• Texas State Capitol
    Austin Price
Explore campaign and legislative work during this session of Careers in Politics. Hear from alumni and professionals about their jobs and learn about ways to engage with the political process.

The panelists in this session work or have worked directly with campaigns and in legislative offices:

Anita Fernandez ’04 has a B.A. in Latin American Studies with a focus in Anthropology from Southwestern University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UT Austin. Anita has professional experience in state and local government, nonprofit management, education and the arts. During her time in the Texas Legislature as Chief of Staff for a Texas State Representative, she led the Capitol and District offices as well as various community and policy initiatives in the areas of Public Education, Transportation, Urban Affairs, Healthcare and Immigration. She has been a pivotal contributor to the development of community and public affairs during her time at the Museo Alameda, the first formal Smithsonian affiliate in the U.S. and the official Latino Museum of Texas. While working in public education, she developed and implemented college readiness curriculum for the K – 12 grade levels. For more than 12 years, she has served as the volunteer Project Administrator for the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) at San Antonio’s Great Debate Team, an international leadership experience for high school students. Anita is a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Cultures. Previously, she served as the City Council District 1 Appointee for the San Antonio SA2020 Commission on Education as well as on the Board of Directors for the National Hispanic Institute and the San Antonio River Foundation.

Sonia Van Meter is the Managing Partner of Stanford Campaigns, a national Democratic opposition research firm based in Austin, TX. Now in her tenth year in the political consulting industry, Van Meter has worked hundreds of races and IEs all over the country, from city council bids to gubernatorial and US Senate runs to Julián Castro’s presidential bid. In 2014, Van Meter was made a partner of Stanford Campaigns, and began concentrating her efforts on recruiting and backing women candidates for office. By 2018, more than half of Stanford Campaigns’ clients for the cycle were women, and of the 40 red-to-blue congressional flips of the cycle, 10 were Stanford Campaigns clients. Van Meter has worked alongside the DCCC, the DGA, EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, as well as dozens of corporate clients in need of due diligence research. She also routinely speaks publicly on the merits of opposition research and the opportunities and challenges that come with political small business ownership. She’s a cum laude graduate of Georgia State University where she earned her B.A. in Sociology. 

Lynlie Wallace has served as the Chief of Staff for State Representative Lyle Larson’s office since 2011 and worked as his campaign manager prior to his election. As a Chief of Staff, she has numerous responsibilities such as directing the creation of legislation, developing relationships with multiple stakeholders, overseeing constituent outreach and engagement, authoring newsletters and press materials, managing the office budget, and hiring and training all legislative staff. 
Wallace holds a B.A. in Government from Angelo State University and has held multiple positions related to the political process since graduating from being a Special Assistant to a County Commissioner in Bexar County to a Public Affairs Associate Account Executive with a political communications firm. 

Southwestern University supports learning wherever it takes place. The Center for Career & Professional Development contributes to the Southwestern University Student Life MOSAIC initiative by providing advising, programming and resources to help students develop as a whole person. This event helps you to:

  • Make Meaning of the Academic Experience
  • Shape Your Professional Identity