Team

Leadership

Robert Vega

Robert has 20 years of experience working in the field of college career engagement. In his current role, Robert provides strategic and operational leadership in support of our mission to increase access to career engagement by all UT Austin students, scholars and alumni, as well as our campus and employer community members.

What do you love most about your work?
Beyond my core interest in helping students explore their options and prepare for their futures, I love our office’s reimagination of career engagement as students and the career landscape evolve. I also love our focus on interdisciplinary and all-sector career engagement as we work to transcend majors and career interests for all students and alumni and spotlight the strengths that come from various backgrounds.

Undergraduate Career Education

Nathan Langfitt has worked in career services at both the University of Texas at Austin and Indiana University Bloomington. Prior to joining TCE, he was the director of career services for the College of Fine Arts at UT. He is a licensed professional counselor, and currently completing his doctorate in higher education and student affairs at Indiana University Bloomington. Nathan oversees the career counseling and career management teams, and loves being a part of building programs and opportunities that make career education more approachable for all students.

What do you love most about your work? As a a first-generation college student, Nathan loves being a part of anything that takes the guesswork out of navigating higher education. He also loves working at the intersection of career development and mental health, helping students to approach their careers with empathy and self-compassion.

Adria Villarreal

Adria Villarreal has over 15 years of experience in higher education mental health and career development. She earned a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University and is a Licensed Psychologist. Her previous experience focused on providing mental health services to college students, coordinating clinical training for graduate psychology students, and facilitating mental health awareness programs for campus communities. In her role at Texas Career Engagement, Adria leads a team of career counselors who provide a wide range of individual and group career counseling and education to undergraduates, with a focus on career exploration. Adria also conducts career education workshops, teaches a career exploration course, and oversees the career counseling training program. Current professional interests and specializations include the intersection of career development and mental health, vocational psychology, and graduate student training.

What do you love most about your work?

Adria enjoys connecting with students and helping them develop self-awareness, resilience and confidence as they create their futures. She loves helping students identify their strengths and feel empowered to make their best career and life decisions.

Hannah Zurko

Hannah Marie Zurko is a Senior Career Initiatives Coordinator for the Career Education team in Texas Career Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to earning a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy, with a focus in Higher Education, Hannah holds a Bachelors of Arts in Fine Arts from Grinnell College in Iowa. Prior to working in higher education, Hannah has over seven years of experience as a program manager and educator in non-profit arts organizations – including leading nationally recognized teen arts education programs and contributing to Mindpop and Austin Independent School District’s Creative Learning Initiative. Particular areas of focus include utilizing creativity in career development, implementing high impact career initiatives, building collaborative campus-wide partnerships, and managing the life cycle of multiple projects across the career management and counseling teams.

What do you love most about your work?

Hannah enjoys most the opportunity to fostering a welcoming environment for students in spaces that might otherwise feel intimidating, improving access to information and resources, and helping students identify and realize their goals; as everyone deserves to feel valued, realize their goals, and to define their own measure of success.

hzurko@austin.utexas.edu

Daphne Wolfe is the Assistant Director, Career Management with four years of experience working within Higher Education. She earned her Master of Education from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University in Political Science. Daphne helps all students at the University of Texas at Austin explore career and major options while taking into consideration a student’s values and how that connects to their career decisions. She strives to make a stressful decision-making process into an enjoyable one by helping students explore different options, learn more about themselves and make informed decisions. Daphne enjoys learning about a student’s story and helps them envision where that story could go in the future.

What do you love most about your work?

Daphne is an advocate for exploration through involvement and she helps students recognize, find, take or create opportunities where they can gain more experience in their areas of interest. She is passionate about students finding a community that makes them feel like they belong and where they can develop skills to grow into the next generation of leaders. Daphne believes that finding that sense of belonging, where you feel most like you, is one of the first steps in exploring what could come next.

Allie is a Career Education Specialist & Program Director with Texas Career Engagement. With extensive experience in career development and advising, she is passionate about empowering students to explore their interests and achieve their goals. In her role, she leads one-on-one career coaching appointments, creates career development workshops for campus partners, & manages a peer coaching and mentorship student program. She is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences.

What do you love most about your work?

Allie values Texas Career Engagement’s unique mission of providing access to career education to all students. She enjoys using that framework to learn each student’s story and help them access information to support their success. It is important to her that all students feel encouraged, empowered, and informed to make the best decisions for themselves.

