May 15, 2023
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
Ellie Lehto Recognized During Academic Honors Program at VSU
Elizabeth “Ellie” Lehto of Savannah, Georgia, is the recipient of the 2022-2023 Clare Philips Martin Scholarship at Valdosta State University. She anticipates earning a Bachelor of Science in Education in American Sign Language / English Interpreting from VSU in May 2024. She is pictured with Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU, and Dr. Robert Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
VALDOSTA — Elizabeth “Ellie” Lehto of Savannah, Georgia, is the recipient of the 2022-2023 Clare Philips Martin Scholarship at Valdosta State University.
Lehto was recognized during VSU’s annual Academic Honors Program on April 27.
Named for the wife of the late Dr. Sidney Walter Martin, who served as VSU’s fifth president from 1966 to 1978, the Clare Philips Martin Scholarship is presented to a student with a minimum grade point average of 3.5 who is active in both on- and off-campus activities and organizations and has earned a total of 60 academic credit hours or more.
“It is an incredible honor to receive this award,” she shared. “It shows even the smallest actions can have the grandest impacts. I am grateful and honored by this recognition, but the credit belongs to the people around me who help me succeed — my friends, my family, my professors, and God. I wouldn’t be here without any of them.
“In high school, I had a very low grade point average. I felt like I was bad at school. Then I got to college and realized I wasn’t bad at school; I just didn’t have any idea of what it meant to be a student. Grades didn’t define me then and they do not define me now, even though they are exponentially better. Numbers never changed me, but people did. The people that I surround myself with at VSU help me see school in a different light — that it is not a competition but a test to see how we can help each other grow.”
Lehto anticipates earning a Bachelor of Science in Education in American Sign Language / English Interpreting from VSU in May 2024.
As a student at VSU, Lehto serves as president of the Catholic Newman Center, a leadership role she has held since her second year on campus. She participates in Blazer Ready, a beyond-the-classroom initiative that provides training in the areas of leadership development, career preparation, volunteer service, diversity and inclusion, and health and wellbeing. She was recently promoted to team lead with the Peer Alliance Learning Program and elected outreach and social media coordinator for the American Sign Language Club.
Lehto’s commitment to academic, leadership, and service excellence resulted in her earning repeated Dean’s List honors and being named a HOPE Scholar.
“After graduation, I would love to jump straight into performance and religious interpreting, but my field has endless possibilities, and I am open to trying anything, anywhere around the country,” she noted. “It is versatile, and I will continue learning for the rest of my life because of that. My ultimate goal is to start a theater on the East Coast that caters to hearing, hard of hearing, and deaf adults. With the right dream, funding, and dedication, I know I will make it happen.”
Her supportive family includes mom Rebecca Lehto; dad Christopher Lehto; brother Stephen; sisters Catherine, Natalie, and Samantha; and dog Cody.On the Web: