About the Author

Ellen Kirtner

Ellen Kirtner is a second-year law student at Case Western Reserve University and a Kent State University PRKent alumna. After finishing up her degree at Kent State, Ellen moved to the west side of Cleveland and began studying at Case Western. Ellen has lived in Northeast Ohio her entire life, growing up in Olmsted Falls.

Law school keeps her fairly busy, but her convenient location in NEO lets her stay involved. Ellen has volunteered her time with the Gordon Square Market, the Cleveland International Film Festival, and other events like the Sparx City Hop and Gay Games 9. Ellen also loves enjoying live entertainment at the region’s many amazing venues, shopping at local markets, and eating all of the amazing vegan food the region has to offer. Even though she’s always called Northeast Ohio home, she has yet to find a shortage of awesome new places to check out.


One of the best things about being a student in NEO is the variety of awesome internship opportunities. For Ellen, those experiences have included internships at PlayhouseSquare, the City of Cleveland, and a start-up in Hudson. After such amazing work experiences as a student, Ellen hopes to stay in the region after graduation to begin her legal career.

To learn more about Ellen, visit ellenkirtner.com or follow @ellenkirtner.

My Ten Favorite Things in Northeast Ohio:

As a life-long Northeast Ohioan, I have had the opportunity to experience so many awesome parts of the region. Below is just a sampling of everything I’ve come to love about living in Northeast Ohio.

The people.

From the inspiring small-business owners I interact with everyday, to my amazing past internship supervisors, to my awesome neighbors I’ve met at markets and bus stops, this region is full of amazing people.


The major arts organizations.

There is never a shortage of awesome opportunities to interact with the arts here—and better yet, these experiences are affordable even on my student budget. I study just steps from the phenomenal (and always free!) Cleveland Museum of Art, the Akron Art Museum is a short drive away, and we have the second largest theater complex in the nation (PlayhouseSquare!).


The hidden gems.

Just as important, however, are the small arts organizations, galleries, and events that might require a little more digging to find. While living in Kent I was so blown away by the work displayed at the School of Art Galleries and by the amazing students I interacted with.


The food.

As a vegan in Northeast Ohio, I have the most amazing dining options at my fingertips. Mason’s Creamery churns out small batches of the best ice cream I’ve ever had, Cleveland Vegan serves up an amazing brunch even my meat-eating friends would love, and Happy Dog dishes out veggie dogs with so many awesome vegan toppings I never have the same dog twice. I could go on and on!


The Coffee.

As I’ve mentioned before, Northeast Ohio is a fantastic place to grab a great cup of coffee, and the offerings have only gotten better since I wrote my post. The awesome new tea shops (Tea Lab, Cleveland Tea Revival) in the area have also helped convert me to a part-time tea fan, as well.

The RTA.

I was a casual campus bus rider during my time at Kent, but now that I’ve moved to Cleveland, I’ve gotten to know many of the bus lines quite well. The system here is easy to navigate and is only getting better with new additions like the 55/Cleveland State Line that makes getting from my neighborhood to Downtown Cleveland even easier.

Downtown Kent.

While the City of Kent is in some ways almost unrecognizable from the city I moved to as a freshman undergrad, the major development in the city has stayed true to the vibe of the town. It remains one of my favorite spots to visit for an afternoon of coffee (of course), tacos, shopping, and live music.

The Metroparks.

I am so extremely lucky to live in a neighborhood just walking distance from Lake Erie and the wonderfully updated Edgewater Beach. The Metroparks took ownership of the beach during my second year living in the city, and the results of all of the Metroparks’ hard work was impossible to miss. I love biking to Edgewater (especially with its Bike Box), visiting the dog beach, and enjoying having such a beautiful park so close to the city. While Edgewater is closest to me, I love visiting the other amazing outdoor spaces the Metroparks operates throughout the region.


The schools.

I have had phenomenal experiences studying in the region, both at Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law. No matter the field you’re interested in, you can find a great educational experience here in Northeast Ohio. With great experiential learning opportunities to support the work done in the classroom, students can get a well-rounded education without ever needing to leave the area.

The weather.

While the winters can sometimes be a challenge, I have come to love the seasons here in Northeast Ohio—particularly now that the RTA is in charge of my morning commute.