Much like his favorite animated character, Ralph from Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph,” Dyllon Thomas believes in spreading positivity in what sometimes feels like a hectic environment. For this reason, Thomas values how UNC Charlotte supports his freedom to explore his creativity and innovative use of technology in his role as the device and systems manager for the Student Union, Activities and Recreation Department (SUAR).
Thomas works with a team that provides both onsite and remote technical support for the department staff. He also supervises a staff of nine part-time student employees who provide IT support.
“I honestly enjoy the team,” said Thomas. “The team has so many different personalities. Yet, everyone comes together in a perfect fold. It fits, and I love that.”
Initially, Thomas began his career by obtaining an associate’s degree at Southside Virginia Community College, where he majored in information technology. As the desk software support engineer for Union County, he was in charge of 10 schools.
In May 2015, Thomas applied to UNC Charlotte; he is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in film production. First hired in a part-time position as an IT specialist with the College of Health and Human Services, Thomas joined the University as a full-time employee in his current role in August 2017.
From an early age, Thomas had an interest in digital animation. He created and presented his first documentary film "Jose Cruz News Story" at the First Year Writing Award 2016, an event showcasing student work by the University Writing Program. Thomas' documentary film was awarded 2016 Best Multimodal Project. He has further ventured into animation by presenting on the “Ethics of Pixar” at the Dupont Summit in Washington, D.C. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in data science and business analytics.
Balancing education and a full-time job can be a difficult task for any professional, but Thomas manages to do it in stride. “My father is a Marine and has taught me to adapt to my surroundings,” Thomas recalls. “Being in this job, I have learned a lot about the importance of experience and learning how to be a better manager. I encourage students to be themselves and not be shy to try new things.”
Thomas finds the most support from his family. “Shout out to mom, because my mom has done it all - raised five children, taught for 20 plus years, completed her master's (degree) here at UNC Charlotte and is about to receive her Ph.D.," said Thomas. “I am so proud. I would not be here if not for my family; I would not be the person I am without them.”
This article originally appeared in Inside UNC Charlotte.