Kyra Duffey is currently a Career Counselor at Texas Career Engagement and has 5 years of experience working in higher education. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Minor in Marketing, and a Master of Education degree in Counselor Education with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Texas Tech University. Currently, Kyra is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate working towards licensure and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). In Kyra’s role as a Career Counselor, she provides career counseling to undergraduate students on various aspects of their career development journey, and she also oversees the Longhorn Career Peer Mentor program who are undergraduate students providing peer-to-peer career education to UT students.

What do you love most about your work?

Kyra enjoys working in higher education in career services where she is able to get multiple opportunities to counsel students in their career development needs. She finds it a joy helping students along their career development journeys, and helping them arrive at what success looks like for them not just as a college student, but overall, as an individual as well.

Noelle Prax is a Texas Ex and graduated from UT Austin with a B.A. in Biology and a Minor in Psychology. In her final semester at UT Austin, Noelle pivoted in her career and decided to pursue Mental Health Counseling. Noelle completed her graduate education at Boston University and obtained a M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine. Additionally, Noelle has previous experience working with students with disabilities and served as a panelist to help students navigate barriers to accessibility in the workplace. Noelle’s approach for serving students in career counseling is rooted in understanding how their mind, body, and belief system all impact their career development. Noelle takes a collaborative approach with students and believes that students are the experts of their own experiences and therefore have the power to make the best career decisions for themselves. Noelle aims to make students feel informed, grounded, and empowered in their next career steps.

What do you love most about your work?
Noelle is particularly interested in supporting students in periods of transition and empowering students to explore opportunities they have not considered before. Noelle is passionate about understanding how student’s previous life experiences and changing resources impact their career aspirations. Previously, Noelle advocated for increasing accessibility for low-income and disabled students and has experience discussing the impact on a student’s ability to engage in the classroom and the workplace. Noelle is thrilled to be a part of the team that helped support her in her own career development at UT Austin.

Cassandra Gearhart brings a wide range of university experience to her role at Texas Career Engagement. Cassandra’s career started in healthcare administration. Her experiences working with alongside researchers and helping professionals influenced her decision to pursue higher education in psychology. She holds a M.A. in psychological research from California State University at Long Beach and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from UT Austin. During her graduate school journey, she conducted research on a variety of topics, including cultural influences on gender-based violence, mind-body groups for health improvement, and vocational wellbeing among helping professionals. As a counselor, Cassandra trained in mental health and career counseling in K-12, university, and community settings. She currently provides individual and group counseling sessions to help students explore their interests and strengths, navigate academic and career transitions, and plan for life after undergrad. She brings an uplifting presence to her sessions and strives to center students’ values and strengths within broader familial, cultural, and social systems. Cassandra also teaches a career and major exploration class for the Undergraduate College. In her personal time, Cassandra enjoys taking in performance art, especially music and dance concerts, and watching documentaries.

What do you love most about your work?

I love helping students harness their strengths and build career planning skills. I strive to create trust and safety for students as career exploration can be an emotional journey.

Audrey Hawkersmith is a Career Education Specialist at Texas Career Engagement.  She earned both her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Lee University.  In Audrey’s position as a Career Education Specialist, she has the opportunity to assist undergraduate students anywhere along their career journey through individual career coaching appointments and facilitating space for students to connect through career communities.  Audrey seeks to engage each student from a strengths-based perspective to help students build confidence in themselves and their next step as they navigate the complexities of career decisions.

What do you love most about your work?

Audrey finds joy in providing a space for students to ask questions, discover new information, and access resources available to empower each student on their unique career journey.  She values Texas Career Engagement’s interdisciplinary approach because it acknowledges that no two career pathways are the same and demonstrates TCE’s commitment to serve the whole student.

Katie is a Career Education Specialist at Texas Career Engagement. Katie has over seven years of experience working in Higher Education. Before joining Texas Career Engagement, Katie has worked in career coaching, recruitment, employee relations, global experiential learning, evaluation and assessment, and academic advising. Katie earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education from the University of Arizona’s College of Educational Policy & Practice and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Hawai’i.

What do you love most about your work?

Katie is passionate about providing career education by translating complicated hiring jargon into actionable steps. Katie strives to create an environment where differences are celebrated, and individuals feel valued and seen. Katie loves to support students as they foster meaningful career pathways.

