Choosing a path: Major Exploration 2008
Recently, the freshman and sophomore football players took the next step in establishing successful academic careers by attending the 11th annual Major Exploration Night.
The event, which is organized by UT's Life Skills Coordinator Jean Bryant, offers much-needed assistance in the important decision of selecting a major. Since the program's inception in 1998, student-athletes have been given the opportunity to sit down, dine and talk with UT faculty members from various academic fields.
Bryant collaborates with the faculty and staff on campus to assist the students in achieving academic success.
"The goal of the evening is for our student-athletes to meet some of the advisors, deans and faculty members on campus and to be able to connect a name with a face," Bryant said. "It's also a chance for them to ask questions about classes and majors and what's expected of them on a campus like UT.
"It gives them the opportunity to build a relationship and maybe find a mentor, or maybe strike up an interest in a major they haven't even thought about, or find out what they can do with a particular major."
The event opened with a brief speech by Marc Musick, who is an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and a professor of Sociology. Dr. Musick touched upon a number of topics, focusing on UT's elite academic quality. He also stressed the importance of attaining the ultimate goal -- graduating.
During the evening, the underclassmen were able to explore all disciplines and learn more about everything Texas has to offer.
"I'm minoring in business, but I haven't decided about my major yet," said RB Vondrell McGee. "I think it's great that Texas has a program like this because I learned a lot about a few majors that I didn't know anything about. I think every school should have something like this for their freshmen and sophomores because it really helps."
The night was also beneficial to those who have already decided on an academic path or are looking to transfer to a different department.
"Right now I'm in liberal arts, but I'm trying to transfer into the (Red McCombs) Business School for next semester," said DE Sam Acho. "It was a great evening; I got to sit with a woman from the College of Communications and Mr. (Charles) Enriquez from the Business School and four or five of my teammates. We talked, joked around a little and learned more about the communications and business schools, so it was a lot of fun."
The program was also very beneficial for OL Kyle Hix, who is trying to transfer into the College of Communications.
"I found out a lot about what you have to do to transfer and what requirements there are," said Hix. "Tonight was definitely helpful because we got to interact with faculty and staff from all of the different colleges. They were really helpful and they answered all of our questions."
Noe Gonzales, an academic advisor in the College of Communications, was in attendance for that very reason.
"I always enjoy speaking to students on the behalf of the College of Communications," Gonzales noted. "We have a lot of good programs and there is always a lot of interest from our athletes in our areas of study because the skills that we teach are necessary in any line of work that they're going to participate in. It's always a pleasure to come talk with them about it."
Longtime participant of the event Elizabeth Hastings, an academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts for Spanish and Portuguese, recognized the importance of the program.
"I think it's very important for the student-athletes to know people outside of their comfort zone," Hastings said. "At my table we talked about study abroad, we talked about other foreign languages and we talked about following your passion and learning something that you like.
"I think that I have a little bit to share and I'm happy to do so," Hastings added.