First Lieutenant Rebecca Saathoff, a DHS 2010 graduate and daughter of Gary and Nancy Saathoff, attended Texas State University in San Marcos for three years before graduating with a 4.0, Summa Cum Laude degree in Mass Communication/Advertising and a minor in Agriculture. While in college, Rebecca was active in campus life, was President of Golden Key Honour Society, and was President of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity. Other accolades Rebecca achieved include the following: She studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain; She had her first internship for the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, where she worked with Ag teachers across the state as well as with the State FFA; She was chosen during her senior year as a member of Texas State’s Advertising Competition Team, competing for the university in Tulsa, OK; Upon graduation, she was selected by the Alumni Association as the LBJ Outstanding Senior for the Class of 2013.
About her experience in college, Rebecca proudly states, “Going to Texas State has been one of the best decisions of my life so far. The professors clearly loved teaching and truly cared about the success and goals of their students. This made my education so much richer than it otherwise might have been. I also loved that Texas State was large enough to provide lots of opportunity but somehow still managed to have a small-town vibe.”
Rebecca then attended the University of Texas School of Law in Austin and graduated in 2016. She focused her course work on energy, environmental, and legislative law. She served legislative clients as a member and advanced member of the Legislative Lawyering Clinic, including getting to work with alternative energy industry clients. In addition, Rebecca served as a Staff Editor and later as a Board Editor on the Environmental Law Journal. During her 3L year, she was selected as an Article and Notes Editor for the Journal. As a student, she wrote case updates with industry professionals and was published three times.
Rebecca’s favorite part of law school was learning about and working in different environments, such as internships for the State Office of Administrative Hearings, private law firms, Texas Farm Bureau’s legislative office, and the Lower Colorado River Authority.
After law school, Rebecca took a Post Graduate Internship in the policy office of the Speaker of the Texas House, Joe Strause, while waiting for her Bar results. This internship built on her time in the Legislative Lawyering Clinic at Texas Law, and it led her to spend the 2017 legislative session working in the Texas House of Representative’s General Counsel and Legislative Assistant to Rep. Drew Darby of San Angelo. In this capacity, she also served as General Counsel to the two committees Rep Darby chaired: The House Energy Resources Committee and the Select Committee on State and Federal Responsibilities and Powers.
During her time in Chairman Darby’s office, Rebecca advised on constitutional law, energy, health and education policy, and more. She enjoyed the variety of topics she got the chance to work on, and she especially enjoyed seeing those policies become law. Her favorite part was getting to work with Rep. Darby’s constituents to solve problems that people faced in their everyday lives.
Following the footsteps of her dad, Gary Saathoff, who served as a pilot in the Air Force Reserves for 20 years, Rebecca commissioned into the Air Force in April 2017. She explains that growing up, “I was raised with a sense of respect for what the military does.” Rebecca began her training in June 2017, and she is currently stationed as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate in Aviano, Italy. In this role, she works in a number of areas of the law, including international law, family law, and wills and estates. Soon, she will begin taking on military justice cases as a prosecutor for the U.S. Air Force. She shares, “I love the work I do, and I love that I get to help support my fellow military members overseas. I want to use my skills and abilities to help make other people’s lives better and to make a difference. Being a member of the Air Force has been a great way to do that.”
Outside of law and the military, Rebecca has other interests. One of them is travel. Although still young, Rebecca has had the opportunity to do extensive traveling. These places include Brazil, Hungary, Italy, Spain, among others. Her goal is to have traveled to 30 countries by the age of 30 and to all fifty states by the age of 50! Rebecca also enjoys cooking, running (having run two half marathons and a number of other races), and writing (recently having published an article in the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law about the regulation of wind energy industry in Texas).
Rebecca remains active in the alumni associations of her undergrad and graduate schools. She is a member of the Class of 2016 Committee and Austin Steering Committee for the University of Texas School of Law. In 2017, she was selected for Texas State University’s inaugural Young Alumni Counsel, on which she is proudly serving a two-year term stint.
But Rebecca’s favorite thing of all is “seeing family and friends.” She says she loves visiting her parents, who live in Devine, and her siblings. Her sister, Julie, lives in San Antonio with her husband, Garret Mino; Sister Dianne and husband Andrew Leyva are stationed in Malaysia with the State Department; Eric Saathoff lives and works in Medina County; and Kyle Saathoff is currently getting his master’s degree at Texas A&M.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to grow up in a community like Devine,” Rebecca says. The education, life-long friendships, living close to family, and the closeness of the community “made me who I am.” She says she didn’t realize “what a unique and empowering upbringing” she had, but as an adult, “I can see that Devine is truly a special place,” where she had role models and mentors from whom she “learned unique lessons about leadership, humility, and the importance of remembering that the most important thing we can do is to serve others.” Feeling blessed for having had so many opportunities to learn and grow thus far, Rebecca says she “can’t wait to see what the future holds.”