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Twenty Facts You Never Knew About Lisa Ellis

Science Instructor Lisa Ellis poses for the camera. Photo by Julia '15
Science Instructor Lisa Ellis poses for the camera. Photo by Julia ’15

1. She once swam in 55- degree water, for fun, off the coast of Maine. “That was during my younger, foolish days,” she said.
2. Every summer, Ellis and her husband go to Massachusetts for two weeks. They spend one week in the Berkshire Mountains and the other in Cape Cod.
3. Her father was a psychology professor and his students would administer IQ tests to her when she was eight and nine, for practice. Ellis often surprised them by getting difficult questions correct.
4. She worked at another all-girls school, Hathaway Brown, in Cleveland, Ohio, before coming to Marlborough.
5. She performed with the handbell choir in college until she began having wrist problems after playing broomball, which is like hockey but with brooms instead of sticks and a ball instead of a puck. From then on, she had to play the smaller, higher bells.
6. She used to sing the National Anthem at high-school basketball games, as well as at the occasional hockey game.
7. Her family has a long history of owning Westie terriers. She doesn’t own one now, but as a child she had two: Spike and Mitzy.
8. After her freshman year in college, she got her first job: working at an information booth in her hometown, in Plattsburgh, New York. “It mostly involved showing Canadian tourists how to get to the beach,”
she said.
9. In 1986 she woke up on a freezing February morning in New York at 3 a.m. to see Halley’s Comet. “After waiting, it ended up looking like the average star,” she said.
10. She researched the sex life of algae for seven and a half years in graduate school.
11. In 5th Grade she had every Barry Manilow album ever released, which was around seven at the time. “His face bothers me though,” she said, referring to the nose job and vast amount of plastic surgery Manilow has had. “It’s like, why did you do that?”
12. She is a soprano in the staculty choir at School.
13. Paul Simon is her favorite musician, and she has seen him perform twice, once at the Hollywood Bowl with Art Garfunkel and the other time in St. Louis while he was on his Rhythm of the Saints tour.
14. Her mother unknowingly introduced Ellis to her future husband when she was in high school. Ellis’s husband worked with her mother as a math professor.
15. In college, she was in an a capella group called Polephony for a year. Although she hasn’t yet seen the movie Pitch Perfect, which is about an a capella group, she said she wants to.
16. She was on Jeopardy in 2004, but only for one episode, unfortunately. Still, she won $2000! “But the guy I played won like seven times, so I got to leave with some dignity,” she said. The final Jeopardy question read: “It began in 1886 as an extension of an upper crust family’s list of whose house they’d visit & who they’d receive.” Ellis was the only one to think of the correct answer: the Social Register.
17. She began playing the bassoon in 5th Grade and is looking for a new orchestra to play with now. “What’s great is that not many people play bassoon, so there isn’t a lot of competition for positions,” she said.
18. Before the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, many American athletes stayed in Plattsburgh, her hometown. Her family hosted two women, two men and a coach from the American archery team for dinner, and one of them, Daryl Pace, won a gold medal.
19. Her favorite place she has lived is St. Louis, where she did graduate school, because the city was neither too big nor too small, even though she said the weather in the summer is awful.
20. She was the person to tell her sister that Santa Claus isn’t real. “It was one of the greatest moments of my childhood,” she said.