University of Advancing Technology is an elite, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.
UAT students congregated in the quad to show off their batting skills and release pent up energy with the frustration piñata. Students went up to bat with a sole goal in mind — kill for the candy. Today, candy is the most popular reward for breaking the piñata, but it hasn’t always been the stuffing of choice.
Piñatas are fondly thought of as a fun activity for children’s birthday parties, but did you know the modern piñata has a long, rich history that spans the globe? Traditionally, piñatas were made with a clay pot base, however, they’ve been mostly replaced by the kid-friendly cardboard and paper mâché version that’s decorated with crepe paper. Today’s piñatas come in all shapes and sizes, including fan-favorite characters and cartoons, like BB-8 and Pikachu.
While the piñata is most strongly associated with Mexico, there is some debate over its origin being Chinese rather than Spanish. The Chinese piñata was typically in the shape of an ox or cow for the New Year celebration, decorated with colors and symbols meant to manifest a favorable climate and filled with five different seeds for the coming growing season. Once the piñata was broken, the remains were burned and the ashes were kept for good luck.
This tradition arrived in Europe in the 14th century where it became associated with the Christian celebration of Lent. In Spain, the first Sunday of Lent became known as "Piñata Sunday," which included the Dance of the Piñata celebration.
The European piñata tradition was brought to Mexico in the 16th century; however, Mesoamerica already participated in a similar tradition. The Mayan tradition is reminiscent of the modern piñata, and included blindfolding the participant hitting the piñata, while the Aztec tradition commemorated the birthday of Huitzilopochtli. According to local records, the piñata was first used for the purposes of evangelism in 1586 — the Augustinian monks modified European piñatas and created the Las Posadas tradition to co-opt the celebration of the birth of Huitzilopochtli in mid-December.
Over the years, the religious significance has mostly diminished, but the ceremony remains intact. In Mexico, piñatas are most popular during Las Posadas with birthday parties in close second.
The next time you need to get out your frustrations, join your friends in the quad and start whacking!
UAT is brimming with fun at every corner. Check out the campus to plan your next adventure.
Stripes or solids — show off your trick shot and sink the ball. Take your cue to join fellow UAT students in a pool tournament faceoff. Are you the ace?
Did you know pool and billiards are often used interchangeably, but billiards is generic to any kind of tabletop game played with a cue ball and stick, while pool is more specific to a game with pockets. Some pool games include blackball, one-pocket, eight-ball and bank pool. Which game is your favorite?
Students serve up their skills in a sudden death ping-pong match. Also known as whiff-whaff and table tennis, ping-pong is highly competitive whether it’s between two or four players.
International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the worldwide organization that governs table tennis, which has been an Olympic sport with several event categories since 1988.
Students take the defense and the offense in a combat of quick wrist flicks to win. Known as foosball in North America, table soccer or table football is a well-loved game for those with and without fancy feet. Just like the real deal, the aim of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent’s goal by manipulating, and sometimes aggressively spinning (although, official rules prohibit “over 360-degree shots”), the mono-legged players.
While the game was only recently brought to the U.S. in the 1950s, patents for similar table games in Europe date back to as early as the 1890s. The game reached its peak popularity in the 1970s, where it could be found in pool halls and bars throughout the country.
Jump out of your seat and play some table games in Founder’s Hall.
Always interested in technology, Daniel “Kody” Mitchell grew up watching his father play World of Warcraft and StarCraft. He quickly fell for these games and soon after, developed a love for programming while taking computer science classes in high school.
Kody came to UAT for the nerd and geek vibes. Since attending, he loves the family community aspect, the collaborative teamwork-focused environment, the combination of hard work and having fun and how the University truly prepares students for the real world. Kody feels that he has already learned so much about the industry and has gained the basic skills he will need to thrive.
Studying Artificial Intelligence and Network Security at UAT, Kody chose these degrees because he’s always been fascinated with artificial intelligence and knew that the world needs more cyber security professionals. So, he thought why not combine the two for a unique education and skillset!
Kody is a Student Ambassador for UAT and was involved in Nerf Warz! In his free time, Kody has been working on a project to create a calendar-budget program in Python that allows the user to see things at a glance, or hover over days for more details. The basis of the idea consists of the user inputting transactions they make on any given day (expense or income), and based on any recurring fees or payments, the program will show what day the user might run out of money (if there is one).
After taking a couple of classes taught by Mason Galatas, Kody was inspired by his expertise in his field and hopes to one day know as much as him, be as helpful and have as much fun!
Kody’s hobbies include 3D printing, programming, playing video games, singing in the car and watching movies. Once Kody gets out in the real world, he can't wait to put the skills he’s learned from UAT to the test and make a positive difference!
