Prof Proud of One Grad in Particular: His Daughter

Neuroscience Senior Says Having Family on Campus Has its Advantages

May 13, 2010

For Katie Overzet, going to school with Dad hasn’t been too bad.

She is scheduled to graduate from UT Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences on Saturday with a degree in neuroscience. And while she doesn’t often run into her father, electrical engineering Professor Lawrence Overzet, Katie said it’s been great knowing he’s around campus.

“It’s nice to have him there, looking out for me,” she said.

Overzet certainly plans to be there for his daughter on graduation day and might even get a chance to participate in the ceremony.

Katie is the eldest of his four children and the first to attend UT Dallas. Two of her younger siblings have since opted for Texas A&M University because they chose majors not offered here.

Overzet said he’s proud of what Katie has accomplished at UT Dallas. “Katie has gotten an excellent education, has made wonderful friends and has gotten to do all sorts of activities,” he said. “The best part for me was getting to see her for lunch sometimes.”

Since she was going to school where her father works, it’s not surprising that Katie occasionally detected his influence, or his sense of humor, at unexpected moments.

“My dad has this ongoing joke that he is going to make up the next ‘cool word,’ ” Katie said. “You know how some people say, ‘That’s sweet’ or ‘That’s sick’ to mean something is really awesome?  Well, my dad is convinced that he is going to make the new word be ‘crisp,’ so he tells all of his students to start saying it. My dad happens to teach one undergraduate class, and one of my residents at the time, when I was a PA (peer adviser), was in his class. Guess what I got to hear after the first day of class used in a sentence?”

Katie said she didn’t plan to attend UT Dallas at first because she wanted to leave town for college. But she was offered a scholarship and was urged by her parents to consider the school, where her father teaches and researches plasmas used in semiconductor device manufacturing.

“My parents started dropping hints, offering to get me a car if I went to UT Dallas,” she said. “At first I resented it, but within the first month of being at UT Dallas, I had made such an amazing group of lifelong friends that I wouldn’t trade it for any other experience.”

Besides the people, what Katie has most enjoyed about UT Dallas is its smaller size and its rapid growth. It offers great opportunities for involvement in a variety of activities. She’s taken advantage of many while pursuing her minor in performing arts and dance. Katie also has enjoyed spending the final semester of her undergraduate years studying in Seville, Spain.

Next on Katie’s agenda are finding a job and taking a few graduate courses. She may eventually enter graduate school full-time, but she doesn’t yet know what she will study or where she wants to apply. In the meantime, she’s already thoroughly impressed one veteran professor.

“Katie is kind and intelligent. She is driven to be excellent and works hard,” Overzet said. “But probably the best thing about my daughter is that she loves others deeply and from the heart.  She is truly one of a kind.”

The respect goes both ways, and Katie will be proud to walk across the stage knowing she shared her college experience with her father.

“I love my dad,” she said. “He is an intelligent, sincere, completely selfless and hard-working person. I am so blessed to be his daughter.”


Media Contact: Emily Martinez, UT Dallas, (214) 905-3049, emily.martinez@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Lawrence and Katie Overzet

Dr. Lawrence Overzet and daughter Katie do the Comet “whoosh” recently at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. “Katie has gotten an excellent education, has made wonderful friends and has gotten to do all sorts of activities,” he said.

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