A Running Start
Samantha Bilodeau ’22 Finds a Passion for IT and Audit in an Unlikely Place
When you’re a collegiate student-athlete, you learn to use both sides of your brain.
So it’s not a huge surprise that cross country and track runner Samantha Bilodeau ’22 is pursuing studies in two very different areas — Information Systems and Audit Control and Ethics and Social Responsibility.
Bilodeau, from little New Ipswich, N.H., discovered a passion for business working in a bagel shop during high school. When she got to Bentley, she almost immediately fell for accounting, loving the way everything always added up in the end.
“The way that numbers make sense drew me in,” says Bilodeau. “I like to know the correct answer, that I’m going to find the solution and it’s not going to be subjective or dependent on something else. There’s going to be a bottom line.”
She first learned about Information Systems and Audit Control from her Bentley teammates. It turns out, doing long run after long run for weeks at a time creates plenty of room for conversation.
“A lot of my teammates are very academic-focused,” says Bilodeau. “Inevitably we talk about our majors and our career paths, especially where Bentley is such a career-focused university.
“The cross country teams are very close,” she adds. “That’s one of the things I really love about being at Bentley, being part of a close-knit group.”
When she learned more about Information Systems and Audit Control, she was hooked. “I’ve always been interested in IT, always good in the classes, so knowing that there was a major that combined the two made me really curious about the career opportunities available to someone like me.”
Bilodeau’s second area of academic focus major stemmed from her upbringing in a small town in southern New Hampshire where she noticed a lack of diverse worldviews.
“I think it’s important to share experiences and talk about things like social or political issues, but I found that different opinions would lead to jumping to extremes and shutting down the conversation,” she says. “That’s what I found very frustrating.”
When Bilodeau arrived at Bentley, she took an introduction to Philosophy course — mostly to get it out of the way quickly – and was surprised at how much she enjoyed having conversations in an open-minded environment that encouraged respectful debate.
That experience drew her to a second major, Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Ethics and Social Responsibility. The concentration allows students to think about the ethical implications of the decisions that businesses make every day — a perfect complement to the numbers-loving side of her brain.
A conversation with teammates on one of those long runs helped steer Bilodeau to an internship with Charles River Laboratories in Cambridge, Mass. Her summer experience blossomed into a part-time job, where (among other tasks) she uses IT systems to assure compliance with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Bilodeau will balance this internal audit experience with more external work next summer in an internship with KPMG.
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Bilodeau’s combined interest in auditing and ethics is getting attention beyond the Bentley campus.
In April 2020, she finished second in a competition put on by ISACA (formerly the Information Systems Audit and Control Association). Accounting Lecturer Joy Gray was so impressed, she asked Bilodeau to speak at ISACA’s online expo and general meeting in November, which focused on IT audit, risk, security and other topics. In a nice extension of her double focus at Bentley, Bilodeau discussed ethics and philosophy in the IT world.
“Throughout my internship, my manager and I attended a lot of webinars put on by ISACA,” Bilodeau says. “It’s really cool that I got to speak at one of them.”
With most collegiate athletics on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery from an injury keeping her from training, Bilodeau has been missing her teammates. She knows how much the conversations on those long runs helped her choose her studies and a career.
“A lot of what helped to prepare for my career was having that community at Bentley, that connection to a lot of very driven, academically focused people who knew Bentley’s resources and were able to help me find them,” says Bilodeau. “It’s really a pay-it-forward scenario, where Bentley helped prepare these people. I’m hoping I’ll be a good resource for anybody interested in this field in the future.”