UAT is for people like you. Discover where you fit in at UAT.
Born and raised in Arizona, Isis Boone graduated high school early to get to UAT ASAP. She’s studying Artificial Intelligence and is already looking forward to adding Robotics and Embedded Systems as a second degree.
Isis was immediately drawn to the Artificial Intelligence degree — she’s always had a spark for programming and building robots. During her adolescence, she was on an all-women’s robotics team that doubled as a Girl Scouts troop, which inspired her to strive to do and be whatever she wanted. From building with 3D printers to completing puzzles, Isis has always loved creating and wants to make something the world has never seen and change the world with technology.
Isis was most excited to attend UAT for its inviting atmosphere. She felt that UAT is a school she could attend and not be judged for what she chose to study.
Isis feels that she has gained so much from UAT, even though it’s only been one semester. She’s had the opportunity to make connections with many different people who have similar interests and benefits from one-on-one help with professors who have been a wealth of knowledge for improving her skills, such as programming and refining 3D prints. UAT has shown her a whole new world of people who are interested in technology and who want to see students succeed.
Isis is inspired by her parents, who encourage her to be the best she can be. Isis believes that you should follow your passions and not let anyone get you down. Isis’ hobbies include playing video games, hanging out with friends, cooking, 3D printing and fishkeeping.
Creativity takes on new forms with a degree in Artificial Intelligence from UAT.
Alayna has loved gaming since the Atari days. Luckily, this love led to great skill and success as a professional esports player. Wanting to experience the other side of the industry, Alayna decided to pursue an online degree in Game Design.
Advances in online schooling allowed Alayna to live her longtime dream of attending UAT — originally intended to come in the late 2000s after graduating high school.
From designing a level for Unreal Tournament to making her own game in Unity Engine, Alayna has already accomplished things in gaming that she never dreamed of doing. “I loved gaming as a player,” Alayna says, “but there really is something magical about designing and building games from nothing.”
While she is no longer working in the industry, Alayna still really enjoys esports and watching competitions. In fact, she is the president of the UAT Esports Club. Outside of gaming, Alayna is a fan of cars, fashion and hockey.
Alayna finds creative inspiration from Andy Warhol and Alexander McQueen, whose artistic expressions have left an impact on this world. Alayna is also inspired by her grandma, who was caring, kind and helped shape Alayna into the person she is today by pushing her to do anything she put her mind to.
Alayna is a strong supporter of various change movements in the areas she is passionate about and states, “Being a transgender woman in this field isn’t necessarily uncommon in 2021, but I have to acknowledge the ones that came before me and dealt with adversity and discrimination and strived forward so I could be here today. I am proud of how far we have come and there is still so much more to do.”
Check out more game degrees at UAT!
Jake Fusco loves storytelling and has always been fascinated by how stories and lessons change as they are passed down. Combined with his interest in technology, this resulted in Jake triple-majoring in Game Design, Game Programming and Business Technology.
Jake chose UAT for the game development programs — he was instantly drawn to Game Design because he believes games are the best suited medium for storytelling and helping people learn. One of Jake’s goals is to teach others how to think in different ways about situations and hopefully change society for the better.
Jake also chose UAT for Synchronic Learning, which has resonated with how he tries to live life. While attending UAT, Jake learned that drive, teamwork and communication are paramount to the success of solving problems. Time and time again, these three qualities helped Jake succeed at work and in his classes.
While attending UAT, Jake has worked on numerous innovative projects along with making many lasting friendships. During his second semester, he joined the production studio class and is still working with the same team on a mobile AR game. Jake is the Geek Rho President, an RA at Founder's Hall and is in the midst of another project with BunchOfNerds, a student-run multi-media production company.
Jake’s hobbies include gaming with friends, being the Dungeon Master for Dungeons and Dragons, cooking and studying philosophy. Down the road, Jake intends to pursue his Master’s degree in Game Production and Management.
Jake draws inspiration from many noteworthy sources — George Lucas for his creative vision, Abraham Lincoln for how to deal with people coming from different worldviews and perceptions and Hirohiko Araki for his philosophy when writing stories.
Get the most out of your education with Synchronic Learning.
Quick feet or someone will steal your seat! Chances are you brought out your competitive side during a game of musical chairs. Whether in class or at a birthday party, this party game is fun, and sometimes intense, for all ages.
This classic elimination game includes a set of chairs arranged in a circle with one fewer chair than the number of players. While music plays, players stroll around the set of chairs, scoping out a seat to snag before the music ends. The player who ends up without a seat is eliminated and a chair is removed for the next round until it’s down to the last two players and a single chair. Those players circle the sole chair like sharks until the music stops and one player claims the throne.
