EMAC Graduate Caps Stellar Career in Basketball, Academics

Madi Hess
Madison Hess

When Madison “Madi” Hess crosses the stage at UT Dallas commencement ceremonies this week, she will be participating with magna cum laude honors in theemerging media and communication (EMAC) program.

But she also leaves a legacy as a standout student-athlete. At an institution more known for academics than athletics, Hess has excelled in both — and she has the championship ring to prove it.

As team captain and point guard, Hess led the women’s basketball team last season to its winningest season ever (26-5), the American Southwest Conference (ASC) title and its first appearance in the Sweet 16 round of theNCAA Division III National Tournament.

After transferring here her junior year from Concordia University in Austin, Hess racked up numerous accolades. Last season, she was the conference tournament MVP, and named to the All-ASC first team and the All-South Region second team. Hess also was UT Dallas’ first nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.

During her senior year, she led the Comets with an average of 12.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and led the ASC with 5.1 assists per game. She ranked third in NCAA D-III from the three-point range, shooting 45.9 percent from beyond the arc.

And all the while, despite a heavy practice and game schedule, and frequent travel during the basketball season, she maintained an excellent academic record, carrying a 3.8-plus GPA and making the ASC’s All-Academic honor roll.

“She raised the level of intensity for us,” head coach Polly Thomason said. “Madi was committed to being the hardest worker both on and off the court, and she brought a competitive fire for both academics and athletics. She took us to the next level and brought some national exposure for the University.”

 

Madi was committed to being the hardest worker both on and off the court, and she brought a competitive fire for both academics and athletics. She took us to the next level and brought some national exposure for the University.

UT Dallas women’s basketball head coach Polly Thomason

Basketball fans took notice. During her two seasons with the team, Hess saw a surge in campus support for athletic events as she helped ignite Comet fever among students, staff and faculty.

“I remember playing here at UT Dallas during my sophomore year at Concordia, and it was just really empty. It was mostly parents, not the student body,” Hess said. “By my senior year, people were filling the stands and waving ‘fat heads’ (poster-sized images of players’ faces).”

Fans started to set attendance records two seasons ago, when the men’s team nabbed its conference championship and made it to the Sweet 16. The women’s team did the same last year.

Hess put her EMAC talents to work by helping to design the silver conference championship ring for the team, which features an orange gemstone and the team’s hashtag slogan #allin. Then she helped raise money so her teammates wouldn’t have to pay for their rings.

“One donor ended up paying for all the seniors’ rings,” Hess said.

Team members have kept a close bond off the court. For her senior capstone project, Hess developed a documentary about the journey of teammate Amber Brown, who is the first in her family to graduate from college.

Hess hopes to work in a sports-related industry someday. Her dream would be to emulate the career of Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, but she’s also interested in designing logos for sports companies.

She’s already had a few “cool internships,” editing reports on the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers for CBS Radio, and interviewing coaches for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine.

With her winning combination of athletic and academic accomplishments, Hess said coming to UT Dallas is one of the top decisions she has ever made.

“I’m not a small-town person,” she said. “Having more opportunities for academics was really important for me. I saw everything the [Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology] Building had to offer, and it was awesome. Everyone was so welcoming. It just felt right.”

She has one more basketball-related goal. Hess hopes to travel with her parents and Thomason to Knoxville, Tennessee, to see her All-American jersey, while it’s still hanging in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. It will come down in June.

Though Hess admits she sometimes finds it antagonizing to sit in the stands now rather than play on the court, she will always take great pride in what the Comets accomplished during her time here.

“We did so well. I’m just glad for what we did. It’s such a great notch in our belts,” Hess said.

 

ATEC Team Developing Virtual Teachers to Help Dyslexic Students

Marjorie Zielke

 

A professor in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication is researching the development of a virtual teacher that will facilitate the most demanding portions of learning curricula for children with dyslexia.

Dr. Marjorie Zielke, who is also director of UT Dallas’ Center for Modeling and Simulation, and her team are collaborating with the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) to create the simulation.

