When Ellie Bodker graduated high school, she knew she wanted to attend a college where she could marry her love of technology and political science. She’d been a part of a STEM program where she discovered a passion for technology. Still, it was important for Bodker to find a college program that allowed her to explore business and communication. And the iSchool felt like the perfect place.
“I feel like I was unique in the sense that I was looking for the iSchool, but that’s really what attracted me to Syracuse University, to begin with,” says Bodker. “I didn’t necessarily want to study computer science, and I really liked that the iSchool had that balance of management and communications wrapped up into one degree. I really came to Syracuse for the iSchool.”
During her time in college, Bodker became pretty involved in the iSchool and Syracuse communities. She joined a social sorority, became a peer advisor, participated in research with a professor, and was part of the Women’s Network, where she connected with driven women from all fields across campus.
In addition to school clubs, Bodker also worked part-time for SIDEARM Sports, a technology platform that powers websites and live streams for collegiate sports. She began working with SIDEARM her sophomore year and continued to work there for three years as a Streaming Support Specialist. Her role included assisting clients with the company’s audio/video streaming services and monitoring live events. SIDEARM was Bodker’s introduction to a customer service role using both her technology and communication skills.
After her sophomore year, Bodker earned a summer internship with Deloitte, a consulting firm where she worked with one of their internal technology teams based out of Chicago. “That was the first real internship cohort experience I was a part of, and it was a really robust program,” says Bodker. “I enjoyed the work I was doing on my team, but just a lot of professional development and everything that comes with being a part of a program like that. That was a really formative experience.”
Bodker then got to combine her political science minor with data analytics as a research assistant for Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley, analyzing political ads on social media. The research project led Bodker to her thesis analyzing how social media can convey public opinion and what effect social media has on voter behavior.
Bodker’s last summer at the iSchool, she interned with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a Sales Intern. Again, Bodker used her technology knowledge and communication skills to identify customer’s long-term goals and share how they could utilize AWS. On the last day of her internship, Bodker earned a full-time position as an Associate Account Executive. She would start as soon as she graduated with a degree in Information Management and Technology in December 2020.
Even with a full-time job lined up after graduation, Bodker continued to build her resume. Entering her senior year, Bodker worked as a Technical Writing and Social Media Intern for NPR. For this internship, Bodker wrote technical documentation for one of their internal software products.
“We had visited NPR on one of the iSchool road trips to DC,” says Bodker. “The trip was all about the intersection of technology and politics, which is obviously my interest as well. And during that road trip, they talked all about their intern experience. Senior year when I had a lighter workload, it seemed like a great opportunity to get that experience. At that point, I knew I was working in a corporate technology environment after graduation, and I was excited to get that experience working at NPR and combining more of those political and technology interests.”
After graduation, Bodker transitioned into her full-time sales role with AWS. As an Associate Account Executive, Bodker sells cloud computing infrastructure. For Bodker’s role, she must understand what she’s selling, which is where her iSchool education comes into play.
“I have to know the services at a high level to be able to communicate that to people,” says Bodker. “They don’t come looking for an AWS service. They’re looking to build something or migrate something, and I have to have the technical understanding to know what that looks like on our platform. But there’s a lot of customer relations involved, which is where the business side comes. I have to collect their project scope, understand their budget, their timelines, some of those more business management, tactical pieces.”
Looking back on her college career, Bodker didn’t imagine she’d end up working in sales after earning a technology degree. She didn’t initially see how sales and technology connected. But through her internships and now her full-time job, she’s found she enjoys working with customers to help them use technology to solve problems.
“The iSchool provided a lot of really great opportunities to explore different career paths, which I found super helpful. I knew I was interested in data analytics, and there were certain classes that I enjoyed more than others, but there are so many careers that this major prepares you for. It’s kind of hard to know where to start. So participating in some of the road trips and some of the networking events that the iSchool put on really helped me narrow down what I wanted to do,” says Bodker. “The school’s also really big on experiences, like working, during college and having these summer internships and getting involved with research opportunities to kind of test out what you like and what you don’t, which helped me find somewhere where I am happy.”