Garcia's experience in the Bush league
Softball standout Alexis Garcia began her summer internship by hearing the words, "We have a delivery for the West Wing."
Yes, THAT West Wing.
"I said, 'I'll do that,'" she recalled, laughing. "I got over there and went through the security and my eyes were so big. There were the portraits on the wall. It was really something."
It was only the beginning for Garcia, who is currently enrolled in the master's program in the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
And while not everyone can spend their summer vacation working in the White House, Garcia is an example of the kind of attention University of Texas student-athletes get from companies and other concerns from across the country.
Enter Dr. Mike Sanders, who handles matching the student-athlete with the company in his position in UT Athletics' student services area.
A track coach for 25 years, Sanders applies coaching principles in locating opportunities for the student-athletes.
"You make sure they are prepared," he began, "and you find situations where they can succeed. You place them in an environment that maximizes their potential. It helps, too, that lots of people want to have University of Texas student-athletes."
Last year in addition to Garcia, Marshevet Hooker, a track and field standout, interned with Dell; swimmer John Patterson, a finance major, toiled at University Federal Credit Union; and football center Dallas Griffin, who owns a 3.85 grade point average in business, worked for the Staubach Companies.
Yes, THAT Staubach.
This fall, Danielle Kowalski, who was on the UT rowing team, is working with David Letterman in New York.
Sanders already is looking towards next summer. He has 27 companies visiting campus November 14 to meet with student-athletes. One firm, the Allstate Workplace Division, is coming from Orlando, Fla.
Of course, where Garcia wound up last summer was unique.
The Covina, Ca., native explained that this was her second try to intern at the White House, at the suggestion of her cousin, Kelly Kenneally, who was on the White House staff.
"I had been turned down because I did not have enough work experience," Garcia said. "So I made certain that I had the work experience before this past summer."
Garcia was slightly nervous because as the Texas Softball season extended to the Women's College World Series with their success, her days seem numbered in getting to the White House.
"They were very nice about it, letting me extend my starting date," she said.
Garcia worked in Presidential correspondence and communications.
"I was involved in letters and messages to major events where the President was not able to attend," she explained.
How close was she to the movers and shakers?
"Well, I was near the prime minister of India when he was at the White House," Garcia said. "And I was about five feet from Karl Rove in the drive in front of the White House…and that was when he was having all of his problems."
And, yes, she did get to meet President Bush.
Actually, she got to talk to the President when he dropped by the correspondence office and chatted with Garcia about the Longhorns' postseason.
"He sat down and asked me about Michigan," said Garcia of the Longhorns' tormentors in postseason play. "He talked to me just like a regular person. He told me he had been watching our games on TV."
That's how to spend your summer vacation.