Casey Ptacek is a Career Education Specialist at Texas Career Engagement. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas State University, and a Master of Science in Higher Education Student Affairs from Fort Hays State University. Casey’s goal as a Career Education Specialist is to help each student find a career path unique to them. She believes every student deserves the opportunity to pursue their interests and passions, even when it might not align with their major. She keeps these ideas at the forefront of her work, as she conducts individual coaching sessions and leads career communities.

What do you love most about your work?
Casey appreciates TCE’s commitment to meet students wherever they are on their career journey and help them grow into career ready professionals. She can relate to the confusion and challenges surrounding career journeys and knows that the resources TCE offers are extremely beneficial in alleviating some of those stressors. She is happy to be in a role that ensures all students have a voice in their journey and are confident in the futures they envision.

Employer Engagement

Summer Salazar

Summer serves as Director of Employer Engagement and provides strategic direction to build relationships with campus partners, employers, and the community to expand internship and employment opportunities, locally and globally, for students and alumni. Summer is the incoming Director of Professional Development for the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers (SoACE), is an active member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and past president of San Antonio Colleges and Universities Career Centers Association (SACUCCA) where she led efforts to help employers build their talent pipelines in the region.

Summer earned an M.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies from Texas State University, and a B.A. degree in English and Communication Arts from St. Mary’s University. Summer is a certified etiquette consultant.

What do you love most about your work?

Summer believes that every student is just one opportunity away from great success, and she takes great pride in serving on a team that helps to create those opportunities every day for the talent at UT.

summer.salazar@austin.utexas.edu

Megan Fortson

Megan Fortson is the Assistant Director of Employer Engagement and helps lead employer engagement strategies, communication and recruiting operations including the interview suites and HireUTexas powered by Handshake. Megan graduated from Purdue University Fort Wayne with a BA in Communications in 2006. She has worked at UT in Career Services in employer relations for over ten years, prior to Texas Career Engagement at Moody Career Center and McCombs Career Management. Before coming to UT, Megan worked in community relations at Creative Action, an Austin nonprofit, and in Student Life at Austin Community College.

What do you love most about your work?

I love connecting and collaborating with employer and campus partners. We have amazing student talent campus-wide and it’s exciting to create ways for students to connect with employers and opportunities to launch their careers!

RecruitUT@austin.utexas.edu

Diane Janda

Diane has a long association with higher education and UT Austin in particular. A native of Austin, she earned her bachelor’s degree at the Butler School of Music, and she still performs in choral music programs and enjoys supporting the students there. After receiving graduate degrees in wind conducting and flute performance from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, she was a music professor for 12 years at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, where she taught band, flute, music theory, music appreciation, chamber music, and conducting. Diane is enjoying her current role as job moderator for HireUTexas, learning from her wonderful colleagues at Texas Career Engagement, and she looks forward to forging new relationships across the UT campus.

B.M., Music Education, The University of Texas at Austin
M.M., Wind Conducting, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati
D.M.A., Wind Conducting, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati

What do you love most about your work?

Diane specializes in facilitating connections between employers, staff colleagues, and students as she works to assist access to the highest quality jobs and internship opportunities for our students and alumni.

HireUTexas@austin.utexas.edu

Erin Wike

Erin Wike serves as Campus Talent Specialist on the Employer Engagement team to help engage and support employers and connect them to the student talent campus-wide. Erin has her B.S. in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She worked in Advertising, Marketing and Recruiting in Chicago for about 14 years. Her passion for marketing, education and helping others really came together in 2014 and led her to explore Career Services in Higher Education where she was a Career Coach & Lecturer for McCombs School of Business for the last 7 years.

What do you love most about your work?

I love hearing people’s stories on how they chose their career paths as well as connecting people to find incredible opportunities and validate the difficulties of a job/career search.

Letty Tarin

Letty works with an amazing team of people who are dedicated and passionate about helping Longhorns find career opportunities and internships. She has an undergraduate background in Sociology and over ten years of experience in social work, as well as in research and social policy. She also holds a graduate degree from The Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin.

What do you love most about your work?
I love being on a team that works to provide students with meaningful opportunities so they can begin their careers with promise.

Angela Nelson is a Recruiting Specialist with the Employer Engagement team. In this role she advises employers on best practices and creative solutions to navigate recruiting top talent across the entire campus. Angela received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with the Business Honors Academy and degrees in Management and Marketing. She has spent 5 years working as a corporate recruiter for tech startups in Austin, where her responsibilities included university recruitment and programming for early career associates. Her work brought her to TCE, and she uses her background as an employer to enhance the campus recruiting experience for all parties. She hopes to help students and employers to genuinely connect and identify opportunities to learn and grow together.

