Roden was born in Dallas, Texas where she attended Hockaday School, an all-girls private school. She came from a medical family and majored in molecular biology and women's studies at UCLA, and spent three and a half years in pre-medical education with a view to becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon before taking up acting full-time. Roden starred in the cancelled HBO series 12 Miles of Bad Road playing Bronwyn. In 2008, she played Emily Locke in Lost and Skylar in the 2008 film Bring It On: Fight to the Finish. During 2008–2010 she appeared in TV series including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case, Weeds, Community and Criminal Minds. During 2011–12 Roden continued to make guest appearances in different shows like Grey's Anatomy and Memphis Beat. She also stars in the film House of Dust set to release in North America by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2014. Roden has played Lydia Martin on the MTV television series Teen Wolf since its debut in June 2011.