Junior Fellows: New Politics Forum Campaign Bootcamp–2013


Yesterday the Junior Fellows headed off on a four-day trip to Austin, where they will learn about politics, culture, and law.  The centerpiece of the trip is the New Politics Forum Summer 2013 Campaign Bootcamp, and the students will be a part of that on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, learning from campaign experts from all over the country on matters such as fundraising, crafting messages, social media, working with volunteers, conducting polls, and grassroots activism.  These activities will be supplemented with stops to see art at the Harry Ransom Center, a trip up the UT Tower, a stop by the O. Henry House, and other fun and educational opportunities.

The students blog each day, and although the first day was limited to a late evening in Austin, they were still able to enjoy their time.

Cody Williamson: Day One

I had the pleasure of enjoying fine Brazilian cuisine as I dined at the Fogo de Chao churrascaria in Austin, Texas. I am in Austin to attend a New Politics Forum bootcamp that will be held on the campus of the University of Texas. After dining at the restaurant, myself and the members of my group went on a short walk through downtown Austin where we saw the former house of O. Henry, the author of “The Ransom of Red Chief” and “The Story of the Magi”.

O. Henry

O. Henry

It was a strange sight to observe this small, quaint old house nestled among the towering office buildings and upscale lofts in the modernized city. However, it was a pleasant observation to look on the peaceful union of history from days past with today’s fast paced society.On Friday, we will be attending a talk held by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. This is a unique opportunity that I am looking forward to very much. It will be exciting to see a significant, historical figure who played such a pivotal role in the progression of American politics and legislation, breaking long held traditions. I can’t wait!

Jessica Rodriguez: Day One

The Junior Fellows are attending the New Politics Forum Campaign Boot Camp this weekend! First night in Austin and it is going to be very hard to top after the delicious meats we were served at the unique Brazilian restaurant, Fogo de Chao. I have visited different Brazilian steak houses, and as a rule, my favorite is always the lamb! Tonight was no different.

After satisfying my sweet tooth with Crème Brule and Papaya pudding we went on a three-block walk down to the O. Henry home. Intriguingly, it has a similar look to the Joshua Houston home in Huntsville, Texas.  Both were built about the same time (late 1890s), both are Queen Anne style homes, and both are painted with Victorian colors.

O. Henry Home

O. Henry Home

During our stroll in Austin’s downtown, we also came across the “Austin Stars,” sidewalk stars devoted to notable residents of Austin.

We also walked down the street towards 4th street and came across a star for Sam Houston and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz–for whom my high school was named. A very lovely night overall in downtown Austin!

 Dulce Martinez: Day One

The Junior Fellows arrived in Austin slightly before 8’oclock, just in time to see the sunset over the UT Tower. This is my first time to truly experience the city of Austin, and having dinner at a unique Brazilian steak house was the perfect way to come across the diversity this city has to offer. Fogo De Chao had an interesting mix of meats, which were all cooked to perfection! My personal favorite was the chicken breast wrapped in bacon; the chicken was very juicy and flavorful.

Junior Fellows at Fogo Do Chao

Junior Fellows at Fogo Do Chao

After our meal we decided to take a stroll downtown to the O. Henry home, which happened to be a few blocks away. The home appeared stuck in time compared to the rest of the modern building surrounding it.  It was a perfect ending to the evening.




Chris Tritico Talks Law, Law School, and Timothy McVeigh

The Junior Fellows were happy to host an interesting afternoon with Chris Tritico, an SHSU alum who has gone on to a successful law career.  His clients have included a bevy of interesting figures–most notably Moses Malone, Gary Sheffield, and Timothy McVeigh.

Chris Tritico

Chris Tritico

We invited a group of pre-law students to the event, and every student present was able to ask a question.  Mr. Tritico spent about half an hour talking to students, and another thirty minutes or so doing a televised interview.

Chris Tritico with Professor  Mike Yawn

Chris Tritico with Professor Mike Yawn

While Tritico’s McVeigh comments were very interesting, he also passed on interesting stories about other clients.  He was working for Racehorse Haynes, for example, when Haynes represented Morganna, “The Kissing Bandit, after she was arrested for trespassing.  Her trespassing involved running onto the Astrodome’s field to kiss Nolan Ryan, who didn’t seem to mind at all…

Morganna and Nolan Ryan

Morganna and Nolan Ryan

In fact, when you contrast the way Ryan treat Morganna with the way he treated Robin Ventura…

Robin Ventura Foolishly Goes After Nolan Ryan

Robin Ventura Foolishly Goes After Nolan Ryan With Unfortunate Results

Tritico also held the students’ interest when he discussed representing a ten-year old accused of murdering his father and, on the opposite side of seriousness, representing a woman who used the men’s restroom at a George Strait Concert.  The ensuing “Pottygate” scandal turned into quite the spectacle, with jury selection taking on the aspects of a much more serious crime.  She was, happily, acquitted.

Tritico also provided us with advice.  Contrasting law school admissions today with 30 years ago, Tritico encouraged us to study hard and study for the LSAT.  While he majored in Political Science, he encouraged students to major in their primary interest, which will lead them to study harder and enjoy what they do.

Appropriately, that’s why we were there: we are all interested in law school.  Thanks Mr. Tritico for stopping by and for the words of encouragement!  Thanks, too, to Charles Henson of DELTA, Mel Strait and his crew in MCOM and Channel 7, and Brian Blalock for his great photographs!