 

What do you love most about your work?

Students and new grads bring a noticeable excitement and energy to an organization! I love connecting our campus with employers in creative ways and playing a role in the journey for everyone to find the right match for them. 

Graduate Student Career & Professional Development

Annie Maxfield

Annie Maxfield has been helping graduate students and postdocs pursue their career of choice for more than 13 years. She established graduate career services at Duke and UCLA before joining the team at UT Austin in 2019. Nationally, she served as the president of the Graduate Career Consortium, a professional organization dedicated to career and professional development for PhDs. She is also one of the lead creators of ImaginePhD, a career exploration and planning tool for humanities and social science PhDs. She has worked on multiple grant-led initiatives with scholarly organizations such as the Association of American Universities, The Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association to transform doctoral education to be more student-centered, diversify career outcomes, and enact systemic change. She considers herself “creative” with cooking and making jewelry, and loves music, art and being outside.

What do you love most about your work?
I get to work with and learn from the most intellectually creative people in the world, every single day.

Colleen Gleeson has over 10 years of university career services experience working with students at all academic levels. She spent three years working with graduate students studying public policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where she also worked with employer partners across sector, industry, and policy area to engage with graduate students across campus. Prior to her time at UT, she served as director of career development at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership. Colleen enjoys working with graduate students and postdocs to identify new and exciting career paths, internships, and other experiential opportunities. Areas of expertise include graduate career exploration and industry job search prep, including resume and cover letter support, mock interviews and navigating federal job applications.

Loren Cressler brings a broad perspective to working with graduate students and postdoctoral scholars on career exploration and professional development. Since completing his PhD in English at UT Austin, Loren has worked as a writing advisor for medical school and residency applicants with an ed-tech startup and taught literature and writing at Seattle University. He also worked as an in-house recruiter for both technical and non-technical positions at Google Cloud.

During his graduate studies, Loren taught courses in English and Rhetoric and spent five years as a writing consultant at the University Writing Center, where he was a member of the inaugural cohort of consultants in graduate writing support. He has published articles about Early Modern English Drama and reviewed theatrical performances for a range of scholarly publications. Prior to graduate school, Loren attended The University of Kansas and spent a year teaching conversational English in Germany on a Fulbright grant. In his spare time, Loren enjoys spending time with his beloved pets, fostering animals in need, and taking in the riches of the Live Music Capital of the World.

Anastazja Harris works to provide career-related education and advising for graduate students
and postdoctoral scholars. She has over five years of experience teaching public speaking and
team communication, and developing communication-focused training programs. She has a
background in communication studies and is finishing up her Ph.D. at UT Austin in
Organizational Communication & Technology. Her dissertation project examines how people’s
understanding of AI impacts how they consider AI-based recommendations when evaluating
job interviews. During her time at UT Austin, she has worked with University Housing & Dining
and the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program to plan events and lead initiatives to support
graduate students. Anastazja received her B.S. in Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill and M.A. in
Communication Studies at UT Austin. In her spare time, Anastazja enjoys singing karaoke, trying
new restaurants, and playing board games with friends.
What do you love most about your work?
I love supporting and encouraging advanced degree students as the figure out the best way to apply their skills and talents at UT Austin and beyond.

Sadiya provides inclusive career and professional development support for advanced degree students and post-doctoral scholars from different backgrounds, including international graduate students and postdocs. She has 10 years of experience in teaching and serving students. Sadiya received her PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. During her time as a graduate student, she gained extensive experience supporting students as a member of the graduate student council and as a Presidential Ambassador. Prior to graduate school, she was a high school science teacher with Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley where she developed a passion for education and creating opportunities for students. She received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas Pan American (legacy institution of UT Rio Grande Valley).

What do you love most about your work?
I love serving and creating meaningful relationships with our talented and passionate advanced degree students and post-docs across campus!

