College of Liberal Arts

The Student Technology Assistant Program

Kayla working the microphone near the Golden Gate BridgeStudents come to the University of Texas at different stages in their educational paths. Some already have limited training and skill sets developed in high school, while others have little more than a determination paired with a desire to learn and grow.

Each semester, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) hires about forty students to fill part-time positions. Students work alongside professional staff to create media for online education and promotional materials for units across UT.

The LAITS Student Technology Assistant (STA) program offers students a wide-ranging set of job opportunities, including digital illustration, videography, coding, animation, audio engineering, graphic design, website creation, project management, and traditional print media. The STA program is open to any current UT student, regardless of their major or college.

Kayla editing video

Interested students apply to the STA program just as they would apply for a professional job. They submit resumes, go through an interview process, and must be able to explain why they are the best candidate for the position and how they hope it will further their education at UT. Before a student is hired on as an STA, they are already honing vital professional skills by going through this hiring process.

Once students are hired as STAs, they begin by working closely with professional staff and student peers, receiving training in their respective fields. A student will begin their time as an STA by working on entry-level tasks.They receive feedback from the professional staff and senior STAs. As they develop their crafts, they are given more complex tasks and responsibilities.For example, an STA working in the video department might initially work setting up cameras or lights, but over the course of their time as an STA, they could move on to directing an entire film set.

Students have opportunities to work on projects that develop professional skills while simultaneously building their resumes, making them more valuable job candidates upon graduating. STAs have worked on media productions that have aired on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Nature, The Austin American Statesman, and The Texas Tribune, among many others.

STAs work closely with professors and graduate students to develop educational media and supplemental learning materials for courses, often developing close working relationships over several semesters.

Phillip working at facebook

Full-time professional staff directly manage and supervise students to make sure they are productive employees. On-the-job training begins on an STA’s very first day, and continues over the course of their time at LAITS. Staff members also act as mentors to STAs as they transition from students into professional employees, giving them valuable soft skills like office etiquette and professional communication.

Working with students is a rewarding and productive experience. Since the program started in 2004, there has been over 600 audio, video, and graphic design STAs.

At LAITS, we place professional expectations on student work and encourage them to always improve upon their skills. Some of our talented STAs have joined the department as full-time employees after graduation, while others have used their experience at LAITS to leapfrog into senior positions and competitive work environments elsewhere outside of UT. Among others, our alumni include Phillip Pan, who works as an iOS developer on Facebook messenger, Charlotte Carpenter, who works as an Associate Editor for VOX Media, and Kayla Croft, who is currently working as a utility sound technician on Avatar 2 & 3.

Charlotte working vox

LAITS is proud to adhere to the University's mission of educating and nurturing students into young professionals; we provide work experience that is complementary to students' educational experience in the classroom.

To date, over 600 audio, video, and graphic design students have come through our program. Students are at the core of our department, helping us create outstanding online education experiences. They have a direct impact on the quality and volume of services we are able to provide to UT and offer crucial insights into how students excel and grow in a modern, top-tier university.

For more information about LAITS STA program please contact:

Suloni Robertson
Art Director / STA Program Manager

Kelly Webster
Video Production Supervisor

Mike Heidenreich
Audio Services Manager