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A Degree That
Makes a Difference

A liberal arts degree provides the foundation for successful careers in health care, journalism, entertainment, and more. By Devynn Case

In today’s increasingly global world, employers are beginning to place more value on a liberal arts education, which provides graduates with a dynamic, far-reaching knowledge base.

A recent report on employment, skills, and workforce strategy from the World Economic Forum found that 80% of employers agreed that all students need a strong foundation in both liberal arts and sciences. And a report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities noted that employers felt that candidates with broad learning were most prepared for long-term career success.

Elisabeth Cawthon, dean of UTA’s College of Liberal Arts (COLA), says that COLA students start with classroom experiences that allow them to engage in critical, interdisciplinary thinking. They also learn effective communication, benefit from internships, and find support from involved, connected faculty—all excellent workforce preparation.

“A degree in the liberal arts can educate future leaders and expansive thinkers who are comfortable in many fields,” says Dr. Cawthon. “It prepares students for creative, worthwhile, and beneficial careers.”

  • “UT Arlington was a great experience. I was able to experience different forms of journalism, such as The Shorthorn and UTA News en Español. I also interned with Proyecto U.”

Juana Palmieri

’19 BA, Broadcast Communication
Multimedia Digital Journalist

Juana Palmieri became interested in a news career in her early twenties and immediately decided to attend UT Arlington. She credits her time at UTA with teaching her the value of hard work.

“UT Arlington was a great experience,” she says. “I was able to experience different forms of journalism, such as The Shorthorn and UTA News en Español. I also interned with Proyecto U.”

Palmieri was part of the Hispanic Media Initiative (HMI), a program in UTA’s Department of Communication that focuses on the advancement of Hispanic media education, journalism, and research; addresses urgent needs found in the media industry; and secures the continued development of a world-class education at UTA.

UT Arlington’s HMI program is one of the best in the country, producing broadcast journalism professionals in all areas of the field. The program has a 100% graduation and job placement rate, highlighting the demand from industry for UTA-trained graduates.

HMI has produced a broad network of alumni working in some of the largest markets in the United States and internationally. Proyecto U, established in 2014, is one of the few programs in the country that gives students real-time, experiential learning opportunities in broadcast journalism.

Palmieri, currently the only digital producer at Univision Dallas, understands that a career in communication is a big responsibility.

“I want to continue to create content both digitally and for television,” she says. “It’s an important way to inform our community, and seeing my work published online is very rewarding. Every improvement that I make motivates me to continue to do better in my profession.”

Julian Rodriguez, lecturer in the Department of Communication and faculty advisor for HMI, advocates that a liberal arts education is no different from the STEM disciplines.

“Liberal arts and STEM fields complement and improve each other by creating a holistic, multidisciplinary environment in which professionals arm themselves with the ability to see, understand, and interpret the world,” he says. “We live in a world that has never been more connected, yet these omnipresent communication channels are flooded with unclear or, worse, misleading messages. A liberal arts education provides a solid foundation that facilitates understanding of the human condition.”

  • “My degree has given me a leg up on my competition. Getting to hear insights from UTA faculty members and their experiences about being in L.A. and New York really prepared me for a career once I graduated.”

Kevin Bach

’17 BFA, Theatre Performance

Kevin Bach used to lie to his parents, saying he was studying at the library when in fact he was rehearsing for local plays.

“I didn’t want them to know, but a mom always knows when her kid is lying,” says Bach. “My parents had always hoped that this acting thing would be just a hobby for me.”

His parents were not alone in their skepticism. Images of artists hustling, trying to find work, and worrying about where their next paycheck will come from are common. This was especially true for Bach’s parents, who cringed at the idea of their son moving to Los Angeles at age 18 to become an actor without a degree.

“They said, ‘At least get a degree first before you go,’ to which I replied, ‘Only if you let me major in theater,’” he says. “The entertainment industry is one of the most competitive fields out there, but I feel like I’m living my dream. I get to collaborate with other actors to tell a story. It doesn’t get any better than that. Eventually my parents have come to terms with my passion and career, and I am so incredibly grateful for their support.”

Bach, who has acting credits on the TV shows Blue Bloods and Gotham as well as roles in several short films, is also grateful for support he received from his dedicated professors throughout his time at UTA. He says they introduced him to real-world practice from his first day of classes in his freshman year.

“Our programs emulate industry practice and aesthetics,” says Ann Healy, theatre arts associate professor. “Students interact with professionals working in the industry as well as participate in masterclasses, workshops, and internships. A liberal arts education helps students develop a strong sense of responsibility and transferable practical skills, such as communication and analytical problem-solving abilities.”

The program’s production company, Maverick Theatre Company, immerses students in theatrical production work alongside classes in dramatic literature, theater history, and playwriting. Students gain hands-on experience in all aspects of theater and have opportunities to direct, stage manage, and design and perform on stage.

Bach says attending UT Arlington gave him a strong foundation in his craft.

“My degree has given me a leg up on my competition,” he says. “Getting to hear insights from UTA faculty members and their experiences about being in L.A. and New York really prepared me for a career once I graduated. They had so much knowledge to share with me. I couldn’t help but to be a sponge and absorb as much as I could.”

  • “Having patients learn your name and say thank you or ‘Dios la bendiga’ [God bless you] is such an amazing feeling. I am grateful for the education decisions that brought me here.”

Jacqueline Delgado-Martínez

’19 BA Political Science, BA Spanish for Translation and Interpreting
Medical Interpreter

Jacqueline Delgado-Martínez always knew she wanted to give back to her community, so she began her collegiate career at a community college with the intention of becoming a nurse. But now, as a medical interpreter at a public health hospital in North Texas, she’s there for the community in a way she never imagined.

“Something that we do as medical interpreters is speak in the first person, as if we were the patients,” Delgado-Martínez says. “That can be very affecting at times. But I still love my job. I love being there for patients and their families.”

She recalls the passion that her UT Arlington professors showed, inspiring her to work hard to finish her degree—teachers like Alicia Rita Rueda-Acedo, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Spanish Translation and Interpreting Program.

“I teach translation and interpreting in three areas, including health care,” says Dr. Rueda-Acedo. “It’s vital to provide students with assignments that replicate the types of activities they would encounter working as translators and interpreters in the real world.”

In support of COLA’s mission to vitalize student learning not only with research and creativity, but also with professional experiences, Rueda-Acedo has established several collaborative partnerships with local nonprofit and for-profit organizations that provide services to the underprivileged Hispanic community.

One partnership is Stories to Our Children, a program led by the Arlington Public Library. Through this initiative, underserved parents, many of them immigrants, are empowered to write, refine, and illustrate their life stories for their children. In turn, their children learn their family histories and the value of preserving them. Delgado-Martínez helped translate several of those stories—which are archived at the library—into English.

“Her generosity and professionalism allow the whole Arlington community to have access to these stories,” says Rueda-Acedo. “Translating these stories and making them available evokes sympathy, discussion, and a feeling of belonging. It gives voice to the voiceless.”

Delgado-Martínez is proud of her choice in coming to UTA. She credits her wide-ranging liberal arts education with preparing her for a demanding career and the capacity to see others’ viewpoints while assessing her own.

“Having patients learn your name and say thank you or ‘Dios la bendiga’ [God bless you] is such an amazing feeling,” she says. “I am grateful for the education decisions that brought me here.” uta

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