When El Paso native Emily Luth BS’17 first came to The University of Texas at Dallas for a soccer tournament during her senior year of high school, it was love at first sight. She fell for the close-knit feel of the campus, the many amenities and the esteemed engineering program. When she was admitted and was offered the Terry Foundation Scholarship later that year, her bags were all but packed.
Although the 10-hour distance from home was daunting as a freshman, her status as a Terry Scholar helped Luth find her place.
“Joining that family right off the bat was great,” Luth said. “Being from El Paso, it allowed me to meet new people. We all lived on the same floor and were all roommates in the dorm, so it was nice to have that support system.”
Being a part of the Comets soccer team also helped her connect to her teammates and feel more at ease.
“It’s not something that everyone gets to experience and it definitely made the transition a lot easier,” Luth said. “It really helped just to be able to say hi to people on campus as I walked to class.”
When she decided to take a break from soccer her sophomore year, Luth stayed connected to the sport and UTD teams by working for the athletics department. As a student worker for almost three years, Luth operated scoreboards, video replays and livestream cameras, as well as sold tickets.
And while she loved the engineering field and planned to finish her degree in biomedical engineering, Luth’s experience in the athletic department and her time as a Student Ambassador helped transform her idea of what the future might hold.
“The last two years of college, I loved interacting with people, and I wanted to help people — to see the difference I was making,” Luth said. “A lot of engineering can include repetitive tasks, and that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be able to move around and be out of the office.”
So instead of pursuing options in the engineering industry, Luth stepped foot into the sports arena after her senior year through an internship with the Dallas Mavericks. As a part of the community relations, marketing and events team, Luth saw firsthand the nuts and bolts that go into making a professional NBA team successful.
“There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes work that goes on,” Luth said. “Oftentimes, people don’t think about the entire front office staff working to make everything run. But it is glamorous in the fact that not many people get to work in the professional sports industry, and it definitely gives you opportunities you wouldn’t get in day-to-day life.”
Luth loved her internship with the Mavericks so much that it turned into a full-time opportunity. She’s now the coordinator of community relations and a coordinator for the Mavericks Foundation.
“Most people seek out a job in the sports industry,” Luth said. “I was different. I had no intention of being in the sports world, but it’s a perfect fit. It’s very high-energy and fast-paced, which I love.”
Part of Luth’s job includes managing the Community Ticket Block, a lottery program that gives youth-based nonprofits the chance to attend Mavericks games through donated tickets from players, coaches and season ticket holders. It’s an aspect of Luth’s career that allows her to see the impact her position has on underserved kids in the community.
“It really makes me remember and realize that these kids don’t have the opportunity to come to the games — something I’m very fortunate to attend all the time,” Luth said.
She’s also responsible for helping plan the annual Mavericks Foundation gala, which this year raised $1.34 million — its highest total to-date. The night included a blue carpet, a live auction and performances from Grammy-award winning group Boyz II Men. Luth said it was her two years as a Student Ambassador that helped prepare her for the work required to put on the annual Mavs Ball.
“It really helped me interact with different people and be prepared for different events,” she said. “It was a great way to be involved on campus and really learn more about UTD.”
Luth also helps coordinate the Dallas Mavericks Foundation’s community projects, which include establishing reading and learning centers and renovating the basketball courts of local nonprofits and organizations.
Although Luth didn’t follow her intended career path, she credits UT Dallas with allowing her to find purpose outside of her degree and look at all possibilities.
“You’re able to explore things and find what you truly enjoy,” she said. “I had all intentions of going into the biomedical engineering field, but through my experiences here, I was able to find a passion for something else.”
With her work located in downtown Dallas, Luth’s affinity for her alma mater hasn’t waned since she graduated almost two years ago. Her proximity to campus allows her to keep up with the growing University and even attend athletic events.
“I feel like I want to Whoosh at work all the time,” Luth said. “I’m very passionate about UTD. I love the campus, the diversity. There’s so much available to you and it’s ever-growing. I think there’s no shortage of friendly people and opportunities.”