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Trinity Washington University | Profile: Elle Howard

Elle Howard ‘13

Elle attended two Inaugural Balls at President Barack Obama's second inauguration as a volunteer for the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Elle attended two Inaugural Balls at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration as a volunteer for the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Elle Howard ‘13 joins the ranks of Trinity women working for the U.S. government, only Elle began her job interning for the U.S. Attorney’s office as a sophomore in college. Now a senior, she has a paid position working in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In addition to her full-time studies she works at the office three days per week.

During high school in Virginia, Elle immersed herself in politics working on the Barack Obama presidential campaign. When he won the election in 2008, she needed another outlet for her political energies. Elle volunteered for Terry McAuliffe’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. She says one of her teachers in high school discouraged her from studying political science, “but I didn’t take her advice.”

The Trinity Difference

When it was time to look for a college she and her family took the college tours. Her family encouraged her to apply to Ivy League schools. Elle is from a family of scholars, two of her siblings are in medicine, and her parents wanted her to be in a challenging environment. Elle toured those schools but they didn’t feel right. “I didn’t like the lack of diversity and I wanted an intimate community.” Then she found Trinity. Knowing that she wanted to study political science, a college in Washington, DC, seemed like the perfect place. When she toured Trinity, it just fit. “It is small, there are so many intellectual women, and it is a place where leadership is encouraged,” she says. She valued Trinity’s emphasis on social justice and giving back.

Everyone she met at Trinity, knowing her enthusiasm for politics, expected her to run for office as soon as she walked onto the campus as a freshman, but she took some time to get to know Trinity. As a sophomore she became the executive director of Trinity’s NAACP club. In April of her sophomore year, she began interning for the U.S. Attorney’s office, and junior year she was elected class president. Carrying a full course load, working, and volunteering may be a challenge for some students but not for Elle, “I always get things done,” she says.

One of her most challenging experiences in college was speaking to the Russian Ambassador in Russian. As a child growing up she knew a Russian family in her neighborhood and, conversing with them, learned the language. She says with pride that she attended a reception at the Library of Congress and had the opportunity to converse with the Russian Ambassador who commended her on how well she could she could speak Russian.

Next Step: Law School

Having had the real-world experience of working with lawyers at the U.S. Attorney’s office, Elle’s next step after graduation is law school. Once again she is taking the tours but would like to stay in Washington, DC.

Elle credits her professors at Trinity for encouraging her, mentoring her, and when needed, just listening to her. “One of my political science professors said she saw something in me and encouraged me, which made me think that I want to be a mentor. The future is about giving back. I want to be that person who can pull the next woman up. ”

The Trinity Sisterhood

Despite all her academic, leadership and professional success at Trinity, Elle says it is the Trinity sisterhood that has had an indelible impact on her. “The friendships and closeness here have meant so much—we all know we are going to do great things.” She credits the Trinity traditions for making her experience here so unique. “The Trinity traditions, the Well Sing, Holly Hop, Cap and Gown Weekend just to name a few, help connect the current generation of students to the past generation.” She says she knows friends who attend colleges that don’t have the same long-standing traditions as Trinity. “The traditions at Trinity bind us together.”

From a diverse, academically challenging environment, to career opportunities and real life experiences, to the Trinity sisterhood, “Trinity gave me all the tools I needed to succeed,” she says.


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