Syracuse senior, Taylor Steiner, knew she wanted to pursue a career at the intersection of technology, communication, and political science. In high school, Steiner worked on a political campaign and saw gaps in how data was being used and managed. She later worked as a Student Innovator for Google Cloud Platform. Steiner noticed miscommunication between those who understood tech but couldn’t communicate it and those who tried talking about tech but didn’t fully understand it. These experiences solidified her desire to attend the iSchool, where she felt she could build an education around her interests.
“I want to build this bridge between tech and non-tech users,” says Steiner. “Tech is such an intimidating word to so many people. But what’s great about the iSchool is there’s a range of different technical capabilities that everyone has, and you can pick your route within that. Within the iSchool, I’m able to learn the highly technical stuff, but I wanted to be in a client-facing role and have those project management skills and presentational skills to be in that role.”
Steiner spent her time at Syracuse learning about the role technology and data play in society and brought everything together in her capstone course. During this class, she worked on a project acting as a consultant to create three social programs to increase Brazil’s technical labor. Steiner creatively helped develop three complementary social programs between a state-run oil company, Microsoft, and the government. Her class presentation went well, and three months later, her professor informed Steiner he had recommended her for a research project in Brazil with Kalba International.
Because of her understanding of information and technology and her communication and political science expertise, Steiner was hired as a Research Analyst with Kalba Internationational before graduating. The company works across 75 different countries as digital connectivity advisors. This type of work would include things such as implementing broadband and ICT plans, spectrum and licensing, digital innovation, and network operations.
Specifically, Steiner works in a research role within telecommunication. Through this role, she takes her technical knowledge and communication skills to solve telecommunication problems in developing countries. “Since I have a research role, it’s so much fun for me to jump into these new landscapes and understand what’s going on and try to research with the goal to problem solve,” says Steiner. “I’m researching, and I’m gathering all these different articles, but I’m also finding gaps within that market where it’s like, ‘Okay, I’ve seen this work in other African countries.’ and benchmarking against the standards of the world and saying, ‘This is where this country can improve.’”
Through her role at Kalba International and her education at Syracuse, Steiner understood her true passion for emerging markets. “I have such an interest in emerging markets,” says Steiner. “When I started working for Kalba International, I didn’t expect to be interested, but when I was researching and found all of these opportunities in these emerging markets, it all kind of clicked. There are so many things in this world that are new, but you can jump into any role and find the innovation within it.” says Steiner
A research project Steiner worked on was about internet traffic in developing countries. Operators like Facebook and Google are deploying content delivery networks (CDNs) to reduce latency time for a consumer to retrieve internet content. Simultaneously, the operators are also building undersea submarine cables to directly service international bandwidth and connectivity. Steiner worked on researching the correlation between undersea cable usage and CDNs and quantify the impact of digital development on a country’s overall growth. “Overall it is the potential for growth and innovation that excites me,” says Steiner. “With new technology, there is always the question of integration and I enjoy navigating the unique technical, regulatory, and social challenges and implications.”
Steiner points out there are tons of emerging markets at the intersection of technology, information, and business. And this growth of new markets means increased opportunities for graduates to pave the standards for how technology and data play a role in different social areas. Steiner learned about and worked on some of the potential growth areas, including structuralizing the cannabis industry, moderating content on social media, and regulating mobile platforms.
And if there is anything Steiner credits for her preparedness in breaking into and succeeding in these emerging markets, it’s the education she received at the iSchool. “The thing with tech; there’s no black and white answers because it is evolving faster than any curriculum could. And the iSchool understands that,” says Steiner. “That’s why they give us so many opportunities to talk to current players in the field. It’s also why our classes are guided; they’re not instructed, especially when you get to a higher level. We’re not trying to achieve a consensus. We’re trying to achieve discourse. And that discourse is what allows everyone to input their ideas and try to navigate their way in the tech space because it’s interpreted differently. There’s no black and white, there’s no concrete answer. So we just talk about it, and talking about that has helped me formulate my voice and strategic thinking abilities within the iSchool. And in tech to be able to interpret it in different ways when I see it face-to-face in the world.”