By Madeleine Pape, IUPUI senior
For years, Elie Bucklin, B.A.J. ’22, tuned into Formula 1, the highest level of international racing. It was not until only three months before graduation that she decided to turn her passion into a niche career opportunity.
Bucklin, who graduated in May, worked this summer as a marketing and communications intern at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. She created press releases, media invites, web content, blog posts, and social media, among other pursuits. Bucklin started the job in June, unfortunately missing the Indy 500 due to a previously planned family vacation.
During her senior year at IUPUI, Bucklin started contacting racing industry leaders within the community, including professors, and building a motorsports photography portfolio. She desired more knowledge about the industry and a broader scope for the sport. As she learned more, she saw opportunities to blend her talents and craft her path.
Bucklin found Penske Entertainment’s Diverse Leadership in Motorsports Program, a perfect blend of her love for journalism, motorsports, and museums. She had already established an equipped skillset for the job, having previously worked part-time at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The Penske program’s versatility and dedication to diversity attracted Bucklin. As a bisexual woman, it was hard for her to see a safe space for herself within the motorsports world, a historically male-dominated field.
“This program demonstrates that you don’t have to be a driver or an engineer to be in motorsports,” she said. “Motorsports needs artists, communications professionals, mechanics, lawyers, PR, scientists, IT, and community engagement.”
In her short time at the museum, Bucklin grew more comfortable within the industry. She worked on a wide range of projects, including opening a new exhibition, “Sleek: The Art of the Helmet.” And, her networking skills improved, despite her introverted nature, because she was able to connect with industry executives.
“I always try to communicate authentically whether it’s through my [job] application or in an interview,” she said. “People can tell when you’re being your truest self or not.”
Bucklin said she developed interviewing skills at IUPUI that contributed to her landing the job at the IMS Museum. More times than not as a journalism student, she noted, you are the interviewer. Those skills can also translate into success when you are the interviewee.
“Even if I hadn’t gotten the job, I would likely have left with a free Q&A about the role, built a connection with an executive at a company I was interested in, and improved my interview skills for the next job opportunity,” she says.
Speaking of job-hunting, with a few interviews coming up, Bucklin is uncertain but optimistic about her path for the future. For the time being, she’ll be following the same advice that she’s offering to current journalism and public relations students: Read and write daily and work on building a portfolio.
“Your ability to communicate your ideas and the ideas of others is crucial,” she said. “Put every single paper, story, photo, post, and video you make for your classes or for internships into a portfolio. I haven’t come across an employer yet who doesn’t want to see a body of your work to know you’re qualified for the job.”