Assistant Director of Admissions Michael John Talamantes
Hometown: El Paso
College Majors: English and American Literature (undergraduate); Higher Education Administration (graduate)
Territories: El Paso, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming
Office: El Paso Admissions Center
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in El Paso.
Q: Where did you go to college, and what did you study?
A: I attended The University of Texas at El Paso where I received my bachelor’s degree in English and American literature and my master’s degree in Educational Administration. In elementary school, I had a speech impediment and really took to writing as opposed to speaking in front of class. I really dove into books and writing. I remember in fourth grade winning my school’s essay contest with a story about a message in a bottle and a mermaid. Surreal, huh? Throughout my subsequent years in school, my favorite subjects were language arts, reading and writing. In high school, I excelled in my AP English classes and those teachers became great mentors and helped lead me to major in English at UTEP.
Q: How long have you been working in higher education?
A: I was a student athlete in college (cross country and track) and worked on campus as a Peer Leader for the UNIV 1301 department, a Resident Life Assistant, and a New Student Orientation Leader, so I was really exposed to the career of higher education administration throughout college. I landed my first professional job as an admissions counselor for UTEP. I've been working in higher education for seven years and enjoy working with prospective college students because I help them in one of their most important rites of passage.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do in Austin?
A: I enjoy running/walking along Lady Bird Lake or by Auditorium Shores, through Zilker Park, or along the Congress Avenue bridge. There is an insane amount of restaurants in Austin, and Magnolia Café is one of my favorites.
Q: What is your favorite place on campus?
A: Not only does UT Austin offer the ultimate college experience for its students, it offers spectacular and breathtaking views. I love to stand on University Avenue on campus. In front of me is the Tower and just behind me is the Texas Capitol -- only a few blocks away.
Q: What is your favorite UT Austin fact?
A: In UT Austin’s first year of operation, 1883-84, the university faculty was composed of eight professors, four assistants and the proctor. Enrollment for the first long session was only 221 students! It boggles my mind on how much this institution has grown! Still, about two thirds of undergraduate classes at the university have fewer than 30 students.
Advice for Prospective Students
- Be selfish. Time management is paramount to your college success.
- College is the time for you to know yourself; thus, the college search is much like meeting your next significant other. I encourage you to make it a meaningful experience because you will be there for a while.
- Look beyond a school's colors and mascot. Visit each campus you are applying to and make sure you feel the “zsa zsa zsu” whether it be its academic offerings, student services or campus culture.