Pizza with a Dean lets students ask questions, socialize

Brooke Ontiveros

Students chowed down on pizza and chatted with Brent Iverson, School of Undergraduate Studies dean, at Monday’s Pizza with the Dean event, hosted by the Undergraduate Studies Council.

Iverson gave advice to students and discussed his experiences over free pizza in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Twenty-five students, mostly undergraduate studies majors, came to listen to Iverson answer nine preplanned questions, but students branched out with questions of their own. 

The preplanned questions ranged from Iverson’s recommended classes to UT’s focus on STEM. Iverson said he recommends students take a statistics course and a class that challenges them, and he believes UT focuses more on STEM than liberal arts.

“We are having a conversation,” Iverson said. “The barrier on what we can talk about is very low. It’s very informal. It’s the right atmosphere to speak about anything.”

Iverson said he has seen many successful students graduate, and this event allows him to advise students on problems former students have experienced.

“I have an opportunity to see what is happening at the school,” Iverson said. “I get to see what is on the mind of students, to see what they see, feel what they feel. I hope to give them a better context or solution to their problems.”

Students asked Iverson about topics ranging from renaming the Undergraduate Studies Program to the effects of vaping. 

Ishi Tripathi, president of the Undergraduate Studies Council, said the talk was beneficial to undergraduate studies majors.

“The advice given was very widespread and touched on various points, which I think is perfect for the undergraduate students that attended,” said Tripathi, a chemical engineering and finance sophomore.

Pizza with the Dean occurs once every semester. Michael Pontikes, a electrical and computer engineering senior, attended this semester’s event and plans to attend the next one as well.

“The dean is a really great, experienced and friendly person, nothing like what I think people believe a dean to be,” Pontikes said. “I used his advice on note taking, and it has really helped me with classes.”

Iverson said the focus of the night was for students to remember to take care of themselves and have conversations about majors and career paths.

“A UGS student is everything and nothing at the same time,” Tripathi said. “The aim is to normalize the idea of choosing a career path then a major, not the other way around.”