Kirsten provides practical, hands-on career education and advising for advanced degree students, including folks who are seeking to change or advance in their careers. She graduated from UT-Austin with a PhD in American Studies in 2016, where she taught writing and American Studies courses to students across disciplines. Since then, she’s built a career in marketing, with an emphasis on creating high-impact, data-driven programs. Most recently, Kirsten worked as a Segment Marketing Manager in a B2B SaaS scale-up. Prior to that, she was the Marketing and Data Analytics Manager at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), where she was instrumental in launching both a strategic recruiting program and a new cascade journal, PNAS Nexus. In her spare time, Kirsten is an avid two-stepper, clothing designer, and hiker. An inveterate problem-solver, she loves helping students figure out how to get unstuck and create plans to achieve their career goals.

Alyssa Studer leads and manages CONNECT, an experiential learning program that matches
advanced degree student consultants with nonprofit and for-profit organizations for project-
based research, data analytics and program evaluation support. Alyssa’s journey at UT-Austin
began at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, where, in conjunction with
local funding partners, UT-Austin faculty and staff, she designed and piloted the CONNECT
program and later, scaled its impact. Previous to her time at UT, Alyssa served as a Central
Texas Data Contractor for the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and as a high school
chemistry teacher, soccer and cross-country coach in Fort Worth and Austin Independent
School Districts. Originally, from Wisconsin, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin –
Madison with degrees in Botany and Environmental Studies and was a member of the 2014
Teach For America – Dallas/Fort Worth Corps. In her spare time, enjoys spending time with her
husband and two sassy (but adorable!) dogs, playing, coaching and watching soccer, and
exploring new outdoor spaces so she can keep up with her plant identification skills.

Benjamin is a Kenyan-American Austinite, homeschooled until high school, receiving his B.A. in English literature from Prairie View A&M University, while working in the Assistant Vice President’s office for student engagement. His background is in theater, film, and television acting, education, and mentoring teenagers. In 2016 and ‘17 he worked for UT’s Steve Hicks School of Social Work, traveling across Texas training educators in how to implement Restorative Justice on their campuses, a proven method for combatting the school-to-prison pipeline targeting Black students in public education. Presently in his first year of PhD studies at UT in English Literature and African Diaspora Studies, Benjamin’s doctoral research will focus on the 20th century efforts of three figureheads in the movement for Black liberation: W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and Marcus Garvey.

What do you love most about your work?

I am directly involved in facilitating connections between top companies and UT graduate students, to create partnerships and employment that meets the needs of employers and Longhorns, fulfilling our vision that What Starts Here Changes The World!

Maggie is a transplant from Los Angeles, CA. She received her BA in English from Linfield University in small-town Oregon. After graduating, she moved to Austin where she served as an early literacy interventionist with AmeriCorps: Literacy First for two years. Vowing to return to Austin, she began her MA at New York University in English. While there, Maggie worked as an advisor in the Preprofessional Advising Center serving undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students seeking professional careers in law and medicine. She is currently working towards her PhD in UT’s English Literature department. Maggie’s research interests combine medieval studies and postcolonial studies. She is a strong believer in dismantling socioculturally indoctrinated myths that lead to discrimination and marginalization.

What do you love most about your work?

I love providing greater access to and resources for professional opportunities for graduate students who seek careers that serve them both personally and professionally.

Hannah Forsythe

Hannah is from the UK and earned an M.A. in Design History from the Royal College of Art. Her M.A. thesis explored LGBTQ+ nightclub spaces in 1980s London; this work channelled her interests towards the potential of oral history in storytelling. After completing her MA, she went to work in an oral history archive in London, which focused on recording the social history of London’s East End. Hannah is now a PhD student, her doctoral work investigates the processes, experiences, and infrastructures of documentation and memorialization to understand how oral history, documentary and digital archives shape cultural memory and the proactive role archives have in media industries. As a budding filmmaker, Hannah is very interested in making experimental documentary films and storytelling practices, which she uses in her doctoral research. At TCE, Hannah is helping to expand the Alumni at Work page, looking for new and creative ways to showcase Graduate Alumni’s career stories.

Lili is a Master’s student in Human-Computer Interaction/User Experience at the School of Information at UT. She completed her undergraduate studies in Business Administration and Management in Taiwan and has experience in product marketing and consultancy. Prior to starting her Master’s program, Lili traveled to over 20 European and Asian cities to explore her cultural interests as well as art and curation. She then worked as a Project/Product Manager at tech startups, where she found a sweet spot to combine her interests in design, technology, and business. Lili is excited to deepen her knowledge in UX and analytical skills to build innovative solutions that are also inclusive and accessible, and make users’ lives easier.

What do you love most about your work?

