Published Jan 31, 2020
This Grad’s Writing Background Got Her Into the Tech Industry
Suzelle Santos’s New Media Journalism master’s helped her make the leap from journalism to tech.
Few people get to use their natural talents to work in their dream field, but Full Sail grad Suzelle Santos made it happen. She's currently helping out innovators at United Technologies, a company known for its trailblazing work in aero defense. But unlike many math and computer science-oriented tech workers, she paved her path to the industry by capitalizing on her natural writing prowess.
Growing up, Suzelle was equally interested in writing and technology. Her elementary school teachers noticed her imaginative storytelling and strong grasp of grammar, and she put together her family's first computer when she was only eight years old.
Suzelle continued honing her writing in her high school's newspaper class, then got a bachelor's degree in Communications from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Soon Suzelle realized that she'd like to take her journalism off the printed page and onto television. After graduation, she kicked off a career in news at Charleston's CBS affiliate station.
She started her New Media Journalism master's program at Full Sail the same year. The online degree appealed to Suzelle because she could simultaneously work at WCSC-TV. "I thought it would be good to supplement my experience with even more education," she says. The program taught her how to use the tools journalists rely on to cover breaking news. "Full Sail provided cameras, devices I could record on, and microphones," she says.
As a part of her Full Sail curriculum, Suzelle created a blog that let her flex her fascination with innovators and the tech industry. "I wrote about the startup and technology scene in my area," she says. "It exposed me to digging up story ideas and interviews, and it also taught me about trends in technology, the culture of tech companies, and coding languages."
After getting married and moving to another state in 2019, Suzelle decided to make changes to her professional life and look into communications. Suzelle's blog from her time at Full Sail gave her a leg up in the communications and technology market. "The fact that I chose to write about technology in that blog is really what helped me demonstrate that no, I'm not just a journalist. I also have a very strong, keen interest in technology and innovation."
A recruiter matched Suzelle with a contract position for United Technologies. "I'm helping with communications for a group of developers who are making software tools that help the people at UTC innovate," she says. Her career has come full circle: She's working the same kinds of developers and inventors she interviewed for her blog at Full Sail.
Not everyone gets to capitalize on their strongest skills to solve problems in a field that fascinates them, but Suzelle's story proves it can be done — if you manage the balance between work experience and education. "You should take as many career-related jobs and internships as you can. Every ounce of experience counts, and every ounce of education counts."
Staying open to potential shifts in your job can also open the door to surprising possibilities. "You don't have to know where you're going to end up," Suzelle says. "You just have to give 100 percent in sharpening your chosen skill set, your people skills, maintaining a positive reputation. Changes in careers are okay and, in the end, your journey will make sense."