Director of Visitor Center Christina Brooks
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Territory: Northeastern U.S. (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania)
Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Sugar Land, Texas at age 13. I went to Clements High School, which was a great opportunity to embrace being at a large public school with lots of clubs and electives to get involved in. I first discovered my love of the Spanish language and culture in school and had the opportunity to travel to Mexico City in a cultural exchange program during my senior year of high school.
Q: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
A: I participated in the CAP program at UTSA and transferred to UT Austin my sophomore year. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study in college, so I started out as a Spanish major, then added Public Relations my junior year. UT Austin is great because with so many majors and highly ranked colleges and schools, it’s easy to change your major or add a second field of study and end up in a wonderful program that you might not have known about before you started college.
Q: How long have you been working in higher education?
A: I was a student ambassador (SHARE) for three years while at UT Austin, and I came to work for the Visitor Center after I graduated in 2010. My time as an ambassador and tour guide opened my eyes to the world of admissions, and I knew that helping students and their parents find the right school was just what I wanted to do. I’ve loved working with younger students and introducing them to what it means to be at a big university. It’s great to know that for some students we’re the first college campus they’ve ever stepped foot on!
Q: What is your favorite place on campus?
A: My favorite place on campus is the South Mall. I love to lie in the grass and read a book—the big tree limbs provide a nice escape from the Texas sun! It’s a great place to nap, people watch, throw a Frisbee or catch up with friends. Plus, you have a great view of the state Capitol!
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do in Austin?
A: I love to ride my bike, and Austin is a very bike-friendly city. If you live on or near campus, there are hundreds of fun activities within a three-mile radius. I also love to go to shows, and Austin’s known as the live music capital of the world. It truly lives up to that name during South by Southwest. You can see some of your favorite bands and find out about new ones, often for free during this week of music, movies and technology.
Advice to Prospective Students
- Get out of your comfort zone - Branch out and meet new people, join new clubs and try new food. College is a time to expand your horizons, and you can’t do that if you stick with your same friend group or refuse to challenge yourself.
- Ask for help - This can be one of the simplest, yet hardest things to do. Everyone here wants you to succeed, but you must be the one to initiate the effort! We have free tutoring at the Undergraduate Writing Center and, of course, your professors, teaching assistants, and peers are always here to help you.
- Travel - UT Austin has an incredible study abroad program, with opportunities to study on five continents in countless countries. Employers want to hire globally-minded candidates, and learning another language or about a new culture will certainly give you an edge. Also, once you graduate and get a job, you may not have the opportunity to travel for months at a time, so take advantage of it while in college!