April 23, 2018

10 Tips for Surviving Your Freshman Year of College

Freshman year can be tough: difficult discussions, homesickness, tough curriculum, late nights, new faces, a few extra lbs. Not to worry! UAT freshman share their insights on how to survive your freshman year.

1. Build Community

Research your local city’s tech/art/dev/business community. If you’re lucky enough to find a group like #yesphx, then join it! Human beings are the best resource.

As a freshman studying cyber security, Ashley Pearson wanted to find like-minded security professionals to connect with online and at events. As soon as she got to campus, she immediately embedded herself in the Phoenix cyber security community. She learned quickly: “Community allows for greater advancement, growth and evolution of society in a way that benefits all who are a part of it.”

Grab a friend and check out some Meetups. Cruise Eventbrite. Find out where conversations are already taking place online, and then contribute. Attend a town hall meeting. Teach 7th graders how to code. Revamp the local dog shelter’s website. Talk to everyone. Ask a lot of questions.

Pro tip: During your outreach efforts, ask for advice, not a job.


2. Get Social

Over the next four (or 2.8) years, you will accomplish a lot. Share it with the world (and potential employers)!

Hiring managers proactively seek out developers who actively contribute to open-source projects on GitHub, scientists who tweet about conservation, marketers who crush it on Medium and videographers who cultivate impressive YouTube channels.

You don’t need professional profiles on every platform. Pick two or three, and get active. Make sure you have strong privacy settings on your personal accounts. No public sexy selfies or house party pics!

Don’t overlook LinkedIn. It’s an invaluable resource if you’re authentic and thoughtful.

UAT freshman Andrew Van Winkle used LinkedIn to connect with an art director at a AAA studio. They chat about comics and game art. Andrew’s advice for incoming freshman? “Just talk to people. Ask them about what they do. It will help you figure out if it’s the job for you or not. And remember to follow up.”

UAT Student Andrew Van Winkle


3. Go to School-Sponsored Events

When professionals come to campus, they do it because they want to meet you.

Come prepared. Ask thoughtful questions. Stick around to chat. Don’t forget to follow up!


4. Learn How to Write

Hackers write reports. Engineers write process manuals. Marketers write strategic marketing plans. Everyone writes emails.

A poorly written cover letter can cost you a job, but a clever cover letter can open the door to opportunities that may have seemed unobtainable.

While you’re in college, perfect the art of cover-letter writing. Keep it under 300 words. Explain why you want to work at that specific company. Don’t rehash your resume. Address it to a human being. Showcase your passion and personality. Tell your career story.

Utilize your school’s tutoring services!


5. Learn How to Edit

Revise. Revise. Revise.

Always outline your papers. Start with really strong quotes. Use Grammarly. Phone a friend. Ditch passive voice (am, is, are, was, were). Avoid clichés like the plague. (See what I did there?)

When you think you finished a paper, print it out, and read it again. Staring at the screen for hours is tough on your eyes and your brain.


6. Get to Know Your Professors

Ask for help. Eat lunch with them. Go to office hours. Ask them about their research, hobbies, learning styles and books they’re reading.

Tell them if you are sick or confused.

UAT freshman Kevin Albregard remembers freaking out about missing one assignment during his first semester. “If I just talked with the teacher, the problem would have probably been solved easily,” Kevin said.

UAT Student Kevin Albregard

7. Befriend the Staff

Introduce yourself to the Career Services team on day one. These people tirelessly network on your behalf, drink lots of coffees with recruiters, research hiring trends, plan events and review thousands of resumes. They know people you want to know.

Your academic and financial aid advisors want to help you. Utilize their services to identify scholarship opportunities, graduate on time and stay sane.


8. Master Time Management

Class, homework, projects, networking, social media, exercise, sleep, fun. It’s a lot.

Try out a few time management apps to find out what works best for you. Stake out and claim your study turf. Form a study group. Research agile project management. Take breaks!


