Shared Goals Bring Alumna and UTeach Together
Sep. 23, 2010
As president of Texas Instruments’ Education Technology business, Melendy Lovett (MS ’82) is knee-deep in improving math and science education for schoolchildren and young adults.
Shared goals recently brought together Lovett and UTeach Dallas, a University program launched in 2008 to help increase the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors interested in becoming new secondary science or mathematics teachers. The partnership resulted in the 2010 TI gift-in-kind of training, and classroom technology including calculators and projectors.
“More than just bringing innovative learning technology to the market, I focus my organization on using research to continue driving products and programs that truly help students perform better,” said Lovett, who has a master’s of science degree with a concentration in accounting.
Since its inception two years ago, UTeach Dallas has expanded rapidly to include 250 students. Sixty percent of participants are seeking certification to teach science, and the rest are seeking certification in math. UTeach Dallas is part of the nationally recognized UTeach program launched by UT Austin. Although nearly 50 percent of the nation’s teachers walk away from the profession within five years, about 80 percent of UTeach graduates are still teaching five years after graduation.
“The technology and training provided by TI will advance the UTeach Dallas program’s recruitment, preparation and retention efforts, the three critical components for the success of our students and the future of STEM education,” said Dr. Bob Hilborn, head of the UT Dallas Science/Mathematics Education Department.
Faculty, staff, students and UT Dallas friends celebrated the opening of the new UTeach Dallas Center in Founders North this spring.
Lovett discovered her own passion for education as an undergraduate studying management and management information systems at Texas A&M University.
“By the time I was in my third year, I knew I wanted a graduate degree but had to pay for it. So I decided to earn that degree while working full time,” Lovett said. “I also set a goal for myself to finish my graduate degree at UT Dallas and earn my Certified Public Accounting certification in three years. I majored in accounting because I wanted to better understand the financial aspect of business and the program at UT Dallas really delivered,” she explained. “With much hard work, help and support, I achieved my goal.”
After Lovett paid her way through school by working in information technology and accounting for the banking and oil and gas industries, she began a consulting career with Coopers & Lybrand that lasted eight years and crossed several fields, including mergers and acquisitions, financial systems, manufacturing and communications. She joined TI in 1993 and has served in a variety of roles, including vice president of human resources, where she was responsible for TI’s worldwide compensation and benefits programs.
“I have always enjoyed leadership roles,” explained Lovett, who is the first woman to run a TI business unit and report to the CEO. “When I was in junior high and high school, my girlfriends and I created a community service club and I was the leader,” said Lovett. “Through this experience, I learned that I enjoyed bringing groups of people together for important projects that would make a difference in the community.”
Fast forward several years and Lovett is still doing just that. She established and leads the Women of TI Fund, a group working to improve math and science education for girls in elementary through high school. “This role is important to me because we are increasing the number of high school girls who are prepared to enter STEM college degree programs and creating an even more diverse pool of talent to fuel innovation and growth of companies like TI.”
In 2005, Lovett was awarded the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed on graduates.
|Melendy Lovett earned a UT Dallas master’s of science degree with a concentration in accounting in 1982. She is president of Texas Instruments’ Education Technology business. |
UTeach Dallas is part of the nationally recognized UTeach program, a public-private partnership aimed at strengthening math and science education in the United States.