Alexus Ellis '21

December 10, 2021

Checking off her bucket list items, which included going to Disney World and attending college, Alexus Ellis ’21 will graduate from UNC Wilmington on December 11, earning two degrees in criminology and sociology with plans to follow her dreams of becoming a homicide detective and ultimately an FBI agent.

“Criminology has and forever will have my heart,” said Ellis. “Knowing I wanted to become a homicide detective was a no-brainer for me, because there are so many unsolved cases and families that are damaged.”

Ellis’s firsthand experiences have led to her desire to make an impact and one day close her own criminal cases.

“My family has been through a lot with the criminal justice system and seeing inequalities growing up within the system has pushed me to want to make a difference within the community,” she said. Using my motivated, caring, big heart, I want to show people at the roughest time in their lives that someone is there for them.”

Born and raised in Raleigh, NC, Ellis first attended Wake Tech Community College, where she earned an Associate of Science degree. A self-described extrovert, she has also juggled working part-time since she was 15 years old. She credits her most challenging experiences for developing her drive and perseverance to successfully pursue her education and career goals.  

“I hope to never give up, no matter how hard or difficult things can be. Not everything in life can be handed to you or made easy, so in those hard times when you are stuck and do not know where to go, it is important to push through it and remember why you started that career path in the first place.”

A member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Ellis has made an impact on campus, serving as an Orientation Leader, a Transfer to Teal tour guide and a Seahawk Link volunteer – all opportunities to be a positive role model and resource for students new to UNCW. She is also among the first class of students to be inducted into the Hubert A. Eaton Honor Society, created to celebrate Seahawks who have exhibited a high level of scholastic achievement as well as community involvement.

“I have put in a lot of sleepless nights and stressed so much over the past five years, so to be recognized within this honor society is just amazing. It means the world to me to be acknowledged and noticed for my hard work, especially as an African American student. There is so much that has happened over the past few years and being a part of this is a win, not only for me but for my communities that I belong to as well.”

More than 5,400 guests are expected to attend UNCW’s 101st Commencement Exercises, including one of Ellis’s biggest mentors, UNCW Transitions Program Coordinator Kenyetta Corley. Corley has a background in law enforcement and has been a sounding board for Ellis.

“I think the world of Alexus,” said Corley. “She has the ability to go forward and do amazing things, not just in law enforcement but also in her community. She’ll be a positive force wherever she lands.”

-- Krissy Vick