St. Edward’s graduate shares experience working on Sen. Van de Putte campaign

Staff Writer

This week, I interviewed St. Edward’s University alumna Shelby Cole, ‘13. While she was a student, Cole founded the women’s club soccer team and worked as sports editor for Hilltop Views. Today, she is making an impact in her community through politics. Although she is only 24, she is already running with political big dogs, like Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.

How is working for Van de Putte’s mayoral race?

It’s amazing! I always told everyone I wouldn’t get involved in politics unless I was working for her, and I hustled until I got offered a job. She’s an amazing leader with a long legacy of service to her community, and I know she’ll be an amazing mayor. She’s constantly giving us history lessons about the city and what she’s done to improve it, and her (huge) family has basically adopted me as one of their own. I wouldn’t trade this job for the world.

Did you ever see yourself involved with the gubernatorial campaign while in college?

I didn’t — I wanted to be a journalist for the longest time because it felt like the most literal way to apply my skills as a writer, and I thought I was pretty politically apathetic until the filibuster happened. That summer and those rallies changed everything: I started to get more active in politics while working at an LGBT magazine in town, and I actually got to interview Sen. Van de Putte as a writer. It was after that interview that I started hustling to work for her, and a few months later, I got the job

How do you think St. Edward’s prepared you for this life?

Big picture, (St. Edward’s) helped me hone my drive and passion for social justice. I can think critically about the world around me and feel fulfilled knowing that I wake up daily to work for a woman who will change and enhance the lives of so many people, including minority groups like women, the LGBT community and people of color. (St. Edward’s) also gave me an amazing tool kit in my education. My background as a writer, designer and communicator is absolutely invaluable.

Is the transition from college to the real life hard?

Yes, it was incredibly hard. After working as the managing editor at a local magazine, I knew I had to transition out of that job. I then spent five months working three jobs: I was teaching part-time, freelancing part-time and interning with the Texas Tribune. I had to sell stuff to feed myself, but I never gave up on my dream to work as a writer. St. Edward’s trained me to be gritty, and I managed to survive some of my most difficult months and land my dream job. But it took a lot of tears and stress to get to where I am. Being an adult is so hard!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully still working towards my top-line goal of writing online for social justice causes. Maybe I’m working in politics still, or maybe I’m at a nonprofit organization. Who knows. Hopefully, wherever I am, I get to spend more time outdoors — campaign life is going to give me scurvy, I swear.

You were involved in club soccer, are you still playing anywhere?

When I took this job on Leticia’s race for Lieutenant Governor, I was on six teams in Austin. I then stopped playing soccer for, like, nine months. I just re-joined an indoor team in San Antonio and it’s actually incredible how out of shape I am.

What do you miss most about St. Edwards?

I miss the sense of community and friends. When you’re at school, it’s all built around you — once you graduate, you have to make your own community.

Follow Lauren for more.