UAT has a seat for you. See more life at UAT.
Morgan Kitay is creatively driven and has a deep passion for technology. Loving a challenge, she decided to pursue the digital realm of art and chose to study Game Art and Animation at UAT. Always having access to the latest tech to work with, build, create, and do anything else she could dream up, Morgan love, love, LOVES fiddling around with all types of technology.
She decided to attend UAT because of the degrees offered, the University’s long-standing history and the informed University reps at college fairs who originally introduced Morgan to the University. Morgan exclaims, “[UAT is] something I can trust, and I definitely love being here (and also working here :D).”
Enjoying her time at UAT so far, Morgan feels that she has learned so much from both her classes and job. While attending UAT, she has grown confident in her Photoshop skills, is working with 2D and 3D creations, building games and attending game jams. Morgan believes UAT is a great place for undergrads because her schoolwork is building out her portfolio.
Morgan enjoys creating traditional art, playing video games (PC, console, all of it), painting her nails, custom knife work, hiking and trying to fix items that would otherwise be thrown away.
Morgan looks up to her mom because she is inspired by her motivation, determination and work ethic. She is the heart and soul of why Morgan is here. Her mom loves her work and truly believes in what Morgan wants to do.
Discover your inner creator with a Game Art and Animation degree from UAT.
From viral videos of toddlers begging for them to pull-apart portrait designs, cupcakes are a crowd favorite. With flavor options only limited by creativity, there’s something for everyone. UAT students didn’t disappoint — they joined forces for an afternoon of creative confections that tickle the tongue.
Back in 1919, cupcakes first gained popularity when they were mass produced for the first time by Hostess. Although, they weren’t the cream-filled, frosted variety everyone knows and loves, which debuted in the 1950s. In the early 2000s, Cupcakes stole the dessert spotlight once again when New York City shops such as Magnolia Bakery were featured on Sex and the City.
Even “cupcake only” bakeries are a thing! Sprinkles Cupcakes opened the world’s first cupcake bakery in 2005 — notably, with a location not too far from campus in Scottsdale. In 2012, Sprinkles debuted the world’s first Cupcake ATM, which can hold up to 600 cupcakes and dispenses cupcakes and doggie cupcakes 24/7.
Whether your cupcakes deserve a spot on Nailed It! or Cupcake Wars isn’t for us to decide, but it’s sure fun to share these delicious treats with friends.
If you’re into baking cakes or Cake Mania, UAT has the group for you. Discover how you can fit into UAT's unique culture.
Whether your go-to start is “Oh baby, baby, how was I supposed to know” or “Here’s the thing, we started out friends,” karaoke doesn’t care if you’re a Soprano, Alto, Bass, or Tenor … or even if you can harmonize. Neither do UAT students when they’re jamming!
Did you know that karaoke, like many UAT students’ favorite media, also has roots in Japan? Back in 1967, the first karaoke-style prototype machine was created by Shigeichi Negishi, an engineer who ran a car audio system assembly business in Tokyo. But it wasn’t until 1971 that the believed inventor of karaoke, musician Daisuke Inoue, started producing karaoke equipment. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a patent and Clarion, an audio company, was the first to commercially produce karaoke machines.
Sing your heart out to “Wannabe” by Spice Girls, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers or “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey, some of the top karaoke songs of all time.
Do you have a song you’re especially good at? Show off your singing abilities with your jūhachiban. In Japan, this is in reference to Kabuki Jūhachiban, the 18 best kabuki plays.
Portland, Oregon entertains dozens of karaoke bars making it not only the U.S.’s "capital of karaoke," but "one of the most exciting music scenes in America" according to The New York Times.
Even Spotify, a popular music streaming app, has playlists dedicated to the best karaoke songs of all time. Tap into your vocals and get your groove on to your favorite song.
Discover all the places to have fun at UAT — tour our campus!
Don’t crack under pressure as students dash about! Once described as sporting events by Wikipedia, egg-and-spoon races may seem over-easy on the surface, but they aren’t for the faint of heart or the cracked yolk.
Even Guinness World Records has published a number of world records related to egg-and-spoon racing. Surprisingly, these are mostly held by one serial record-holder and egg-obsessed New Yorker Ashrita Furman. He holds multiple records for the fastest 100 meter and mile egg-and-spoon race, including holding the spoon with one hand, both hands and his mouth.
Grab your reliable silver spoon and steady your steps, but don’t lose your balance or humpty dumpty might fall and not get back up again.
