The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW professor reaches students inside, out of class

By Tabitha Redder/managing editor

Part five in a five-part series on winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Teaching, an annual recognition of professors who impress and inspire their students.

From within the government department on NW Campus, one professor seems to defy the logic of time with her extensive involvement in student organizations and her dedication to the students she teaches.

Professor Julie Lantrip, who is this year’s Chancellor’s Award winner for NW Campus, currently instructs a handful of government courses at TCC but initially practiced law after obtaining her degree from Harvard.

“I was a human rights lawyer, and I started doing immigration law, but after 9/11, things were depressing because they pretty much shut down any hope of helping people get any kind of status,” she said. “I started looking into teaching, and I absolutely loved it. I thought, ‘That I could do for the rest of my life.’ You get to help students all the time, so it’s a lot more uplifting.”

Lantrip said her passion for human rights came from growing up in a small town with few minorities and seeing that they were treated unfairly.

NW Campus government professor Julie Lantrip stands behind her students Ashley Bill, Juan Guerrero and Paloma Navarrete as she discusses the steps of how a bill becomes a law. Eric Rebosio/The Collegian
NW Campus government professor Julie Lantrip stands behind her students Ashley Bill, Juan Guerrero and Paloma Navarrete as she discusses the steps of how a bill becomes a law. Eric Rebosio/The Collegian

When practicing law, she worked as an attorney of the court in an international court in Costa Rica, which covered all of Latin America.

“I think that’s what helped me when I was doing immigration law to understand what it feels like to be in someone else’s culture,” she said.

After practicing law, she got her doctorate in government at Georgetown University and began teaching.

“I think government, especially from a student standpoint, is something that is practical to learn that doesn’t seem like it when you’re learning it,” she said. “Something might happen that you need to do something about, and one easy way to make changes is through political action.”

Lantrip stays busy as the sponsor of the Law and Politics Club, is a pre-law adviser and a sponsor for the Cornerstone Honors Program. She understands the importance of students feeling comfortable communicating with her.

“I want them to talk and ask questions and blurt out whatever they’re thinking,” she said of her students. “I think that helps me know what they’re thinking and also helps them clarify anything. Even when it’s something I have to lecture about because it’s complicated, I like to have them communicating and feeling like it’s OK to jump in.”

NW student Delia Carroll enrolled in Lantrip’s honors Texas Government course, said her teaching style has peaked her interest in politics since she’s been in class.

“She’s very enthusiastic about what she does, and she’s very engaging and makes you want to listen,” she said. “She makes it easy to follow along and also gives you a little bit of a backstory and history lesson, but not so much that you’re going to get bored. That way she keeps you interested, and you have the whole information to what it is, what it does and where it came from.”

Administrative assistant Darla Hernandez spoke of Lantrip’s advocacy for students’ political involvement.

“She likes reaching out to her students and getting them involved not only on campus but also outside of campus, like in voting and that kind of thing,” she said. “She really tries to expose them to all aspects of government.”

Lantrip said she pushes students to at least register to vote if they’re eligible.

“My theory is once you register, you remain registered until you move. So you don’t know when you’re going to get motivated to go vote, either by getting ticked off by somebody or feeling like you connected with a candidate,” she said. “If you don’t register, you basically forfeit your choice to vote.”

NW student Amber Chadwick had Lantrip as a professor a year ago for Texas Government and spoke of not only her dedication and passion for government but her students in general.

“She takes time out of her day to help students with anything,” she said. “I never really applied for a financial aid application before, and I was actually in her office with her and she helped me apply for FAFSA [Federal Application for Student Aid]. She went through every one of the steps with me.”

Lantrip enjoys traveling and is especially fond of Latin America because of its diversity.

“I really want to go to Peru,” she said. “I’d probably be traveling all the time if I could grab my students and get on a plane.”

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