Alumni Throwback: Nate Rykman

Nate Rykman, ’15

UPC Publicity Assistant, 2013 – 2014, & President, 2014 – 2015

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What was your fondest memory at UPC?

I always liked the First Flight Week. I loved it as Publicity Assistant and President because I got to expose new students to what UPC and the Union were about. I liked the variety of events we were able to host for these new students. We were able to get freshmen relaxed and comfortable on campus, and encourage them to meet new people. We could see that we had an impact on these students.

What was your favorite project or assignment?

I have to say J Cole. The lead up to the concert was so exciting and fun. In my role, I was able to develop the marketing for that concert and get people excited about it. There was so much hype surrounding the concert. That had to be my favorite experience at UPC.

What would you say had the greatest impact on you at UPC?

I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but, in hindsight, I am thankful for the full-time staff around UPC. They really led and supported us. Looking back, I see now how their influence helped me as a leader. The amount of professional development that UPC was able to teach me was incredible. In the years after, I realize how much I gained from the staff.

Where did you go after graduating?

I went to grad school at Texas A&M for a Master’s in Marketing. That was a great experience. I did a few internships along the way and I had a great time developing my skills. After I graduated from grad school in December of 2016, I got my first full-time job as a digital account manager for Tegna. I managed the digital advertising across the Tegna network of local news stations. I moved to New York this year for a promotion to a campaign management role for Tegna.

What is your favorite thing about your job now?

The people I work with. In this case, the job comes second to the great people who make the job exciting and fun. The people I work with make my job very interesting and exciting every day.

How did working for UPC prepare you for your role now?

My time at UPC gave me a sense of accountability. I got real-world experience with an actual budget to work with and real consequences attached to every decision. Planning those large events taught me accountability that transfers over to my current role.

What’s one thing you miss about UNT?

I miss the weirdness of UNT. UNT is such a weird place in the best way possible and the people there are an amazing group of people. It was cool to see so many diverse interests on campus. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but now I know how special UNT is.

What advice do you have for current students?

Soak up as much of the college experience as you can. College is such a unique time in your life where you have so many opportunities to do so many things all the time, especially the opportunities provided by the Union, and those don’t exist outside of college. This is a great time to develop yourself as a leader and make friends or connections. Embrace as much of college as you can. Go Mean Green!

If you could be an animal, which would you be?

Dog, specifically a corgi.

What’s something you could not live without?

My phone, specifically Apple Music.

What is on your music playlist?

The new MGMT album and also a podcast called Song Exploder.

What is your favorite color?

Navy blue.

What can you not leave the house without?

My phone and a denim jacket.

If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?

I would visit art museums all over the world and study art history.

Alumni Throwback: Sarah Gifford

Sarah Gifford, ’12

UPC Traditions Coordinator, 2011 – 2012

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What was your fondest memory at UPC?

When we put together Eagle Insomnia for Fall 2011. It was a lot of work, but it was rewarding to see all the students have a good time. I really liked event planning.

What was your favorite project or assignment?

I liked most of the projects that I worked on, I liked being able to bring something new to each event. I enjoyed Boo Bash for Halloween a lot. I loved that the kids could come and get their faces painted and have fun in a safe area. Boo Bash was one of my favorite events to work on. It was a lot of hard work, but it was awesome to provide for the community.

What would you say had the greatest impact on you at UPC?

Probably learning to manage my time in a professional setting, because I had to go to different meetings and speak with different department heads. I learned that this is the real world and it prepared me for what I would do.

Where did you go after graduating?

I decided to go back to school for nutrition, which is the opposite of what my undergrad was in. During that time, I traveled the world. In 2015, I went to 14 or 15 different countries. I came back and now I am a teacher. I teach at a Chater school in Arlington. I teach speech to seventh graders and P.E. to sixth graders.

What is your favorite thing about your job now?

I really like building connections and relationships with students. I like being able to give them guidance and extra attention they may need. I like building students up and develop their character.

How did working for UPC prepare you for your role now?

At UPC, there was always something to work on. There was never any down-time. As a teacher, you wear many hats and have many things to work on at once. UPC gave me experience with working with so many different people. I have so many different kinds of students. It was helpful getting that exposure at UPC and even volunteers.

What’s one thing you miss about UNT?

I miss being able to go on campus and see your friends. There was always something going on on campus. I think that UNT became my home and I miss my home. I would love to relive it, I love our campus.

What advice do you have for current students?

Just figure out what you really enjoy doing. See if there’s a connection between that and a career choice. If you’re doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. If you can get a job on campus, especially in the Union, you should take it.

If you could be an animal, which would you be?

Giraffe.

What’s something you could not live without?

Chocolate milk.

What is on your music playlist?

Mat Kearney and Manchester Orchestra.

What is your favorite color?

Green.

What can you not leave the house without?

Gum.

If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?

I’d be a stunt-woman. Maybe I should’ve gone off and do that with my life because that would be the coolest job in the world.

Alumni Throwback: Jose Robles

Jose Robles, ’12

UPC Marketing & Syndicate, 2009-2012 (deployed 2011)

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What was your fondest memory at UPC?

Just the staff. Everyone was friendly and welcoming; they welcomed me with open arms when I got there. It was a great environment.

