300: Engineer turned premed student finds his (e-)identity

Andrea Tinning

UT IDs are pretty magical. They allow students and faculty to swipe open doors, check grades and ride the bus for free. But who are the mysterious people behind the curtain controlling our identities?  

The Identity and Access Management team in the Information Technology Services Applications Department at the University is in charge of every student, staff, and faculty member’s EID information. 

“I am one of many behind the curtain,” said Ben Botsford, a software engineer senior on the team.

Botsford said his job changes on a daily basis, but generally his department is in charge of linking UT login screens to software tools such as Canvas.

Though Botsford works closely with a team of IT professionals to register and authenticate other people’s identities, he is still determining his own. 

After earning a degree in cognitive science from Case Western Reserve University in 2014, Botsford worked at a start-up company in Ohio. Now, he’s using his benefits as a University employee to pay for classes and pursue a different path.

“I’m working on finishing pre-med and switching into medicine,” Botsford said. “It’s something I was interested in from the time I was a little kid.”

At first, Botsford was dissuaded from the medical field since it requires an enormous amount of levelheadedness. But now that he’s gained more life experience, Botsford is confident in his own abilities and wants to become a trauma surgeon, specifically so he can save lives.

Botsford’s advice to other students is to keep an open mind about their future.

“Get some experience in the field before you commit to it after school,” Botsford said. “Explore your options because you might do something other than your major.”