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Monday, October 2, 2023


Cougars work in Capitol

The Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program (MLCIP) has given over 200 Houston college and graduate students the chance to work elbow to elbow with members of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. over the course of nearly 30 years.

Traditionally awarded to economically disadvantaged minority students, the MLCIP grants these students a real-world opportunity few people will ever experience.

This year four of the seven students chosen for the prestigious program were students of UH.

Political science junior Shiv Srivastava said getting on the ground floor of where political change is made has a personal meaning for someone coming from his’ background.

‘Our generation is not guaranteed to have a better life than their parents did,’ Srivastava said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle’s Corilyn Shropshire. ‘I saw the economic opportunity that my parents came to the U.S. to seek and also saw the social inequities that hindered people from achieving their dreams.’

Srivastava worked as a Center for Public Policy intern with Outreach Strategists, a political consultancy and public affairs firm.

Srivastava also interned at the Center for Public Policy and volunteered for non-governmental organizations before working under U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) for the MLCIP.

Biology and political science senior Andrew Leba is a member of The Honors College at UH and the National Dean’s List

Leba brings his interest in public policy to the office of U.S. Rep Michael Honda (D-Calif.).

Before his selection for the MLCIP, Andrew worked as a college math tutor and an election clerk and Vietnamese translator for the city of Houston.

Political science and psychology senior Natali Blevins was no stranger to work under public officials when she was selected for the MLCIP. She interned for Council Member Melissa Noriega and the Center for Public Policy and was as involved in grassroots politics to enforce her passion for environmental and child advocacy issues.

She is working in the office of U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas).

When Blevins returns from her MLCIP internship she will graduate and hopes to pursue a law degree.

Political science and psychology senior Melissa White completed two Center for Public Policy internships before going to Washington, D.C., one she spent in Mayor Bill White’s Office on Neighborhoods & Housing and the other under former Council Member Ada Edwards.

Now working in the office of U.S. Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), White told the Chronicle she understands why some Americans are so hopeful for President Obama’s new administration.

‘A lot of people feel like it’s bottomed out,’ she said to Houston Chronicle’s Corilyn Shropshire. ‘There’s nowhere else to go but up from here, so it has to change.’

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