9. Expand Your Mind

You will encounter all sorts of people in the world. You’ll probably have to work with someone you don’t like. So, practice in college. Show the world you’re no snowflake!

Proactively seek out people with different opinions and life experiences than yours.

If you study art, find a computer science student to collaborate with on a project. Go to a sweat lodge with your Native American roommate. Talk to the girl who grew up on food stamps about her childhood. Ask your Muslim friend about Ramadan. Cook with the Mexican student from Japanese class. If you lean liberal, get to know the Young Republicans on campus.

You can also start a club. UAT Freshman Brandon Michelsen founded the UAT Robotics Club “to help people learn more about robotics and create innovative hardware of their own.” Brandon made a lot of friends through the club. “We’re always brainstorming new ideas and theorizing about the future.”

UAT Robotics Club Members


10. Take Care of Yourself

Make time for exercise. Talk to your RA. Meditate. Sleep. Have fun!


Curious about UAT campus life? Come check us out at the next UATx open house. Register here.


Alumni Highlight: Josh Milano

Game Art Alumni Josh Milano

Game Art and Animation alumni Josh Milano was recently hired as an Image Processing Specialist at Cranial Technologies, a company providing a non-surgical treatment option for children with plagiocephaly using the with the FDA-cleared DOC Band®.

What Are Your Job Responsibilities?
Utilizing 3D models of patients (example: children with deformed skulls), I take the head, align it to a grid and places points for measuring length, width, and asymmetry. I, then export the data for reports.

What Do You Miss About UAT?
What I miss the most about UAT would be the community that helped me grow as a person. Since graduation we’ve all had to grow up and face life head on.

Friends move away and work gets in the way of doing what you love to do such as art for me.

Game Art alumni gets hired at Cranial Technologies

Game Art alumni gets hired at Cranial Technologies

How Did Your Major Prepare You For An Industry Career?
The GAA major helped give me knowledge that spans across the spectrum of what it means to be a game artist.

What Are Your Tips For Students Who Want to Break In To The Industry?
One of the biggest tips I can give is don’t ever give up. You most likely won’t get into the industry right away so just keep on going and create the best work you can. You might feel your work is bad and will get you nowhere but in those mistakes you learn and grow. The only time you have truly failed is when you give up.

How Did You Get The Job?
With help from UAT Career Services Advisor Ashley Murry, Josh networked and landed this job.

Previous employment:

Tiny Vision Entertainment – Game Artist & Animator
Game CoLab – Art Intern
UAT – Game Art Tutor
Private Contractor – E-Line Media

Voice Recognition – AI for Audio

Voice recognition is a prominent technology that is being used in more and more places today.

There is voice recognition for recognizing the speaker. This type of voice recognition is used for security (physical access and access to files in computer network). This is also evolving to give specific instructions/information to the speaker as well.

There is voice recognition for translation, as well. This allows for written transcripts of audio events. The benefits are not limited to ADA compliance but useful for translating into other languages and to have a searchable transcript of an event.

In both cases, artificial intelligence (AI) is utilized to have the computer learn and improve on its success of voice recognition.

While everyone has heard of Siri or Alexa for voice recognition, there are innovative uses far beyond the home or smartphone. One recent example is in forensics. A voiceprint can be created in less than two minutes of speech. Crime experts are now using voiceprints for identity of voices from wire taps. This application is unique in that it uses the sound of one’s voice rather than the shape or pattern. That means that a voice match can be found regardless of the language or accent of the person.

At UAT, we implement both of these types of voice recognition in our classes, such as AI, machine learning, and deep learning. Some of the examples of what our students have done are:

  • Coding by Voice – This allows visually impaired or those driving to speak their code. The cool part is that when you write a line a code then you can say “check” and it will make sure your syntax is correct or make suggestions on corrections.
  • Speech Analysis for Intent – When you send an email, write a blog, or read a news article, the content can be analyzed for intent – positive or negative. This could be used to find only positive new stories. This way, you could filter out the negative stories or blog posts. It could also be used in emailing your boss about a problem. This is important because in the written word, some meaning is lost without the actual interaction and this would help to insure that the message you want to convey has the proper intent.