I am looking forward to connecting with a range of professionals and facilitating information channels that aid students in exploring their passions, finding their career path, and accessing the resources they need.

Connor Behrmann has worked professionally in opera houses and artist management for over a decade and is excited to be sharing his knowledge of the arts industry with the graduate students at UT Austin. Originally from upper East Tennessee, he has worked in professional development and outreach in Chattanooga, TN; Asheville, NC; and most recently at the University of Florida in Gainesville. His most notable performances include Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola in Orvietto, Italy; Emporer Rudolph II and Isaac in the NOA award-winning film debut of Dr. Paul Richards’ The Golem of Prague; and as a featured soloist in the recorded works of spiritual arranger Dr. Roland Carter, Lift Every Voice and Sing, Vol. 2.

Connor is currently pursuing a DMA in Opera Performance from the UT Austin Butler School of Music with a Graduate Portfolio in Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He received his MM in Voice Performance from the University of Florida and his BM in Voice Performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

What do you love most about your work?

Building relationships with employers and students. I find it extremely fulfilling to connect my fellow artists and academics with the employers who are searching for their unique skillsets. It requires empathy and an open mind to meaningfully connect people, and these relationships go on to bolster the entire community.

Siddhartha is currently pursuing Master of Science in Civil Engineering in Construction Engineering and Project Management specialization at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. He has worked for over five years back in India, he has served both in the private sector of construction industry as well as a Rural Engineering Mentor for the Government of West Bengal in implementation of The World Bank funded Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayats Programme before joining UT for his graduate studies. He is experienced on multi-discipline rural infrastructure projects with continuous self-learning and the ability to perform with agility. Siddhartha has enhanced his communication and managerial skills by volunteering for efficient engineering solutions to social causes undeserved communities back in India.

What do you love most about your work?

Siddhartha’s past experience has allowed him to fully understand the requirements for a plethora of stakeholders involved. He wishes to benefit the Longhorns particularly the ones in STEM fields with this, to bolster their passion and help finding a correct career path for them.

Judy is a Master’s student at the School of Information, with a specific focus on the Data Analysis track. She completed her undergrad in Technology Application and Human Resource Development back in Taiwan. With nearly four years of experience in the HR sector within the technology and e-commerce industry, Judy aims to use data analysis methods to enhance the impact of HR professionals, contributing to organizational success and unlocking employee potential.

Beyond her academic and professional pursuits, Judy has lived in Taipei, Shanghai, Kyoto, and now Austin. She enjoys connecting with people and building meaningful connections.

What do you love most about your work?

I am determined to connect with different student groups and departments to assist those in need. As an international student, it is also my passion to advocate for the international student community and support their career development.

Internships and Career Experiences

Chiho Sawada collaborates with faculty, career service professionals, and industry partners to build experiential learning/professional development programs that help students gain essential skills, knowledge, and experience to position them for current and future job markets. Notably, he serves as project lead for the UT Austin Coursera program and campus co-leader for the UT System’s Texas Credentials for the Future Initiative. His portfolio also includes leading research projects on experiential learning and developing curriculum for courses related to entrepreneurship, service learning, research, and global mobility. He has more than 20 years of experience in higher education—in a variety of roles including tenured professor of interdisciplinary studies, director of a global research network, and editor of a peer-reviewed journal. Prior to joining Texas Career Engagement, Chiho spent his entire career in northern California at Stanford University, Holy Names University, and University of San Francisco. Chiho holds PhD and MA degrees from Harvard University and a BA degree from University of California San Diego. He has also attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, served stints in U.S. Embassies in Asia, and worked as a consultant on cultural affairs.

What do you love most about your work?

I am passionate about experiential learning, so I love many aspects of my job. What most excites me, however, are the social justice dimensions of TCE. I am honored to collaborate with such talented and idealistic colleagues to remove barriers to participation in experiential learning for all students.

Dustin has worked in higher education for more than a decade at universities in Nebraska, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and of course, Texas! Throughout his career, Dustin has held various roles related to admissions, housing, and teaching. He fully realized his passion for career services while managing federal internship programs in D.C. from 2015 to 2018. Dustin was excited to join Texas Career Engagement in Fall 2020, and he has worked on projects related to career competencies, internship courses, and UT’s Home to Texas program, which allows first-year students to return to their hometowns for a summer internship and research experience. He also serves as the campus coordinator for the undergraduate Archer Fellowship Program, in which selected juniors and seniors live, learn, and work in Washington, D.C. for a semester.

