Employee Spotlight June 2024

Elliot Underwood

Enterprise Applications Developer

Meet Elliot Underwood! This student IT assistant turned full-time developer works on the CRM Integrations team supporting Salesforce. Elliot loves the work-life balance that OTDI provides, and spends his free time reading sci-fi novels, honing his music skills, visiting Gahanna Woods, or hanging out with his two cats, Banjo and Sophie! He’s excited to start exploring the Columbus food scene, so if you have any favorite restaurant recommendations, let Elliot know! As for dream destination outside of Columbus, Elliot is keen to visit Palau (an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean) to connect with his family’s heritage.

Q: What is your role at the university? I work as a developer on the CRM Integrations team, supporting Salesforce integrations and working closely with the Buckeye360 team.

Q: How long have you worked at Ohio State? It will be ten years this August! I also worked a few years as a student assistant.

Q: Have you worked on any large projects since you’ve been here? I was heavily involved in the COVID-19 response, specifically the Salesforce instance that supported contact tracing.

Q: What do you like best about your job? The people and work-life balance!

Q: How do you create and innovate? Failure is a powerful learning tool, so I try to embrace mistakes as lessons and keep an open mind in all facets of my life.

Q: Did you always know this is what you wanted to do as a career? I would never have guessed this would be my career. When I was young, it varied between “scientist,” musician, writer, or psychiatrist. I originally went to Ohio State for mechanical engineering but quickly realized I hated it and bounced around a few other majors.

Q: How did your career path bring you to work for us? I was an architecture major working as a student courier at UniPrint, where I was encouraged to apply for a student IT assistant position that opened on the BFAP IT team, which then became part of OTDI as one of the first MITS customers. I was hired on full time during that transition.

Q: Why did you choose to work at Ohio State? The education and experience I’ve had at Ohio State has been foundational to my growth as a person; I want to contribute what I can, so students are empowered and have a positive experience like I had.

Q: What was your very first job? I worked groundskeeping at a golf course for a few summers between spring and autumn semesters. The pay was minimal for the labor, but I enjoyed being outdoors forty hours a week.

Q: Where did you go to college? Ohio State!

Q: Where are you from originally? I was born in Florida and moved around a bit until mostly growing up in the Cincinnati area.

Q: What is your favorite place to visit? Right now, it’s the Gahanna Woods State Nature Preserve.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Palau, to connect with my mother’s culture and relatives.

Q: What do you do for fun outside of work? Do you have any hobbies? I enjoy making, playing, and learning about music; reading and writing; and trying new things (e.g. water coloring and rollerblading, very recently).

Q: What kinds of things are you passionate about outside of work? Living and being present!

Q: What is something most people might be surprised to know about you? My mother is from a Pacific Island called Palau, so I am half-Palauan.

Q: Favorite place to eat in Columbus? I haven’t eaten out much since the pandemic but want to start exploring again; I’m open to suggestions!

Q: Best concert you’ve ever been to? The Rapture, a little over ten years ago at A&R Music Bar.

Q: Favorite quote? “Disce quasi semper victurus, vive quasi cras moriturus.” (Learn like you will live forever, live like you’re going to die tomorrow.)

Q: Do you have a favorite book or movie? I have a few of each!

  • Books: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, the Three Body Problem series by Liu Cixin, Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, and a lot of sci fi in general though I’d like to expand from there
  • Movies: O Brother, Where Art Though?, Hot Fuzz, Spirited Away, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Moonrise Kingdom

Q: It’s 9 p.m. on a Saturday. What are you doing? Relaxing or engaging in whatever hobby I’m feeling and hanging out with my two cats (Banjo and Sophie).

Q: Give three adjectives that best describe yourself. Corporeal, alive, cheeky.