Q&A with: Gigi Delk, Professor of CIS and Gaming/Simulation

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Hannah Horton, Editor-in-Chief

Q: What is your job here at TJC, and what do you do in that job?

A: “Well, I’ve had a couple of them! I’ve been a Programming Instructor at TJC for a long time, so I’ve taught different types of programming languages. When we started the Video Game Development Program, I worked with that program for several years. We are now in our 11th or 12th year of Video Game Development, and I still do a lot of the work with the design part, and with recruitment for that program, but I’ve stepped back a little bit because of the other things I get to do on  campus. Now I’m just teaching computer office and computer skills classes, and the EDUC [1300] class for Honors.”

Q: How long have you been working here?

A: “This will be my 32nd year at TJC.”

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: “I started my university experience at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas. I did some coursework up with the “Woo Pig Sooie” folks up in Fayetteville with the University of Arkansas, and I did most of my master’s work at UNT in Denton [and] East Texas State University, [what] is now Texas A&M Commerce.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working at TJC?

A: “I did not set out to be a teacher. I was a computer programmer. I worked with oil companies: I landed in helicopters in Billings, Montana to work on their oil pressure, and their pipes, and whatever else.

“SAU had been after me for a couple of semesters to teach a class, and so I was expecting my first son and thought ‘Hey! Extra money! I’ll do that!”

“And I fell in love with teaching. I could not believe they paid me to have that much fun. I started my master’s that next semester, and I’ve been teaching ever since!”

Q: Do you have a funny or interesting story about TJC to share?

A: “There are a lot of interesting stories, as TJC has grown over the years. One of my favorites: I teach in the Pirtle Technology Building … We would teach in classrooms with huge banks of windows – which is horrible for computers, by the way – but, big banks of windows that would look out over the Intramural Field. And, of course, then, at the time, we didn’t have the big [OHPE] Center, so it didn’t reverberate quite as bad between the two buildings. The Band and the Apache Belles would practice in that grass practice field while we were teaching.

“When all the Belles camps would happen in the summer, I would be deep into teaching how to write a loop in a program, and the Apache Belles would fly by the window because they were jumping up and down on trampolines. [We] would just have to stop class and go watch, and then you go back to work – particularly because my computer classes had a lot of gentlemen in it. There were, at that time, a lot more guys than girls in computer science.

The other thing that was fun, of course, was [that] the Band comes back early and practices. So, the Band would be trying to learn their marching routines on that practice field, which is full of gopher holes and weird places in the grass and is not level.

“I would be teaching along, and someone would say, ‘They’re down!’

“A trombone player would have hung [up] a tuba player [and] a trumpet, and there would be five, or six, or seven people and instruments all over the place. Once again, you just have to stop class, and go applaud, and appreciate the train wreck happening out there. If anybody’s been in band, you understand a band train wreck, and we had to appreciate that from the windows. And that was back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and everybody practiced on that grass practice field. It was a lot of fun. We would teach to a beat!”

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