Student Profiles

Greg Slagel

Greg Slagel

"When I transferred to UT Dallas from Oklahoma State University, I was a computer science major. My room in the residence hall was at the far end of the business hallway, and I had to walk through the craziest place in the building, the arts and technology (ATEC) hallway, to get there. After hanging out with those people for an entire semester, I decided to take 3D modeling and texturing 1. That semester, I changed my major to ATEC: I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

This is the school where you don't have to hide the fact that you play Magic the Gathering or that you watch Doctor Who. The nerdy things that were frowned upon in high school are celebrated here. Don't believe me? Go check out the Yu-gi-oh club or sit in on an Onomatopoeia meeting (UT Dallas' improv comedy club).

In the ATEC field, your degree, while important, is not what's going to get you a job. The skills we learn in ATEC are used to make a demo reel—basically a trailer for our work. I'll be using both my degree and my demo reel to get a job at an animation company. Right now, I'm beginning to focus on lighting, but one day I hope to be a director.

While there are exceptions, almost everyone wants to be involved at UT Dallas. I'm in six student organizations right now, and that much networking has really plugged me in on campus. There are dozens of new clubs that pop up every year, and that's all thanks to our school's passion for supporting students in their endeavors.

You don't need to come here with a brain the size of a football field. What will make you fit in is your passion for learning and bettering yourself. Passion for knowledge is what drives our students, and if you share that, then you'll be just fine."

A student in the School of Arts and Humanities, Greg Slagel is a junior arts and technology major. He is a former officer and active member of Onomatopoeia. He is also an active member of Pride and the Undergraduate Deans Advisory Council. He is an officer of the Animation Guild, is a First Year Leader, and he plays on the UT Dallas Rugby team.

Megan Newman

Megan Newman

"UT Dallas attracted me because of its reputation for academic rigor and its small-school feel on a medium-sized campus. The focus here is definitely on learning, the professors are easy to approach and want to help their students, and there are plenty of activities to do and people to meet.

Through the Archer Fellows Program, which takes 25-30 students from UT System universities to Washington, D.C. to study and work, I was able to work at the U.S. Supreme Court for a semester. Archer Fellows also take classes while in D.C., and they live together in houses on Capitol Hill. The experience is fantastic and life-changing. As an Archer Fellow, I made great friends, got to explore the Supreme Court, and I learned what kind of work I want to pursue as a lawyer.

UT Dallas has a very successful pre-law program. Although it's fairly small, the pre-law advisors are knowledgeable and have connections at some of the best internships and law schools in the country.

One of the advisors, Anne Dutia, worked as an admissions officer at a top law school. The other advisor, Dr. Anthony Champagne, worked as a Supreme Court Fellow. Together, they bring students information about how to be a good applicant for law school, how to go about the application process, how to succeed in law school, and what kinds of jobs are available for attorneys.

UT Dallas students have been consistently accepted to the top 10 law schools. Recently, I was offered a full scholarship to the University of Virginia Law School. They are ranked the 10th best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. I was also admitted to the University of Chicago Law School, which is ranked 6th by U.S. News and World Report.

For me, the best thing about UT Dallas has been the people that go to school and teach here. The students are bright, creative and interesting. The professors really care about the welfare of their students.

In the past four years, I've learned that college is a time of tremendous growth. I believe that I have been shaped for the better by my peers. I have also been challenged by faculty to produce the best scholarship my ability will allow. College offers a wealth of experiences that develop students' innate qualities into the skills they'll need to achieve their goals in the workplace or at the next level of study."

Megan graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in historical studies from the School of Arts and Humanities. She was a Eugene McDermott Scholar, was on the dean's list every semester and served as president of the UT Dallas Pre-Law Society. She's continuing her studies at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Jessica Watkins

Jessica Watkins

"As a child, I would watch my brother play video games, and when I was old enough to hold a controller, that's all I did. When I saw Toy Story in the early 90's, I knew with all my heart and soul that I wanted to be in the 3D arts. My ultimate dream is to work for Pixar.

UT Dallas had what I was looking for in a university. It was fairly small and personal. And through the School of Arts and Humanities and the ATEC program, I discovered it was also one of the only places that offered a solid degree for what I'm interested in doing professionally.

Ultimately, I want to design levels - or environments — for movies or video games. I enjoy learning about the psychology of a game player. ATEC is great for connecting with people. Through the computer labs, it's easy to touch base with friends or get help from other students. We're like a big family. I've also been really pleased with my academic advising experience. My advisor has been very involved in helping me outline my degree plan and achieving the goals I've set for myself.

Outside of classes, I'm the graphic designer for Onomatopoeia, UT Dallas' improv group. I also try and attend student government meetings when I can.

Time management and responsibility are the keys to making your college experience go smoothly. Don't procrastinate and handle your time wisely. When you get an assignment, do it that day.

When I first started at UT Dallas, I enjoyed the freshman housing choices — there were lots of activities to get to know people. I also really enjoy the smaller feel of campus. We're a smart school, and I like that because people are focused on studies rather than winning the next football game."

Through the ATEC program, Jessica specializes in environment and texturing and enjoys graphic design and lighting. She participated in the Disney college program, has worked as a lab tech and is an active part of the ATEC community of students. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a master's degree in game design and video game development, or a professional "imagineering" internship at Walt Disney World.