For many students, a college job is a way to make ends meet. If they’re lucky, they’ll find something in the job that will eventually help them in their career or some other facet of life. But when Regan Preston landed a job at the UT Visitor Center, it unleashed her passion: Regan wants all Texas students to feel like the opportunities college provides are within their reach. She could make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of Texans.
“A lot of people doubted me, told me that UT was too big and that there was no need to come here.” That discouragement had the opposite effect on Regan, who grew up south of Dallas in Duncanville. “I made my own decision and blocked out the opinions of everybody around me, and I definitely don’t regret that at all!” she says. “UT is a big school, but for me, that meant a lot of opportunities.”
Now a student ambassador at the UT Visitor Center, Regan says, “I really enjoy being able to interact with students and their families, sharing with them why UT is special.” One of her specialties is welcoming the families of student-athletes who are considering UT.
Compounding that positive experience at Texas, she volunteered at an elementary school in south Dallas. “There are so many students who have never even thought of attending a university. I see that as a problem, because I feel like everybody should have the privilege of attending a university and have somebody who can help guide them to do that.” Her study-abroad experience in South Africa only reinforced this view.
Though she had planned to be a teacher, she now thinks being a high school counselor might be the best fit. “I want to be that voice for students who think that they can’t do anything after they graduate high school — that they have to stay home and go straight into the workforce.”
And she sees a need for improvement in this area. “A friend from Houston said one of her high school counselors told her she could apply to UT, but she should ‘highly consider’ other schools. Knowing that we have those types of counselors in the state of Texas is something that really bothers me, and I feel like we should be doing better as a whole.”
She would like to return to North Texas to put her spirit of service to work full-time. And don’t be surprised to see her in the community outside the school. This communication studies major focused in political communication. She sees this as potentially useful as she advocates for educational policies that give every student a fair chance when it comes to public education.