What was your favorite project or assignment?

Working with the volunteer committee. I think they’re called something different now, but working with the volunteers was great. Building student leaders was the most fun. It was about being a student leader and building new ones.

What would you say had the greatest impact on you at UPC?

It was really just experience. Getting out there and learning what it’s like communicating with people. Be professional, putting on events, and making the student body happy.

Where did you go after graduating?

I worked for a year as a federal police officer. During that time, I was applying for law school. That was my goal. I missed it because I was deployed that year, but, when I got back, I applied for a scholarship. I studied for the LSAT through a prep-course. I took the test, got the score I needed, and applied to Texas A&M. I got in in 2014. I’m graduating in two months. I was supposed to graduate last year, but I got deployed. I got injured while I was out there and came back. I’m retiring early from the military.

What do you enjoy about being in law school?

I really enjoy it. You hear a lot of people being stressed out about it, but I think it’s interesting. It’s just about learning and understanding the law, and how it applies to the world.

How would you say that your time at UPC prepared you for your career as a lawyer?

Public speaking. I was very timid. UPC really helped me learn how to speak on a platform, which has helped me in law school.

What’s one thing you miss about UNT?

I really do miss the people the most. we built some comradery during college. Some of the people I worked with at UPC were some of my best friends. I maintain those connections to this day, but we’ve moved on with our lives and don’t get to see each other everyday.

What advice do you have for current students?

If you have dream, work for it. Don’t be scared. Also, college is not the end of the road. There’s more to life. Just live.

If you could be an animal, which would you be?

Piranha.

What’s something you could not live without?

My iphone.

What is on your music playlist?

Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears.

What is your favorite color?

Black.

What can you not leave the house without?

My challenge coin, from the military.

If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?

Drinking mai tais on a beach somewhere.

Alumni Throwback: Shane Silagi

Shane Silagi (aka Patchens), ’15

Multimedia Assistant, 2014 – 2015

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What was your fondest memory at Design Works?

All of the fun projects. I was able to work with highly creative people that I enjoyed working with. Every day was memorable, there was always something going on. I was always trying to keep up with all the creativity and it was a great place to grow. But shooting the GAP commercial was fun. I wasn’t there for it, but I edited it.

What was your favorite project or assignment?

I really enjoyed the Fine Arts project because it gave me an opportunity to talk to different people at different departments. I feel like it helped me tap into the spirit of the school itself, like it’s always been a big arts school. I loved listening to people talk about what art is and how it is a part of the Denton culture.

What would you say had the greatest impact on you at Design Works?

It was my boss, Steve. This place wouldn’t be what it is without him. To come here and be given the freedom to create was great. He believed in us as a team. He is a rare boss.

Where did you go after graduating?

I cried. There was a gallon of ice cream, at least three hour showers, and we got two cats; I went through the whole grieving process and then just searched for jobs for a long time. I ended up in a customer service job back at home, at a recreation center I really liked. I enjoyed that. And now I’m a program coordinator for them, which allows me to do fun side projects for them. They don’t have a marketing team, so I’m trying to change that. I’ve also been doing some acting and stand-up comedy. I just had my first television debut on CNN. Language of Laughter* is still going strong, we’ve been doing that for three years. It’s been growing and got nothing but good coming back. We want to keep helping out the community.

How would you say that your time at Design Works prepared you for your current job?

Coming here every day and having to assess our projects and being creative, all of that was amazing. Because now I wake up with the same mindset wanting to create.

What’s one thing you miss about UNT?

Everything. I miss the people and the campus. It keeps growing and changing, and I love it. I miss all the fun events that happened on the side, but I’m kind of spoiled to because I get to come back to do comedy shows.

What advice do you have for current students?

Don’t get discouraged when you graduate. There’s a time frame, when you leave college, when you’re going to have to do a lot of things you don’t want to do. Don’t let that stop you, be patient. Keep working hard. You will get to where you want to be eventually, but you have to stick it out.

If you could be an animal, which would you be?

A whale. An orca whale specifically because they’re at the top of the food chain, but in the ocean. I like to swim.

What’s something you could not live without?

My girlfriend.

What is on your music playlist?

Black Panther album, it’s so good.

What is your favorite color?

Pink.

What can you not leave the house without?

Water.

If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?

I would be in a Hollywood movie.

* Language of Laughter is a non-profit organization that uses stand-up comedy as a vehicle for raising money to improve childhood literacy in local schools. Shane, along with his best friend Stu Hollowell, started Language of Laughter in 2015. Since then, they have raised thousands of dollars for Denton ISD schools, held bilingual story-times for young students, held multiple literacy workshops, and started an annual comedy festival. You can learn more about Language of Laughter on their website and facebook. Their next event will be on March 17th, 8PM – 11PM, at Tom’s Daiquiri in Denton.

 

UNTThreads: February 2018

When the calendar turned to February, we started ironing out the details of our UNTThreads campaign. The mission of the campaign is to highlight and celebrate the unique variety in style on campus. We love seeing how the students at UNT express themselves through their fashion! Check out what these creative, beautiful humans were wearing in the cold and rain this month.

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We can’t wait to see what you are wearing in March! Be on the lookout for #UNTThreads on facebook, twitter, and instagram.