Missile-ruined buildings and Baghdad International Airport were a constant backdrop for Dilks during his time in Iraq.
Missile-ruined buildings and Baghdad International Airport were a constant backdrop for Dilks during his time in Iraq.
Jason Dilks
Economics '95

As a student trudging to class on 100-degree days or years later as a U.S. Department of Defense economist navigating the deserts of Iraq, Jason Dilks has experienced his share of hot weather. A Plano native, Dilks attended Plano East Senior High and served in the U.S. Army Reserves before pursuing his bachelor's degree in economics from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences in the early 1990s. "The single greatest contribution UT Dallas made to my career was its approach to education and the interdisciplinary approach to solving problems," said Dilks. "Even though I was in the economics program, I was in plenty of political science and math classes — I got a lot of broad exposure. When I work to solve problems today, I tend to take a broader approach than your typical focused economist."

During his time in Baghdad, Dilks worked with some of the highest-ranking military commanders, including David H. Petraeus, Commanding General of Multi-National Forces in Iraq
During his time in Baghdad, Dilks worked with some of the highest-ranking military commanders, including David H. Petraeus, Commanding General of Multi-National Forces in Iraq
Dilks' long-time mentor and UT Dallas professor, Barry Seldon, encouraged him to attend graduate school at his own alma mater, Duke University. Dilks wasn't disappointed by the experience. "I was surrounded by students who attended Stanford and Harvard, but I was just as prepared and sometimes better prepared because of my degree from UT Dallas," said Dilks, who has a master's in economics. Ready to put his education to the test, Dilks started working for the DOD in 2004, spending much of his five years with the agency in Iraq, advising the U.S. military on policy and programs aimed at helping rebuild the economy there.

Dilks, 37, recently moved on to another federal agency. As an economics officer with the U.S. State Department, Dilks is a world traveler, advising U.S. embassy personnel in Europe, Asia and the Middle East on economic and policy matters. His UT Dallas experience also fostered a desire for lifelong learning, as Dilks is now pursuing a master's degree in applied and computational mathematics at Johns Hopkins University. "This degree isn't necessary for advancement in my current job, I just enjoy being challenged to learn new things."
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Interested in connecting with a specific school or have a question about any external relations topic?
Please visit our staff website to find the appropriate contact.


Contact Us!