What do you love most about your work?

As a first-generation college student, I experienced many unknowns while earning my bachelor’s degree, but I quickly learned the value of participating in career experiences. I find meaning in building connections between students, employers, faculty, staff, and alumni to make career experiences more accessible for all Longhorns. I love the people I gets to work with while contributing to this mission, and appreciate the energy and creativity of UT students.

dustin.harris@austin.utexas.edu

Susan is a UT Austin alum born and raised in College Station, Texas. In 2022, she graduated from the Moody College of Communication with a major in public relations as well as communication and leadership. Throughout her time at UT, she discovered her passion for career education while helping her peers build their portfolios and engaging with the career center herself. Prior to joining Texas Career Engagement, she honed her communication and marketing skills at a public relations agency in Austin. In her current role, Susan harnesses those skills to promote and help make internships and other valuable career experiences accessible for Longhorns.

What do you love most about your work?

I love that I get to help equip students with the tools they need to embark on their career journeys, all while bringing organization and clarity to the career building process. I’m also excited to work at a place that brought joy and meaning in my life during my undergraduate years.

susan.nam@austin.utexas.edu

Aerin is originally from Baltimore, MD, and first came to Austin for her undergraduate studies at UT. She completed her B.A. in sociology & American studies which sparked her interest in social policy. Aerin went on to serve with AmeriCorps as a student support specialist at an Austin area middle school. This experience led her to return to UT Austin in 2021 to pursue dual master’s degrees in social work and public affairs. Since returning to UT, she has complemented her graduate studies with work as a teaching assistant on campus and interning at several local organizations in the social service sector.

What do you love most about your work?
Students want to maximize their time on campus, but it can be challenging finding experiences that fit their needs. I clearly remember the difficulties I had navigating the massive UT bureaucracy as an out-of-state undergraduate student. I love having the opportunity to help ease this process and make experiential learning opportunities more accessible and searchable for students.

Chelsey Jimenez originates from San Antonio, Texas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hope College and engaged in specialized studies in international relations from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and the Global Institute Open Campus in Berlin. Currently pursuing a master’s degree at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, she is also a program facilitator at Inspire – Women & Gender Studies, UT Austin, and works with the nonprofit sector with a focus on community development. At TCE, she contributes to career education and empowering Longhorns by creating research-based resources that help students secure internships and other career experiences.

What do you love most about your work?

What I love most about my work is contributing to TCE’s commitment to crafting resources that are not just accessible, but also inclusive. It’s fantastic to be part of a team that genuinely cares about tailoring initiatives to fit the unique needs of UT’s student community.

Biyun, a current UT master’s student in Business Analytics, carries a rich academic background with her undergraduate studies in finance and economics and minors in accounting and computer science (also completed at UT). Her journey is marked by an international experience, fueling her passion for celebrating variety and fostering cultural understanding.
Throughout her internships, Biyun has consistently aimed to create a positive impact by integrating her expertise in finance and project management. Her recent endeavors include contributing to the improvement of Colombia’s infrastructure, focusing on significant projects like railroads and the country’s first metro system. She started working at TCE in fall 2023, has been loving it so far, and continues to seek opportunities that allow her to leverage her skills for meaningful impact.

What do you love most about your work?
I really think our programs Home to Texas and the Archer Fellowship Program are very meaningful. For my first undergraduate years, I did not know what I wanted for my career, so I think being able to guide students through this process and help them through trial and error is very rewarding. I also think that the concept of bringing back students to their hometowns and interning there is quite unique, students can figure out if that is something they want to do long-term after graduation and it helps communities grow.

Joel is a dedicated graduate student at UT Austin, currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Moody College of Communication. With a strong commitment to enhancing career development and student engagement, Joel supports the Home to Texas and Archer Fellowship programs through his Texas Career Engagement position.

 

As a graduate assistant, Joel is excited to collaborate with the TCE team and to work closely with students to help them achieve their goals. With a focus on providing guidance and support, Joel aims to play a helpful role in empowering students and ensuring the continued success of these programs.

 

What do you love most about your work?

I am eager to contribute to student success through the programs I work with. Both programs provide undergraduate students with a unique learning opportunity, and I am excited to play a role in supporting them.

