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Division of Campus and Community Engagement

Division of Campus and Community Engagement

Starting Up: Aspiring entrepreneur heads to D.C. for Archer Fellowship

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Giovanni Gutierrez is right at home in Austin, a city of startups and entrepreneurial visionaries. With his sights set on a corner executive office, the public relations senior is determined to follow his path to success.

“A great leader takes action,” Gutierrez says. “While at UT, I realized I should be doing more, so I started seeking opportunities  and sending out applications.”

When Gutierrez learned about the DiscoverLaw.org PLUS program, he knew he had to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about the world of law. During the summer immersion course, offered by the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE), he and a cohort of juniors and seniors from UT Austin and Huston- Tillotson University spent five weeks preparing for challenging careers in law.

“It really opened up my eyes to so many things I can do within the legal field,” says Gutierrez, who participated in the 2017 cohort. The program has since been renamed College to Career: Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program.

While attending panel events, networking seminars and LSAT prep sessions, Gutierrez discovered an avenue of law that played right into his strengths.

“I really enjoy working with numbers, so I can see myself working for a corporate firm doing contract law,” Gutierrez adds. “I’m trying to get the most experience as I can right now so I can be like my dad and run my own business.”

No matter where his startup venture may lead, Gutierrez is determined to make a positive impact in the community. He is especially interested in immigration advocacy, an area he explored while interning at the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Texas House of Representatives.

“While interning at the legislative caucus, I could see how much of a difference could be made by educating these communities and bringing them together,” Gutierrez says. “Working for an organization like that opened up my eyes and helped me see the potential for change.”

Now he plans on taking all of his skills and experience to Capitol Hill during the fall 2018 semester. He is one of several outstanding undergraduates who earned an Archer
Fellowship, a competitive program offered by the university that allows students to study and intern in the heart of the nation’s capital. Gutierrez attributes his success—and his steadily-growing resume—to the sheer power of networking, a skill that he fine-tuned while meeting with lawyers and professors in the DiscoverLaw.org PLUS program. He also developed a number of contacts in Cape Town, South Africa, where he studied urban economic development as part of the LCAE’s signature Maymester program.

“The greatest thing I ever did for myself was to break out of my shell and start networking with people,” Gutierrez adds. “That’s how I found out about the Archer
Fellows Program. I keep a stack of business cards and it just keeps getting thicker.”