“For several compelling reasons, we are researching a virtual teacher,” said Zielke, director of ATEC’s Virtual Humans and Synthetic Societies Lab. “The challenge is that there aren’t enough trained therapists for some of the most challenging portions of the hospital’s dyslexia curriculum termed ‘new learning.’ We’re researching a variety of technology approaches to fill this gap.”

According to TSRHC, dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects approximately 10 percent of children. Those diagnosed with dyslexia have trouble connecting sounds to letter symbols. This affects the way children with dyslexia learn to read and spell.

Dr. Jeffrey Black, medical director of the Luke Waites Center, looks forward to implementing this new technology-based system.

“The center has had success using technology in the form of recorded teaching paired with teacher-facilitated learning in helping the child with dyslexia to read and spell,” Black said. “Advances in the understanding of dyslexia treatment and the development of interactive technology-driven instruction make this the right time for the next TSRHC curriculum innovation. Making effective intervention accessible to more students is the goal.”

Zielke said several components of the technology development will provide excellent research opportunities for the Sim Center team.

The interface under consideration for the project will include the live teacher, the students and the virtual teacher, among other technologies the team is considering.

“The interaction between this triad is a design challenge,” Zielke said. “The persona of the virtual teacher is another research design component, and we are studying several model therapists to create the right visualization, voice and personality for the potential virtual teacher.”

One important aspect of this virtual teacher research is that the curriculum and the content is critical, but we also must consider everything a therapist does. In this particular project, we are studying the back-and-forth interaction between the students and the virtual teacher. The children have to enjoy the experience and understand what they’re supposed to learn.

Dr. Marjorie Zielke,
assistant professor of arts and technology and director of UT Dallas’ Center for Modeling and Simulation

Researchers also must immerse themselves into the subject matter to understand the program fully. She said researchers must consider elements such as vocalization and human physiology.

“An important part of what we do is collaborating with subject matter experts,” Zielke said. “We need to be able to work really closely with them. A big part of the project is the collaborative design phase, so we’ve been studying videos of live lessons and analyzing them as well.”

One of the main challenges in the initial design phase is making the tradeoff between the live teacher and the simulation seamless.

“One important aspect of this virtual teacher research is that the curriculum and the content is critical, but we also must consider everything a therapist does,” she said. ‘In this particular project, we are studying the back-and-forth interaction between the students and the virtual teacher. The children have to enjoy the experience and understand what they’re supposed to learn.”

Zielke sees the potential for incorporating new technology like the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head-mounted display, into future projects.

Although she’s not considering these technologies for the dyslexia project, Zielke said she has expanded her research focus from screen-based environments to virtual reality to better represent face-to-face interactions.

“We don’t really focus on one particular technology, but rather we try to consider the research objective,” she said. “In fact, an important area of research and a question we are frequently asked is, ‘How do various media work together to create the holistic curriculum?’”

The Sim Center team has enjoyed recent successes in health education-related simulations.

In 2015, the team won Best in Show: Academic Faculty or Staff Category in the peer-reviewed Serious Games and Virtual Environments Competition at the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare. It was honored for its work on the TIME (Transformation in Medical Education) Learning Portal — an internally funded project done in collaboration with UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The team also won the same award in 2014 for GLIMPSE — A Game to Learn Important Communications Methods for Patient Safety Enhancement — which simulates communication between physicians and nurses. The project was a collaboration with UT Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Baylor Scott & White Health. It was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality through UT Arlington.

Zielke recalled some of the research design issues in some of her team’s earlier projects, such as GLIMPSE.

She said the medical component of the dialogue has to be precise because researchers are portraying behavior in the context of the medical profession. Audiences lose interest if they encounter unrealistic situations in games, but her team must simultaneously try to persuade users to adopt these new communication strategies.

“In the case of the project with TSRHC, the design is very deliberate in terms of what has to happen,” she said. “The curriculum is complicated for therapists to learn. By creating a virtual therapist and considering other technology solutions, we can potentially have educational programs more widely available to children because there will be more resources to help teach.”

O’Donnell Art History Institute Opens New Research Center at DMA

1The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History recently debuted a new research center at the Dallas Museum of Art that will serve as a counterpart to the main offices at UT Dallas.

