Dillon Walker will be honored as University of Arizona Libraries’ Top Library Cat of 2017 at their homecoming breakfast on Oct. 28. Walker co-founded Hack Arizona and served as director of InnovateUA.
Majored in Information Science, 2016
School of Information
Clubs/Extracurricular activities in college:
Director of InnovateUA, Founder of Hack Arizona, President of IT Student Advisory Board (ITSAB), UA Relay for Life
What do you do in your current job?
I own a digital studio called Hydrant, where I manage our team of producers, web developers, and graphic designers. We are focused on providing excellent solutions to our exceptional clients.
Can you provide an example of a challenge and/or breakthroughs you faced during your career?
There are a number of challenges and setbacks any entrepreneur will face when growing their business. I've been plagued with instances where I've gotten my company in way over our heads, faced with things we didn't fully understand, things we didn't budget appropriately for, and challenges with clearly understanding our goals. But in any adversity, and especially in the cases I mentioned above, the ability to overcome can be a breakthrough in itself. And in the case of Hydrant, the foundations of where we are today is a direct correlation to the risks and challenges we've taken and overcome.
How did your SBS education prepare you for your career?
Well, I only spent my senior year in SBS, as ISTA was merged into other programs and became Information Science. But we had a very strong relationship with SBS’s School of Information Resources and Library Science and eSociety major at the time, so I believe that both SBS and the College of Science had a very important part in growing my capability in business. While most of my technical skillset building was done through self-teaching, the complement of education really helped me to take on a global mindset. Challenging myself to discover new ways of thinking about the world, technology, and its application in it has made me a stronger business leader and technologist.
Did you have a favorite class or professor when you were at the UA?
While I enjoyed nearly every one of my professors, and most of my classes, I fondly remember the very first class I was enrolled in as a core requirement for my degree, ISTA100 “Great Ideas of the Info Age,” with Paul Cohen. I remember being in absolute despair most of the course trying to keep up with all that was being taught, but in the end learning the most I've learned my entire college career and really setting me up for success in my major.
What advice would you give UA students about how to make the most of their time at the UA?
When speaking to a freshman or sophomore, say "yes" to everything and get as involved as you can. Your potential for growth during this time is only as good as your willingness to be active. When speaking to a junior, senior or otherwise, begin to learn to say "no," and start focusing on what your impact on the world is going to be. Focus will become your greatest attribute – it’s also one of the hardest to attain.
What advice would you give recent graduates about finding a job?
Be different, and be yourself. While it isn't as easy to do as it is to write, the job that will make you happy in life is going to be a job you’re happy doing, which might take a little bit of resilience to get to.
Favorite quote: “It's our imperfections that make us human and it's our humanity that makes us influential.” - Josh Shipp
Favorite book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Favorite TV show/movie: Titanic
Favorite podcast: Uhh Yeah Dude
Favorite Tucson restaurant: Rigos in South Tucson