A member of the class of 2016, Eli Modlin graduated Salisbury University with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and a minor in political science. He took his learning experiences beyond the walls of the classroom and now serves as the deputy chief of staff and director of government and community relations for his alma mater.
Modlin is not originally from the Eastern Shore, but moved here from the Baltimore area and has since decided to stay. During his time here at SU, he was heavily involved with the campus TV station, SUTV, and received hands-on experience interacting with various community and government officials as well as practicing communication skills.
“The experience that you get in networking and meeting people outside of the classroom I think will end up taking you far with not only getting the job, but helping you in the job,” Modlin said. “My getting involved certainly helped me get this job, but it has also helped me in the job, whether it is the experience I had doing some of the same things I’m doing now, or getting to know some of the people that I am working with.”
As the deputy chief of staff, Moldin works closely with the president day in and day out.
“That’s the key of the job,” Modlin said. “We are supporting the president in any way that we can.”
As director of government and community relations, Modlin said the role requires him to serve as the liaison between the university and local, state and federal government officials. He represents the president to government officials and the community, and relays their thoughts back to the president.
“I like to look at it as a three-legged stool, but they all do connect and work together,” he said. “It’s about working with the community, making sure the community has a resource, and SU is increasing its involvement in the community.”
Modlin spent five summers working as an intern on Capitol Hill, during which he worked for the Visitor’s Center performing various tasks ranging from giving tours to working special events to serving as a resource to the senators when guests visited. He described his work as relating to a “grab bag,” meaning he helped with whatever opportunities presented themselves.
“I called us kind of the worker bees,” Modlin said. “A senator passed away when I was there and I worked his memorial service, so there were all kinds of things.”
Modlin acknowledged the position he now holds was not at all where he imagined he’d be. He said he wanted to be a police officer throughout most his college years and later aspired to go into reporting, but ultimately decided to take a job with the Comptroller of Maryland, where he served as the public affairs officer.
“The experiences I had [at SU] led to my job immediately after college, which eventually led to get me this great job back here,” he said. “I had the opportunity to get experience in the communication and political field that I don’t think I’d be able to get anywhere else.”
Having only graduated two years ago this May, Modlin is considerably younger than many other employees of Salisbury University, but he does not see this as a disadvantage.
“I’m younger than most of my colleagues here, and certainly my colleagues that do what I do for other institutions, but I don’t think that’s been too much of an obstacle,” Modlin said. “The community, I don’t think, looks at my age as a detriment, but sees the value in having someone from Salisbury close by.”
Aside from serving as a member of the SU Chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, the inaugural class of the Transformational Leadership Program and the Ward Foundation Board of Directors, as well as many other organizations, Modlin shared he was newly named a member of the board for the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce.
Attending Salisbury University and taking advantage of the opportunities offered, Modlin paved the way to creating a groundwork for his life here on the Eastern Shore. He commented on how different the city of Salisbury looks now versus how it looked when he journeyed over the bridge in fall of 2012.
“I think the city is on the rise,” Modlin said. “You don’t have to look far in the future to see where Salisbury is going as a city.”
By HALEY DICK
Gull Life editor
Featured photo: Eli Modlin image.