Sophie Estep thought she wanted to study biology or neuroscience in college. But “in an interesting turn of events,” as she recalls, she decided to submit an undergraduate application to Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. Soon after, she learned she could dual enroll at Newhouse and Syracuse’s School of Information Studies, finding a newfound love of the two different fields of study.
“I felt I matched some secret, superpower dual degree together. The combined program taught me a host of elements and skills needed cross-industry – design, communication, technology, business, ethics, client delivery, copywriting, presentation, and research skills,” says Estep, who graduated in 2020 with her bachelors’ of science in public relations and information management and technology.
Since 2020, Estep has been using her multi-talented skills at EY, where she began working as a staff consultant in Business Transformation and has since been promoted to senior consultant in Innovation and Experience Design.
“Beginning my first full-time, post-grad job at a consulting firm afforded several career possibilities I think many Syracuse grads are hungry for: networking with professionals diverse in education and experience, a chance to dip your toe into several industries, and teams and mentors with a collective goal to be problem-solvers of business’ toughest issues,” says Estep. “It’s a can-do environment to try new things and learn from a whole host of greats as they teach you, but give you the space to shine as well.”
EY is a global professional services organization that works across several areas, including auditing, consulting, law, strategy, tax, and transactions. Since she began working at EY, Estep has supported her clients through many business- and communications-based projects, many regarding unique challenges caused by the pandemic.
“It allowed me the chance to try new approaches in public health communications and education,” says Estep. “I’ve learned so much about communication processes rooted in human-centered design. We keep that mindset central to anything we’re working with our teams – it’s so important to build and design solutions beneficial for the humans at the center of it all.”
‘Scrappy, Alternative Thinking’
Estep is working to earn her master’s of science in education at The College of Saint Rose in New York, but she credits Syracuse with helping her “constantly question the status quo.”
“I try to bring that optimism and scrappy, alternative thinking we learned from the foundation of the iSchool to my work,” she says.
At Syracuse, she especially loved professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley’s class, Data in Society.
“It opened my eyes to how much there is to figure out in this world of swirling, living information,” says Estep. “Many of our prior iSchool classes discussed situations that were finished, set, and repeatable – like Python or SQL coding, HTML web building, or information presentation best practices – but Data in Society discussed ethics and problems yet to be solved. I still think it’s fascinating how my colleagues and I are the generation solving these problems, and navigating more to come.”
One of her passion projects at Syracuse was being a founding member of Kappa Theta Pi Professional Technology Fraternity (KTP) in 2017.
“We started a community, which feels so great to say after it taught my friends and I many life skills as we introduced KTP to the iSchool. I cannot believe the ongoing effort, love, support, and belief that it’s wrapped in today on campus,” Estep says. “When I meet an iSchool intern at EY, recruit in person, or join alumni events, I’m moved when people reference the impact KTP has had on their experience, the friendships it has fostered, and the continued support from alumni, professors, staff, students, and members.”
Estep hopes future Syracuse graduates will feel the same support and connection that she has experienced since launching her career.
“I love surrounding myself, both personally and professionally, with people who champion new ideas born from a mix of research and pure creativity,” she says. “The iSchool celebrates that, and the whole university does as well. I truly feel optimistic about the coming generations and know Syracuse will always have a key role in empowering communities to champion growth, explore new successes outside of the status quo, and fight for changes to some of society’s most broken systems.”