Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Member Spotlight: Theresa Thomas

2010-2011:  President Elect
Hometown:  I was born in Columbus, Ohio, but I’ve lived in Austin since I was 4 years old, so I consider this my home.
College(s) Attended:  The University of Texas at Austin
Degree(s) earned:  BS in Applied Learning and Development – Youth and Community Studies.  This was after starting out as an RTF major and changing it to Spanish, then to English, then to elementary education, and then to Y&CS.  Yes, I was THAT student.
Title:  Senior Academic Advisor --College of Communication
What are your hobbies?  Reading, watching movies, and yes, karaoke.  I especially love smarmy vampire or supernatural kinds of books.  I like my books and my movies to be complete brain-candy...I don’t want to have to think and philosophize while I enjoy them.  Is philosophize a word?
What was your favorite childhood toy?  My stereo/record player/tape player.  When my favorite songs came on the radio, I would record myself singing...maybe I invented karaoke??
What is your current position at UT? Briefly explain:  Senior Academic Advisor.  I advise journalism majors in the College of Communication.  I also teach 2 FIGs, manage waitlists, class limits, and restrictions for journalism courses, and am co-coordinator for our college’s new student orientation and for our Family Weekend program.
Have you had any jobs prior to your current job at UT?  If so, what were they?  At UT, I was a degree evaluator for the College of Education.  Before I started at UT, and as a part-time job since then, I have worked as a picture framer since I was 17.  I have also had jobs as a caddy and snack bar attendant, and have worked for the Gallup Poll and the Courtyard Marriott as a server for their breakfast buffet.
What is the most challenging aspect of your current job?  Students who refuse to help themselves...particularly, probation students.  Oh, and that most students don’t read ANYthing!  On the flip side of that, I love when those students surprise me and do what they’re supposed to do and really listen to what I have to say. Also, it seems there’s less and less down time, and that’s stressful at times.
Tell us about one of your success stories that happened in your current position (regarding a student, a co-worker, a project, etc.).  I would have to say that our orientation program is a huge success.  Andi (my partner in crime) and I have put together what seems to be a fun and entertaining program for our freshmen.  Granted, they probably don’t remember much, if any, of the policies, but they usually remember the singing and dancing orientation advisors.  We love working with our amazing OAs!
Why do you feel it is important to get involved in ACA or other professional organizations?  I think that the best teachers are those who continue to be taught.  We can do more for our students the more we keep informed of what’s going on in the field of advising, around campus, and within our individual areas of advising.  I also think that the friendships and support we draw from each other are energizing and invaluable.

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