Elliot Roth is a junior Biomedical Engineering major at VCU. You may be wondering what Biomedical Engineering has to do with CreateAthon. But after Mike Rodriguez, a first time team leader in 2013, told Eliot about CreateAthon and Elliot read an article online about it, he decided to get out of his comfort zone and applied to be a team leader. Sure enough, he found himself spending his semester meeting with clients and planning for his first ever CreateAthon.
“I wanted to do CreateAthon to learn something completely different.” Elliot said. “What really drew me to CrateAthon was the fact that I was learning through doing and it helped nonprofits. I want to be an entrepreneur and I knew I would have to learn communications and leadership.”
He found it was a huge jump. Coming to a Mass Comm program from Biomedical Engineering was like learning a new language.
“When I say ‘margin’, I mean margin of error,” he said. “When Mass Comm majors say it, they mean ‘spacing between the text and the border of a page.’ It was another culture.”
And he had his doubts and fears coming into it.
“The scariest moment was when my computer broke before sending stuff in to the printer my first day of class. I felt so out of place that I wanted to drop it,” he said.
But fast forward to March, during the event, and Elliot felt right at home.
“The craziest moment was all of the costumes during CreateAthon. I wore a sleeping bag backwards, a onesie, multiple hats and shot nerf guns at everyone.”
And in the end, there’s always the moment that makes all of the hard work and insanity worth it.
“I was walking back from presenting to the client with my team. There was a feeling that we did something worthwhile and we felt invincible in the first light of the day,” he said.
For Elliot, this was his leap into something completely different. And the verdict?
“It was an incredibly valuable learning experience,” Elliot said. “I learned that the more face time you spend with a client, the better. I learned that after a first draft, everything is possible. I learned that an analytic engineering mindset can work in a creative setting but has to stretch and bend and be open to the possibilities. I learned that in order to create great things for others, you have to be humble, empathetic and work hard,” he said. “It was incredibly fun and I’m going to tell all my friends to try it.”