Five Under 40

This year’s Outstanding Young Texas Exes have two things in common—a long list of accomplishments and service to the university.

The Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award is presented annually to University of Texas alumni under 40 who have already made names for themselves. Since 1980, OYTEX winners have included athletes, scientists, filmmakers, politicians, entrepreneurs, and federal judges. This year’s recipients are again scattered across all walks of life. There’s the man who couldn’t decide between criminal justice and medicine, so he chose both; the former baseball player turned financial whiz turned geopolitical intelligence firm executive; the Longhorn softball legend and Olympic gold medalist; the former federal prosecutor now with the California Attorney General’s office; and the philanthropist, venture capitalist, and health care finance lawyer. These five individuals have—apart from virtually no free time, it would seem—accomplished more in their young lives than most would hope to in a stack of lifetimes.

Cat Osterman

Catherine “Cat” Osterman
BA ’07, Life Member

HOME BASE: Austin

BOX SCORE: Professional softball player and assistant coach at Texas State University 

“I have dedicated myself to being the best softball player I can be since I was 12 or 13. I’m still working just as hard.”

THE LOWDOWN: After winning medals at multiple Olympics—gold in Athens in 2004 and silver in Beijing in 2008—holding virtually every Texas and most Big 12 pitching records, tossing 20 no-hitters and seven perfect games, winning USA Softball Player of the Year three times, and going pro after graduating, Osterman is now an assistant coach at Texas State. Though she coaches the Bobcats down in San Marcos, she still feels inextricably linked to UT. “You always bleed burnt orange once you graduate from the University of Texas,” Osterman says. “It will always be one of my favorite colors in my closet.”

Alex Eastman

Alexander L. Eastman
MD, MPH, FACS, BA ’96, Life Member

HOME BASE: Dallas

VITALS: Assistant professor of surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, interim medical director of the Trauma Center at Parkland Memorial Hospital, lieutenant with the Dallas Police Department, and inspector and medical director at the University of Texas System Police 

“Never when I go to work does it feel like a job. It’s no question that it’s busy—but it’s a great busy.”

THE LOWDOWN: One early morning in October 2007, Eastman’s fellow Dallas SWAT team member was shot in the neck by the girlfriend of a meth dealer. Thankfully, Eastman’s propensity for making the rest of the world’s population look like slackers led to him performing emergency surgery by the light of police rifles to save his colleague’s life—while the perpetrators of the crime were still at large nearby. As a former fireman and now doctor and police officer, astronaut is the only boyhood dream job he hasn’t realized. “I don’t think astronaut is in the cards,” Eastman says, and it’s not for lack of ambition. “I don’t like heights.”

Shea Morenz

Shea Morenz
BBA ’97, Life Member

HOME BASE: Austin

STAT LINE: President and CEO of Stratfor Global Intelligence 

“Even if you go 10-0, there’s going to be tough practice and tough knockdowns. The scoreboard says one thing, but you know the true story.”

THE LOWDOWN: After playing football and baseball at UT, Morenz was drafted in the first round by the New York Yankees. He retired in 1999, and while he only made it as far as Triple-A, he quickly became a major-league finance talent, working his way up to a managing director position at Goldman Sachs, where he worked for 10 years before taking over as president and CEO of Stratfor. While his two careers are distinct, Morenz uses the former to fuel the latter. “All those things—social, sports, business, school, raising a family—pull on the same qualities and experience I think are embodied in a very intense way in team sports,” he says.

Carlos Zaffirini

Carlos M. Zaffirini, Jr.
BBA ’03, JD ’06, Life Member

HOME BASE: Austin

DOSSIER: Philanthropist, venture capitalist, and president and CEO of Adelanto HealthCare Ventures 

“UT gave all of us an opportunity to get the tools and skills we needed to enter the workforce. There isn’t a university in Texas that could have helped us like UT.”

THE LOWDOWN: “No mother ever said, ‘He’s gonna be a health care finance lawyer,’” Zaffirini says, laughing. While that may be technically true, Zaffirini’s mother, Senator Judith Zaffirini, BS ’67, MA ’70, PhD ’78, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, has to be proud of her son, a philanthropist, venture capitalist, and yes, health care finance lawyer and executive. Carlos, who counts his parents as his greatest influence, recently endowed a scholarship with the Texas Exes in his mother’s name. Still, despite his numerous achievements, he is in awe of his fellow OYTEX winners. “The better answer would have been most people want their kid to be like Shea Morenz or Cat Osterman!” he says. “I was shocked when I was called with the news [that I had won]. It’s a special honor to receive this with such an impressive collection of executives and public servants.”

Jeff Tsai

Jeffrey E. Tsai
BA ’97, Life Member

HOME BASE: San Francisco

CASE FILE: Special assistant attorney general with the Office of California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris 

“I made a promise a long time ago that I would make a commitment to the university if the university made a commitment to me. I feel like it has paid me in full many times over.”

THE LOWDOWN: Phonies, forgers, and crooked officials of the world beware if Jeffrey Tsai is on your case. Though he’s practiced a few different types of law, he has a storied history in financial fraud and anti-corruption law. Tsai has worked all across the country since leaving the Forty Acres—as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. and Miami, and now for the state of California in San Francisco—but he still feels a connection to UT even from afar, as an at-large member of the Texas Exes Board of Directors, and makes it a point to visit Texas “five or six times a year.” In his current role, he is a principal advisor to the Attorney General, overseeing criminal law policy in California.

Photography by Matt Wright-Steel

 

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