Mother & Daughter Making EMAC a Family Tradition

Me and Mattie ‘Traditional’ isn’t something that comes to mind when thinking about the EMAC program. For Lari Tanner, the image of a traditional university setting looked something similar to her previous experience where professors cared more about lecturing at students than interacting with them.

In the fall of 2013, Lari became a Masters student in the Emerging Media and Communication graduate program and quickly realized that her experience at EMAC would be much different than the one she had 30 years ago. After having completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix, Lari decided to join the EMAC family. She gives credit of this decision to her daughter Mattie who received her Master’s Degree in Emerging Media and Communication in May of 2012.

Out of Lari’s four children, her oldest daughter Mattie is currently an editor for Society of Petroleum Engineers and is one of Lari’s biggest supporters. While Mattie was studying in the EMAC Masters program Lari says, “After every class with Kim [Knight], Mattie would come home and brag about the program and the professors.” Now that it’s Lari’s turn, she says, “almost every day after class my daughter will ask me about my day and if anything exciting happened.”

The biggest distinction Lari has identified between her two traditional university experiences is that EMAC feels more like a family. Rather than her previous involvement with an impersonal university environment, professors at UTD care about the students’ success on an individual level. Though, she was a bit apprehensive about going back to school as a nontraditional student, she has felt at ease with classes that are close-knit with students who support each other.

Lari is passionate about writing and has said that she would love to devote more time to writing novels and short stories. In Fall 2013, she took the Creative Fiction creative writing course where she wrote a story called “The Shoe Thief,” which is a candidate for submission to the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers. The course professor, Betty Wiesepape said, “The Shoe Thief” was one of the most promising stories written in my graduate creative writing class in the Fall of 2013.”

Lari doesn’t have any concrete plans for her capstone yet, but would like to do more in-depth research on how youth is perceived in the digital culture. What does Lari plan to do upon graduation?You may find her on campus as a Ph.D. candidate. Currently working for Allen ISD as a substitute teacher for grades K-12, she has grown to love teaching older students and would like to pursue a career as a professor to give the same positive experience she has received from EMAC.

Something you may not know about Lari – she’s a total movie buff and will probably win a battle involving film trivia.