Writing professor returns to Austin after honing craft in The Big Apple


Madeleine McIlheran

Clements resided in New York for six years.

Professor Amy Clements is a true Austinite– she was born at the original Seton Medical Center by the University of Texas and grew up in the Live Music Capital of the World. An intriguing dichotomy, her personality is both industrious and easygoing. She reliably helps students hone their writing and rhetoric skills, volunteers at an Austin-based organization and packs her own lunch from home each day, evidence that she knows the true value of both a dollar and an hour.

Clements recently completed training to renew her status as a certified Affordable Care Act counselor. She completed this training in order to better serve Foundation Communities, an organization where Clements volunteers.

“Health insurance sounds boring, but healthcare bills are the number one reason Americans declare bankruptcy,” Clements said.

Clements first became interested in the group in 2013 after her husband began regularly supporting the group.

The following year after Clements began volunteering with the organization, she was diagnosed with cancer. Her diagnosis increased her desire to help others acquire affordable healthcare.

“My own cancer bills totaled more than $300,000,” Clements said. “So I am grateful that most of that was covered by my plan at St. Edward’s.”

Clements graduated from UT-Austin with double majors in English and advertising before moving to New York City to pursue her professional career. She lived in Brooklyn for four years and then in Rye for two years before returning to Austin in 2001.

Clements spent her time in NYC focused on her career.

“I was kind of a workaholic,” she explained. She met her husband after moving back to Austin.

On their first date, a cookie with lemon frosting caught her then-date’s eye, and he ordered it unapologetically, saying “I’ll have one of those, and I want that one,” as he pointed out the cookie with the most lemon frosting.

“I thought ‘this is someone I’ll have fun with.’ First impressions often are indicative of a lot… and as it turns out, he’s been a lot of fun,” Clements said.

When Clements first started teaching at St. Edward’s, she was given an office next door to another professor of English: Ev. Lunning. Clements recognized Lunning as her high school English teacher.

When asked about her typical after-school routine in high school, Clements said that she and her friends preferred writing poetry, watching plays and baking over going out.

“We weren’t really consumers,” she explained. “We went over to each other’s houses a lot. My friend Sarah’s mom, Ellen Aiello, was the most amazing cook. And she was Jewish, so she introduced me to a lot of food I’d never even heard of before.”

Clements continued to stay in touch with both Sarah and Ellen Aiello.

To the left of the doorway inside of Clements’s on-campus office is a cutout of Richard Gere, a humorous present from the Aiellos, as Sarah Aiello and Clements watched many movies featuring the actor in high school.

When Clements was diagnosed with cancer, Ellen Aiello brought homemade meals regularly for Clements and her husband.

While Clements has accomplished much and influenced many lives since her high school days, she remains true to her roots. Still a non-consumer, she prefers to brew her own coffee at home instead of visiting Jo’s for her caffeine fix.