Designed by Buchanan Architecture, the 1,882–square-foot satellite campus is equipped with state-of-the-art digital art history research tools and provides unique access to the art museum’s collections and the research resources held at the Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Library.

Dr. Richard R. Brettell, founding director of the O’Donnell institute and the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies, said the site will provide a comfortable “living room” for Dallas-Fort Worth area art historians, four senior scholars and four PhD students. The space also includes two seminar rooms.

“For all of us at the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, the close study of the art object itself remains at the center of serious scholarship,” Brettell said. “For that reason, we are delighted to inaugurate a historic partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, which has a truly encyclopedic collection of global art.”

For all of us at the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, the close study of the art object itself remains at the center of serious scholarship. For that reason, we are delighted to inaugurate a historic partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, which has a truly encyclopedic collection of global art.

Dr. Richard R. Brettell,
founding director of the O’Donnell institute and the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies

Research in the institute is focused on works of art and materials held in regional collections and institutions, and exploring intersections between the visual arts, the sciences and technology.

“The O’Donnell Foundation is, not accidently, a donor to both UTD and the DMA, and the project of digitizing the permanent collection of the DMA, so important for area scholarship, was funded by the foundation,” Brettell said. “We will, in effect, bring art historical research right into the center of the DMA in a beautifully designed space next to the DMA’s Mayer Library and adjacent to the offices of the museum’s art historical brain trust, its curators.”

The complementary spaces also illustrate the new partnership between the institutions.

“The Dallas Museum of Art is pleased to partner with UT Dallas and house the downtown campus for the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History,” said Walter Elcock, interim director of the art museum. “This precedent-setting collaboration expertly furthers the museum’s mission of being an accessible steward of cultural heritage and promoting research initiatives while expanding the knowledge base of works in our collection. We are honored to celebrate the opening of this research center, which will play an important part in the development of the next generation of art historians.”

Upcoming collaborations between the institute and the museum include a scholar’s day to accompany the museum’s new exhibition — “Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots” — and research initiatives in conservation science and Islamic art.

“Initially, our collaborations will focus on two important areas — the global study of Islamic art in honor of the museum’s long-term loan of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art and in the area of conservation science, which will partner with the museum’s newly endowed and equipped Conservation Center and UTD’s Department of Chemistry,” Brettell said.

2“The space will also make available UTD’s state-of-the-art computer technology and high-speed Internet access, which will have direct benefits to the DMA’s own research agenda. This partnership will only grow and deepen in future years.”

The main campus location, designed by Cunningham Architects, opened in May and features art from UT Dallas alumnus Gabriel Dawe MFA’11 and visual arts professor John Pomara, among others.

The 3,700-square-foot space at UT Dallas also houses a collection of European art auction catalogs from the 1960s.

The O’Donnell institute was founded in 2014 with a $17 million endowment gift from arts patron Edith O’Donnell, and serves as a center for innovative research and graduate education in art history.

Research Finds New Trends in News Consumption

angela_leeA new study from the School of Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication at UT Dallas investigates the willingness of consumer’s to pay for news.

In research published in Electronic News, Dr. Angela Lee — along with Dr. Hsiang Iris Chyi from UT Austin and Dr. Avery Holton from the University of Utah — discovered that paying for news online could be regarded as socially undesirable.

“We already know that people are less willing to pay for news online than in print,” Lee said. “This study goes a step further and attempts to explore the psychological underpinning of news consumers’ paying intent across different platforms.”

767 U.S. Internet users were asked how willing they were to pay for news in three forms: print, web and app. They were also asked to gauge their perception of others’ willingness to pay.

The study found:

  • 8 percent of respondents believed others would be more likely to pay for print news than they themselves would be.
  • 44 percent of respondents believed others would be more likely to pay for web news than they themselves would be.
  • 5 percent of respondents believed others would be more likely to pay for app news than they themselves would be.
  • The perceived difference in how much more likely others would pay for news than oneself widens from print to web and to app editions

Lee said the “third-person perception,” a theory that states people exposed to mass media messages perceive a greater persuasive effect on others than on themselves, helps explain why people think others are more likely to pay for the news.

