Meet Dr. Jake Ptacek, senior student programs coordinator for the Pre-College Academic Readiness Programs (PCARP). Housed within the Longhorn Center for School Partnerships, PCARP offers dual-enrollment courses in math, chemistry, and rhetoric for high school students across the state.
In his role, Ptacek provides support for the division’s ChemBridge and MathBridge coordinators, Dr. Kate Biberdorf and Dr. Amanda Hager and he also assists PCARP executive director, Dr. Eric Dieter. The job entails everything from planning and leading the PCARP student campus visits to assisting with recruitment and providing program assessments.
Originally from western Kansas, Ptacek came to Austin for graduate school in 2007 and began working as the SPURS (the division’s pre-college rhetoric program) coordinator in 2015 after finishing his Ph.D. in English at the College of Liberal Arts. Prior to that, as a graduate student, he taught rhetoric and English courses.
A proud Longhorn, Ptacek says that he enjoys everything about his job, but his favorite part is working directly with PCARP’s high school students.
“For so many of our students, college seems like something that’s out of reach,” Ptacek says. “So I’m always really excited for their campus visits, which is often the moment when they start to realize that college is not only something they can do, but it’s something they can be successful at.”
Away from campus, Ptacak is a film buff and enjoys watching movies in his free time. A serious Prince fan, he’s also currently teaching himself to play all the guitar parts from the late impresario’s early albums. Currently he’s hard at work on the solos for “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “Little Red Corvette.”
Read more about his work in this Mission Moments story.