UAT is mostly fun and games — our faculty won’t let you crack under pressure! Meet them here.
UAT chock-full of gamers ranging from video to tabletop to board! It’s no surprise to find students gathering and giggling for a game of Cards Against Humanity, the fill-in-the-blank statement card game. Or catch students playing with a more historic set of cards — tarot! Whether they’re exploring divination or playing tarocchini, laughs can be heard.
Countless card games exist with categories ranging from casino to collectible to catch and collect games. No matter what your favorite card game is, there are sure to be others who share your passion for playing cards at UAT.
UAT is so much more than just fun and games. Discover why you should attend.
Brandon Michelsen graduated from UAT in 2020 with degrees in Robotics and Embedded Systems, Artificial Intelligence (A.S.) and Advancing Computer Science (A.S.). Reflecting on his years at UAT, Brandon appreciated being around so many others who shared a similar drive, mindset and passion for their industry.
Brandon is now working as an Embedded Software Engineer at Plug Power, Inc., a company that creates hydrogen fuel cell systems for a range of applications, including powering cell towers, data centers and electric vehicles. Part of his job includes writing firmware for the boards that control the fuel cells, ensuring they get the proper amount of hydrogen and maintaining the proper voltages.
Since Brandon is an entry-level engineer with the company, a lot of his focus has been on creating the communication interfaces that the systems provide to customers.
Q: How has your perspective changed now that you’re working vs. learning in school?
A: I would say I am more comfortable with making mistakes now that I am on the job (as long as they aren't causing dangerous problems). From what I've seen with my fellow engineers, making mistakes early and often helps us better adjust our design before it gets sent to our clients, which ensures we have a good product by the time it ships.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I really enjoy learning new things as I work on projects. There are many things that I've had to learn while on the job, including how the chips we use work, how to set up an RTOS with our boards, etc. I also had to learn a lot about the electrochemistry that goes along with hydrogen fuel cells, which was very interesting.
Aside from that, I love working on the more challenging design aspects of our systems. It's a lot of fun to solve the more complex problems that we face as an engineering team.
For those currently looking for a job in their industry, Brandon advises to not lose focus, stating, “There is often rejection before you land something, so stick with it.” He also recommends setting a goal to send out a certain number of applications per week. While applying for jobs, his goal was at least 30 applications per week, which helped him get more interviews.
Q: What advice do you have for future UAT students?
A: I would say that the best thing you can do to learn is to work on projects. Research and theory are great, but they can only get you so far. By even just starting a project, you get a lot of valuable real-world experience that will help you in your industry. And projects are just fun to do.
Brandon is involved with some exciting projects at work, but he can't say much about them due to an NDA. In terms of personal projects, he’s teamed up with some of his fellow alumni to work on game jam projects. The Retro Game Jam is coming up in March, which inspired Brandon to learn Super Nintendo programming.
Q: What was the best thing you learned from UAT?
A: Honestly, the best thing I learned from UAT was how to learn. There were several classes I was in where the focus was not necessarily on learning something specific, as it was learning how to get the skills to work on a given project. The high-altitude balloon class run by Nathan Eskue comes to mind. In these classes, the focus was on completing a project, and I had to quickly learn the skills needed to properly finish the project. It was some of the most valuable experience I ever got.
In his free time, Brandon likes to learn new things in the world of technology and work on projects. He’s worked on several game jams with his friends and has been teaching himself more about computer architecture, game design and pixel art. Recently, he’s also gotten back into music and has been learning the piano. Brandon also enjoys the great hiking trails found around the area where he lives.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: Many of my fellow students at UAT really inspired me. There were so many passionate and driven people I met while on campus who knew a ton about their field and were willing to invest the time to be the best they could be. They all really inspired me to put in the effort to do my best as well.
Meet more notable UAT alumni.
Some things that might not be evident from an outside view are that at UAT if you are truly searching for a family you will find one. We all come from different walks of life and it can be intimidating. I personally come from a tech background but I am not 100% into all the exact same things as some of the primary demographic. For instance, I am not super well versed in popular culture which is something I have come to learn many students have knowledge about.
Coming to UAT was a scary experience, just like leaving for any new unfamiliar environment but over time I found there were many individuals who I found I get along with. Not to mention I do not just interact on a daily basis with the students but the faculty as well. I would say I interact with faculty and staff of UAT just as much as my fellow peers. I also see many individuals from different walks of life that I would not have most likely interacted with otherwise but have become close friends with. At UAT we are not just a community of students but a family of individuals interested in pursuing technology.
You can get the 411 on student life at UAT by reading the latest edition of Geek 411