Operations

Julia Aguilar

Julia is a UT Austin alumna originally from San Antonio. She worked at local nonprofits for 15 years, focused on administrative support, event planning, community engagement, and supporting public humanities programs. She was thrilled to return to UT in the fall of 2018 to serve as executive assistant for Texas Career Engagement

What do you love most about your work?

Working with the vibrant UT community gives Julia so much energy. Supporting students to access programs and resources which will benefit them as they continue grow and develop in their career journey, including post-graduation, is especially rewarding.

jaguilar@austin.utexas.edu

Leif Thomas serves as an Administrative Associate at Texas Career Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. A recent UT Austin graduate himself, as a student he served as a Resident Assistant in the University Residence Halls, creating an engaging and welcoming community through many events and programs, as well as serving as a guide to connect students to resources on campus. He is excited to have the opportunity to return to campus and continue to support his fellow Longhorns.

What do you love most about your work?

As a Texas Ex, working in the UT community is a rewarding experience. Leif finds satisfaction in supporting students to access programs and resources that will help them to achieve their goals.

Strategic Outcomes

Troy Autin

Troy has worked in higher education and consulting for the last decade. His career services experience includes assessment, data management, and reporting for large public institutions. He has led efforts to standardized first destination reporting, build assessment culture, and develop processes to deliver and report data insights to stakeholders. Troy works with a variety of departments across the university to help support the career data collection and insights. He is a member of NACE, SoACE and SIOP. He enjoys learning and introducing new technology and insights to better serve our students and employers.

What do you love most about your work?

Troy’s strengths are strategic and storytelling. He enjoys researching and gathering data that will assist his colleagues make informed decisions in a timely fashion. One of his work hobbies is creating dashboards to display insights that are not only engaging but enhances the users experience with the data. He is happiest when he is creating a user interfacing dashboard that tells the story of the UT student’s career outcomes.

troy.autin@austin.utexas.edu

Career Associates

Piper is a Student Career Associate at UT Austin’s Texas Career Engagement Center and freshman Psychology major from Denton, Texas. In her career, Piper hopes to work with businesses on implementing mental health focuses for employees. A few things Piper loves is nature, running, Taylor Swift, and quality time spent with loved ones. Piper loves supporting her school and attending UT events.

What do you love most about your work? 

I love having the opportunity to be a friendly face right before someone’s interview. I also enjoy being a part of the process of helping people maximize their full potential.

Stephanie is a second year student at UT, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and a certificate in computer science. She is really interested in information technology, computer programming, and digital media, and hopes to work in data analytics in the future. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, painting, and taking cool photos!

What do you love most about your work? 

What I love most about my work is that I get to help make information regarding career development more accessible to students at UT. Through events, workshops, and other resources, I get the ability to help empower other students so that they can reach their own goals!

Hareem is a sophomore Economics major from Houston, TX. In his free time, he enjoys reading books, watching movies, and eating his favorite food, pizza. During his time at UT, Hareem is most excited about exploring Austin with his friends.

What do you love most about your work?

I love the people I work with here at TCE! Everyone is very kind, welcoming, and always ready to help. TCE puts students at its core and that is very visible in their programs, initiatives and efforts. It is the perfect place for me to not only work on my professional skills but to also grow as an individual.

Felisitasis a Student Career Associate at UT Austin’s Texas Career Engagement Center who goes by Feli for short. She loves playing sports, cooking, and spending time with her friends, family and pets.

What do you love most about your work?

I love how friendly each of the staff members are!

Melody. is a 3rd year MIS major at the McCombs School of Business. She is also completing a certificate in Design Strategies because she is interested in emerging human-centered technologies. In her free time, she loves to stay active with yoga, kickboxing, and walks along Lady Bird Lake. She is an  avid investor in experiences – festivals, concerts, travel, adrenaline boosts – over tangible purchases.

What do you love most about your work?

My work excites me because I love inspiring and supporting my peers around me. My position is more than just being the liaison or point of contact for our guests at TCE, it is about connecting and supporting student candidates toward their future career goals.

Sam is an Economics major from the Dallas area (McKinney Tx) and a current sophomore student. His goal is to minor in business and complete a CS certificate. Outside of school, he enjoys outdoor activities and sports such as ultimate frisbee, IM flag football, and IM volleyball. He is also a big foodie who loves trying different cuisines.

What do you love most about your work?

My job allows me to be actively part of campus, as it works as a bridge connecting students to employers and spread the awareness of such resources to other students on campus. The TCE student associate job also allows me to work on my professional and developmental skills needed for the workplace.