Alumna Spotlight: Liz Elliot



After graduating in spring of 2021, Liz Elliot teaches kids in second grade at Lake City Early Childhood Center.

After changing her major twice and testing out several potential areas of interest, FMU alumna Elizabeth “Liz” Elliott found her career calling as an elementary school teacher.    

“Being able to be there for my students and have an impact on their lives is so rewarding,” Elliott said. “For some of my kids, the highlight of their day is coming to school and being loved on by their classmates because many of them do not get that at home. I love being able to witness those interactions and see how they positively influence the child.”   

Elliot began her time at FMU as a nursing major, but she quickly realized she was too sensitive to continue in that field. She then decided to try out business instead, focusing on human resources. During her time as a student, Elliot worked in the service industry. There, she gained experience with HR roles and decided it would not be a good fit either.    

“I was at a point in my schooling where I was not sure exactly what steps I wanted to take next,” Elliott said. “But then I got a job working with children at the YMCA one summer, and I fell in love; I changed my major to early childhood education as soon as I could.”   

After graduating in the spring of 2021, Elliot received offers for teaching positions in a couple of school districts surrounding the Florence area but felt drawn to Florence School District Three (FSD3) in Lake City. She said her top two choices were a 3K-5K Montessori position or a second-grade position, both in FSD3. Ultimately, she accepted the second-grade teaching position at Lake City Early Childhood Center because one of her fellow graduates would also be working there, and she knew the principal well.    

Going into her first year of teaching, Elliot said she was most nervous about doing everything alone, without the help of a cooperating teacher to tell her what to teach. Surprisingly, it was even more challenging than she expected.   

“Teaching alone and having so many children counting on you to help them learn can be intimidating,” Elliott said. “Luckily, my coworkers have been more than willing to help me out and give me advice, and my mom is a kindergarten teacher, so she has been a big support.”   

While she was a student at FMU, Elliot was a Teaching Child of Poverty (TCOP) Scholar and a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Honors Society. When she graduated, Elliot wanted to continue feeling connected to the school she would be working for, so she joined an events committee at Lake City Early Childhood Center that plans celebrations throughout the year.    

“I’m only in my first year, but I love my job,” Elliott said. “I feel like I am exactly where I was meant to be, and I am looking forward to everything the future brings.”   

Throughout her entire journey, Elliot said she is the most thankful for the amazing support she received from her family, friends and FMU professors. A significant memory that stands out to her is the kindness she received during her junior year when she experienced a stroke due to severe migraines. Although Elliot was forced to miss two weeks of school, she said, with the help of her peers and professors, she was able to catch up, and did not have to sit out a semester.    

“With changing my major twice, I had already added on an extra year to my time at FMU,” Elliott said. “Having a stroke was a major setback, but I was determined not to let it control me; my professors helped so much with that.”      

Elliot said she would not change a thing about her time at FMU. Although it took her a year longer than she hoped to graduate, it gave her the chance to explore her career options, and she was able to graduate with a major, two minors, and absolute certainty in her passion for teaching.