Medallion Scholar eyes law school

Portrait of ASU grad Ella Gallagher.

Ella Gallagher, a Medallion Scholarship recipient, is graduating with a bachelor's degree in business law.


Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2022 graduates.

For Ella Gallagher, changing society’s dependence on fossil fuels is of primary importance. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native said that society hasn’t gone far enough in exploring ways to use electricity as a power source.

“It’s a modern miracle that we can use electricity to power a car now, but what about a plane?” said Gallagher, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business law from Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business and is a Medallion Scholarship recipient.

The Medallion Scholarship program, the ASU Alumni Association’s signature scholarship initiative, is a four-year educational program focused on leadership, scholarship and service.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I chose business law as my major by no accident. I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was a kid and I had taken marketing and entrepreneurship classes throughout high school. I decided business law was right for me because it seemed like a great combination of my interests and strengths. Here I am, three and a half years later, and I’m preparing to go to law school next fall.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: In my time at ASU, I learned that you are your biggest advocate. Do you feel like all you do is sit in your room and wish you had friends? Join a student organization! Do you feel like you deserve a higher grade on an assignment? Follow up with your professor! Not sure what your post-grad plans are? Take advantage of all the career support services ASU offers! Of course, all of this can be summed up to say, “You will only be as successful as you are persistent.”

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU for so many reasons. I am an in-state student, and I grew up in an ASU alum family. I grew up listening to my dad talk about how much he loved ASU and all it offered him. In these last few years, I have been able to have my own ASU experience that I’ll be telling my future kids. ASU has given me lessons in the classroom about academics, but it has also taught me lessons outside the classroom about life. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I think the most important lesson I’ve learned while at ASU is from Dr. Jacob Affolter. He taught my Philosophy 105: Intro to Ethics class in the fall of 2019. The basis of this class was to focus on several of the major philosophical issues about ethical and unethical behavior and determine if there was some universal moral truth. Through this class, I learned that the world is not black and white. We studied a number of theories of ethics, and ultimately, I needed to know which theory was the “right” one. Dr. Affolter told me that there is no answer. These theories are simply possible rationales to explain human behavior and morality. Here I learned that the world is complex and that most questions cannot be answered succinctly or even at all.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My best advice is to remember that college is just as much about experiences as it is about education. These four years are some of our most formative, and you’ll find you do little to no “growing up” if you spend all your time going to class and doing your assignments. Join a student organization! Go out to dinner with your friends on a school night! Skip your Friday class to go on an adventure! Remember that you are a person first and a student second.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus to meet friends for a mega homework session is definitely the third floor of Hayden Library. There are so many great spaces to work in groups or individually. I am especially fond of the big worktable in the back left corner of the floor, but I have been known to get a lot done in a quiet study room.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: My post-grad plans are to work through the spring and summer as an office administrator for a small firm before going to law school next fall. I’m currently finishing up my applications, but hopefully you’ll see me downtown at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Those who know me know I am obsessed with the price of gas. I am hardwired to be aghast at anything over $3.50/gallon and reminisce about when gas was $2.10/gallon when I started driving. If I had $40 million to solve one problem, I would tackle our reliance on fossil fuels. The operative word being “tackle.” I think $40 million is a great start to changing the way our world functions. But it is scary to think how dependent we are on a dwindling resource. I think the best place to start is in continuing to develop technology in electric cars. It’s a modern miracle that we can use electricity to power a car now, but what about a plane? Developing infrastructure is critical to tackle this problem. With $40 million, we can start to develop something almost futuristic to begin to solve these problems. Wouldn’t it be cool to power our cars through electricity in a similar way to a subway?