(CC)

President-elect Joe Biden released 500 names that will be part of his transition teams this week, including two University of Texas professors.


Norma Cantú, professor of law and education, will serve on the Department of Education transition team, whereas Mary Wakefield, professor of nursing, will serve on the Department of Health and Human Services transition team.

The president's transition team is responsible for laying the groundwork and preparing the new administration for office. Transition teams normally consist of industry leaders, healthcare professionals and experts.

The two UT professors weren't the only professors from Texas shortlisted—Texas Tech University law professor Vickie Sutton was also circulating but she has yet to receive or accept an official notice.

As for the professors officially chosen to serve on Biden's teams, this is not their first rodeo.

Cantú graduated from Harvard Law School when she was 22 and served as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights in Bill Clinton's presidential cabinet for all eight years of his presidency. Cantú will take a temporary leave of absence at UT for the position.

Wakefield, a registered nurse, is a UT alumna and has a Ph.D in nursing. In 2019, Wakefield was honored with The American Academy of Nursing's "Living Legend" award, which is reserved for individuals who have spearheaded "extraordinary contributions" to the nursing profession.

Because transition teams can begin working anytime after election results are released, Biden has already started rolling out policies to implement. Some policies include plans to institute a national mask mandate, reversal of President Donald Trump's immigration policies and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.

The challenge for all of us this Thanksgiving is letting go of what we've lost in this tough year and treasure what we still have.

We at Austonia are thankful for you. Since we launched our site in April, we've done our best to connect you to Austin, with stories ranging from the important to the delightfully superficial. Your response has been strong and we are grateful.

At this time of thanks, we have a variety of stories for you. Laura Figi writes about "a greener holiday," food trends, and Friday shopping. Emma Freer writes about a nearby annual Native American heritage celebration. And Roberto Ontiveros brings us a thoughtful piece that looks at the human toll of Austin's gentrification—the often painful flip side to having shiny new bars, restaurants, and apartments—in this case it's displacement of the Black community on East 11th Street. Finally, we ask you how you're celebrating the holiday this year.

Our best to you and your loved ones!

—The Austonia Team

You can now buy earrings designed by UT students at Kendra Scott

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