoring international Stanford graduate students through the LOT Program (Language and Orientation Tutoring). The sessions were primarily focused on helping students hone their ability to confidently express themselves in English while also navigating American cultural norms (like how to appropriately write formal emails to professors, ask for academic help, feel at ease making small talk, etc.). Additionally, I have fairly extensive experience teaching Spanish, both at Stanford (during the 2018-2019 academic year), at the University of Otago (as a tutor), and as a Montessori kindergarten teacher.



University of Otago
BA Bachelor of Arts (2013)
Spanish and Latin American Literatures and Cultures
New York University
MA Master of Arts (2016)
Spanish and Latin American Languages and Literatures
Stanford University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Iberian and Latin American Cultures


"As an eleventh grader learning Spanish for my second year in Hong Kong, I was absolutely oblivious to the Spanish history and its culture. Being around Ellis, I can’t help but feel excited whenever we meet. Ellis has the most cheerful, wonderful, and lively personality in the whole wide world. She simplifies the concepts by providing tons of examples and stories, and provides me with tons of college-level academic articles (which I have requested for) as well as digestible comics, arts, and photographs for deeper analyses. These have enabled me to delve deeper into the complexities of the Spanish Civil War through countless lenses. I am so inspired by her charisma that I created my own YouTube channel targeted for Spanish learners (Baba oso!) and wrote a book on the Spanish Civil War in the form of a dialogue between two persons in hopes of spreading my knowledge to a wider audience. Both are something I’d never dreamed of doing. After knowing her for at least two months, I can confidently say that Ellis will do her absolute best in catering to her students’ interests as well as push them intellectually beyond their imagination. I truly feel grateful and lucky to have worked alongside such an outstanding mentor through Polygence."


P.L. profile

"Ellis made such a complicated topic easy, fun and condensed for Dylan to learn in such a short period of time. She pushed Dylan to learn to think analytically and creatively through this project. Dylan was also fully engaged during the entire process because of the abundance, varied and interesting primary resources that was made available to him which he would not have been able to access on his own. Ellis is also a wonderful teacher, full of enthusiasm and patience!"

parent of Dylan Yip

"The experience was unbelievable — being able to learn so much about World War 2 in such a short time was amazing. Ellis was the reason I enjoyed the program. Ellis was very enthusiastic and the passages and documents she sends me are very interesting and informative. Ellis's dedication and ability to prepare and contribute so much to my project shows how great the mentors at Polygence are! I highly encourage students to join this program."


Completed Projects

Interested in working with expert mentors like Ellis?

Apply now