Voice recognition is just one of the technologies that UAT students master – because we excel at implementing new technology as it occurs. UAT is truly a University of Advancing Technology.


Alumni Highlight: Gage Roland

Gage graduated from UAT in May 2017, as a dual major in Advancing Computer Science and Human Computer Interaction. As a student, Gage had a known presence at UAT as a veteran Student Ambassador, giving tours to new students and their families.

Gage was hired as a Data Analyst at Omni ePartners, a broker company that works with brands to sell products through Amazon US, Canada, Fresh, and other online vendors like Chewy.com and Walmart.

What Does A Data Analyst Do?

As a data analyst, Gage generates back-end reports from Amazon to find financial trends in the companies we work with.

Gage looks for losses in revenue which commonly come from shipping infractions. These infractions can be studied and fixed by creating reports to send to our supply-chain analyst team.

Gage is also in charge of data integrity of the company’s brands. He maintains all of the contracts, points of contact, invoice records, and billing of our partners. At any time, he usually manages the data/information of about 80 companies. Whoa!

How Did Your Major Prepare You?

Gage said his majors prepared him to think about multiple ways to solve problems, check over his work, and continuously reflect on how to be more efficient. A tip from Gage: easy to write programs that automate data in Excel sheets are not only easy, but it will impress your boss.

How Did You Get Hired?

“The real reason I got this job was with help from UAT’s Career Services. I found this job, applied, and interviewed on my own, but it was because of Ashley Murry’s help that I was successful. She helped me create the tools I needed like an awesome cover letter, a solid resume, and provided me with useful interview tips. It was my job to take these tools and use them.” Thank you, Ashley!

Do You Have Advice For Future Grads?

Do something while you aren’t doing anything. Meaning, even if you’re not in your dream position, be in a position somewhere. Having job history shows hiring managers that you are employable and disciplined.

My second recommendation is minding your job length. It’s easy to get carried away jumping from retail job to retail job, but the length of employment matters more than the number of companies you work for. It shows you’re not going to leave your dream job!

Lastly is the “overqualified” complex. Realistically, you’re as qualified as the job offers you get. You may miss an opportunity to grow into the position you want if you aren’t able to compromise for a position that you consider to be less than rockstar.

What Do You Miss About UAT?

“I miss my friends, teachers, and classes. UAT holds a special place in my heart as the first school that made me love to learn and to go beyond what is required. I met many amazing friends and faculty that have influenced me so significantly; I’d be scared to see where I was without them. UAT has played a considerable part on my identity, and I will never forget that.”

Congratulations Gage! We are proud of you.


7th Annual Tempe Geeks Night Out

It’s the time of year again! UAT is excited once again to participate and sponsor Tempe Geeks Night Out. UAT will have lots of cool tech to show off such as activities in Virtual Reality, Robotics, 3D Printing, Sustainability and Math!

Join Tempe’s Geeks Night Out in its 7th year running, presented by the Arizona Sci-Tech Festival showcasing all things STEAM-related.

If you don’t know what STEAM means, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. As technology becomes more and more immersed in today’s world, STEAM jobs will be in extremely high demand and luckily for UAT students, all of our majors offered are 100 percent STEAM.

Enthusiasts and Geeks of all ages are invited to Discover the Science at this free, family-friendly event. There will be live music and entertainment and more!

Thanks to the City of Tempe and State Farm for presenting the 7th annual Geeks Night Out. You can “Discover the Science” too! Join us at the Tempe Community Complex on Thursday, Mar. 1, from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

Follow Tempe Geeks Night Out on Facebook and Instagram to get excited for the event!