TCU Daily Skiff Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Frog Fountain
Skiff page design

Mr. Athon goes to Washington
Student leaves to join Bush campaign
The president of TCU’s College Republicans, John Athon, will bypass school for a year to intern for the president’s re-election effort.

By John Anderson
Staff Reporter

John Athon jokes about being a college dropout, but taking a year off from school may prove to be an even better education.

Athon, a junior political science major and president of the College Republicans on campus, left school to work Monday as an intern for the Bush re-election campaign.

Athon’s mom, Chris, said, “I didn’t have a moment of hesitation that he shouldn’t take the opportunity. I think it is a continuation of his education not a disturbance.”

A longtime family friend of Athon’s, Henley MacIntyre, knew Athon from high school and already worked on the campaign as the assistant to the finance director. Athon had no thought of receiving an opportunity himself when he called to congratulate MacIntyre on her job, but was pleased when she told him spots were still available, he said.

MacIntyre was kind enough to make copies of Athon’s resume and send them to appropriate divisions in the campaign that were looking for interns, he said.

“I got lucky because I called her when people had just quit or gone back to school,” Athon said. “I was the right guy at the right place at the right time.”

The job could be a steppingstone for Athon, who says he has been trying to figure out ways to get to Washington, D.C. He says he might take up residence there if the right job opens up.

“I believe Bush is going to win overall and if he does there might be opportunities for me in the White House working some kind of college job with low pay and long, hard hours,” Athon said.

Peter Worthing, assistant professor of history and one of Athon’s teachers, said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up in politics professionally. He has always been interested in politics.”

Athon said interns don’t usually get paid, and if he doesn’t, he says he will still be happy working for free.

Grant Hewitt, one of the Bush campaign’s regional field directors in West Virginia, said, “Athon is an exciting individual and leader. He understands what an exciting honor this is. I am pleased to have him on the team.”

Hewitt said Athon will learn a lot and the skills he does learn will be invaluable to him in the future.

Athon said he hopes to make contacts at different events and fund-raisers while working as an intern in Washington, D.C.

“It is scary taking a year off. I had a great semester lined up with great teachers and great classes and then I got a call Jan. 12 from the campaign and they said they liked my resume,” Athon said.

He said the Bush campaign asked him to work for a month and a half in the summer but Athon requested to be more involved so he could work through the election process.

“You don’t work all the way up to the Super Bowl and not go to the Super Bowl,” Athon said. “I told them I would work from January to December, until the campaign is over and we need to clean out the headquarters.”

Taking a year off from college and moving to another state will prolong Athon’s education if he decides to return to TCU.

“I’m not going to graduate until I am 23 or 24, which means I am going to come back and be that old guy sitting in the classroom,” Athon said.

Leaving Fort Worth will also mean that Athon would have to leave behind his girlfriend of a year, junior history major Laura Taylor. She says she is happy to see him receive this opportunity, but is sad to see him go away.

“I feel like a little fish in a big pond,” Athon said. “Politics is what I want to do, I will go as far as it will take me.”

John Athon
Ty Halasz/Staff Photographer
Junior political science major John Athon explains his President Bush campaign internship to SGA president Jay Zeidman.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
news campus opinion sports features search awards skiff home advertising jobs back issues skiffTV image magazine converging news contact