For Eli Modlin, much has changed over the years — except the scenery.
That is because Modlin, 26, was named the chief of staff at Salisbury University shortly after he spent five years at SU working toward his degree and bouncing between his current role, deputy chief of staff and director of government and community relations.
A political science-turned-communication arts major, he quoted how “luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity” to describe what he found at Salisbury.
However, it was not a one-way trip from the classroom to the office of the president.
After spending five years at the university — three and a half of which were spent in part as an SUTV news anchor — Modlin was determined to pursue a career in broadcasting.
He had already been able to meet Maryland’s governor, mayor and legislators through SUTV, which he credits as eventually helping him land the chief of staff position.
Professor David Burns, who served as SUTV’s faculty advisor during Modlin’s tenure with the club, was impressed by the then-SUTV president and general manager’s “innate ability to understand SU’s unique position both on Delmarva and throughout Maryland,” ultimately leading to great expansion and recognition for the club.
Under his leadership, SUTV was recognized as SU’s Outstanding Registered Student Organization.
Yet, just days away from signing a contract with a local news station, Modlin received a call from the Comptroller of Maryland Office and agreed to join as a special liaison officer, feeling he could fall back on broadcasting but should take this chance.
Eventually, he would go on to return to his alma mater, now serving as chief of staff and director of government and community relations, simultaneously managing the operations of the office of the president while also maintaining community partnerships by working with local and state officials.
Modlin said he “bleed[s] maroon and gold,” and that each day at work, the pleasure is all his.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to work at an institution this special. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to be a student at an institution this special,” Modlin said.
Dr. Maarten Pereboom, the dean of the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, worked closely alongside Modlin as they collaborated on a video project commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Fulton School, calling him “a consummate professional.”
Pereboom regards Modlin as someone who “keenly understands both the nuances and the importance of our relationships at the state and local levels of government.”
Hailing from Catonsville, Maryland, Modlin was first drawn to Salisbury because of its reputation for accommodating students so well.
“The staff and the faculty really care about the students, inside and outside the classroom,” Modlin said.
Modlin suggested students seek out clubs and internships that cater to their career and personal interests, as he did with SUTV.
He also recommended joining groups that bring students out of their comfort zone as well. He interned at the Nabb Center, where he was able to apply skills learned from a communication arts course, despite not having a particular interest in research.
Additionally, Modlin conveyed that it is “important to maintain some of the connections that social media and technology often pull us away from,” and that being open to new experiences and networking are just are important.
“Get involved in as much as you can. That’s what led me to jobs, that’s what ends up differentiating you from your competition.”
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image: Eli Modlin.