Joe Levin

Yes, it’s true. I am from California. But before you go shouting and trying to kick me out of your beloved state, please allow me to explain. I’m not trying to bring California to Texas. In fact, I’ve been trying to bring Texas to California for as long as I can remember, hosting backyard brisket cookouts (they might have violated Los Angeles’ open fire policy but ask anyone who had a bite if it was worth it), missing school to go to see my beloved Horns in the Rose Bowl for what I told my teacher was “a religious holiday”, and getting all my friends to start using this weird new word called “y’all.” I’m a fifth generation Longhorn, I’ve spent lots of time in the Lone Star State both in person and in spirit, and I have to admit: stepping onto the 40 Acres for the first time this Fall, it did feel a bit like coming home. Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by stories and the unbelievable power they hold over us. Stories create empathy, and empathy is how you can start to change people’s perspectives to create a better world. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, to go, find, and listen to strangers’ stories and share them with the rest of the world. I spent a summer living in Austin working for Texas Monthly where I was able to see this process play out in print and another summer at a Los Angeles production company working on the Audience Network’s Religion of Sports series where I saw how stories can be told visually as well. I cannot wait to spend the next four years (and hopefully more!) in Austin. You’ll probably find me in line at Franklin’s, eating some Bob Armstrong dip at Matt’s, or at whatever obscure French New Wave film the Austin Film Society is showing. Come up and tell me your story. I’d love to hear it.

Majors: Journalism; Plan II Honors

Honors Program: Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests: Film, politics, history

Extracurricular Activities: Sports blog, Pledging Phi Gamma Delta fraternity

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
Every autumn Saturday for as long as I can remember, a big group of Tex-pats have gotten together to watch their Longhorns play football from Los Angeles. We’d rotate houses, who was manning the smoker, who was making the queso. As the years went by, the group grew larger. Any Longhorn was welcome. I remember the morning of Texas-OU one year, Dad and I were picking up breakfast burritos for everyone. We were, of course, dressed head-to-toe in burnt orange. As we waited, we heard, “Hook ‘em horns!” We turned around, saw a stranger dressed exactly the same way, and started talking to this newfound Longhorn. We invited him over to watch. He did, and he’s come by many weekends since. Growing up and seeing the huge hearts and immense pride shared by Texas Exes across the country, it was impossible not to want to become a part of that community myself.