“It’s human nature that most of us like to think that we are not just ‘smart purchasers,’ but that we are smarter than others,” she said. “The fact that many respondents think others are more likely to pay for news across different platforms than themselves suggest that paying for news is not perceived as a smart buy by those people, and this is especially true when it comes to news delivered in digital formats. Perhaps the question that news organizations should begin asking is, ‘How can we produce content that is deemed valuable to the audience?’”

Fall 2015 Capstone Celebration

EMAC Capstone Blog Post

Please join us on Thursday, December 3 at 7:00 pm in the ATC Lobby for our Fall 2015 Capstone Celebration! We are always excited about this event, but it carries particular significance this semester. These are the first EMAC graduates from the new School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, and this is the first time that we have been able to host the event in our ATC home.

At the event, students will share their semester long projects. Graduate students and select undergraduate students will make formal presentations of their projects, then we will have a showcase where all students will show their work more informally. During the showcase, the audience will have the opportunity to visit with the capstone students and interact with their projects.

You may preview the projects using the following links, but we hope to see you at the Capstone Celebration to let our students impress you with their projects.

 

Undergraduate Projects

 

Sara Ahmad – Storytelling through Video (https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAIAABFrKNUBGg-Yj25o2AIRjIzAFFXcaYxR_80&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile) (Honors project, Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Danielle Boer – The Daily Inquiry (DannieBoer.com)

Nancy Bouton – Little Readers Room (Littlereadersroom.com)

Candace Brand – Love.Connect.Blog. (http://www.loveconnectblog.com/)

Nicole Brown – APPSCAM (appscam.org)

Dylan Carroll – Dallas Off-Road Bike Association (DORBA) Redesign (https://www.behance.net/DylanCarroll)

Jennyrayne Colangan – The Kendo Documentary (www.thekendoexperience.wordpress.com)

Crystal Ezeoke – #LovefysinAsia: Funding Documentary Production (http://igg.me/at/lovefys-in-asia)

Misha Fazeli – Social Presence Study (https://www.instagram.com/feastdallas/) (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Paul Ford – Wearable Sentiment Analysis (www.paulsmalls.com) (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Laura Garsea – Utilizing New Media to Further Community Building (www.cleverfangirl.com)

Valerie Garza – Just Passing Through Missions (justpassingthroughmissions.com) (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Yajaira Gonzalez – Wingstop CSR Research and Development (https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAIAAAkdOGwBR18PjvNAmlwJQz3cbYs7vwrUNYw&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic) (Honors project)

Katherine Harp – Screen Time Before Bed and Sleep Patterns in Adolescents

Madi Hess – A Legacy Never Forgotten (https://www.linkedin.com/in/madison-hess-28017310b)

Carion Jackson – Hold On, I’ve Got a Meme for This

Stephen Jones – The Food Community Blog (https://foodcommunityblog.wordpress.com) (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Twinkle Lam – Feedbag (feedbag-project.org)

Eric Martinez – The Value of an Unsettling Image

Yuyun Liu – My Best Friend (https://www.linkedin.com/in/yuyun-kristy-liu-a4516687)

Mithun Mathew – The Richardson Breakroom

Karyn Narramore – Twitter and Donald Trump: A Love Story

Patrick O’Connor – Redeemer Designs (http://redeemerdesigns.com)

Natalie Peña Mares – Intercultural Love (www.youtube.com/npmtv)

Matthew McCann – Eventzee Redesign

Angelica Presti – Girls Girls Girls Volume 1 (https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAMAABHjylYB5caNHgUVdW5BZ0INfc3VZvHZ7qo&trk=hp-identity-name)

Matthew T Rader – Viral Vloggers (matthewtrader.com)

Anum Tahir – Up, Up and Away, Super A! (https://www.facebook.com/UpandAwaySuperA/) (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Cristelle Tejes – ManeGait Extended

Alyson Tong – Chasu

Katie Truesdale – Who Really Won the Debate (www.katietruesdale.com)

Jordan Watts – PetroFund (http://petro-fund.com/)

 

 

Graduate Projects

Benaiah Ely – Shoeveillance (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYhlrw-l-iE8OQMUJaBktMg)

Carlos Harleaux – My Indie Block (www.myindieblock.com)