Ten students to intern with ‘highly-competitive’ program


The Leland fellows will spend their spring semester in Washington D.C. | Photo courtesy of Mary Davis.

As students brush off the holidays and prepare for classes, 10 Cougars will pack their bags for Washington D.C. where they will spend the spring semester as part of the Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program.

The internship helps students acquire hands-on experience in the congressional arena while earning three to 12 upper-level hours in political science. The fellows are given a round-trip flight, a place to live and a monthly stipend to accommodate their stay.

“Leland Fellows is ran in the spring semester of every even-numbered year,” Director for the Hobby Center for Public Policy Renée Cross said. “Both of these full-time paid legislative programs are open to UH juniors and seniors.”

The highly competitive internship requires numerous interviews by a committee who looks closely at academic achievements, writing ability, community and school activities, previous internships or professional experience and financial hardships.

“Initially, I was reluctant to apply,” political science senior Jon Garcia said.” Hearing how competitive the program was made me hesitant. With the support of those around, though, I decided to apply. Thankfully, I was accepted.”

After attending orientation sessions in Houston and D.C., the Leland fellows will be immediately placed into action with the U.S. Congress. They will work a minimum of 40 hours per week, engage in seminars and complete assignments that count toward their credit hours.

“I applied for the Leland Fellowship Program to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to the real world and more specifically the federal government,” political science senior Mary Davis said. “The program (will) provide me with the skills and knowledge I could never receive in a classroom.”

The program provides interns with tools and networking opportunities needed to pursue a career in public service.

“Leland Fellows opens many doors for those aspiring a career in public service,” Cross said. “For example, U.S. District Judge Al Bennett, appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2015, attributes his career to his stint as a Mickey Leland Congressional Intern in 1987.”

The fellowship provides students with a Congressional office experience that is invaluable, Davis said.

“As an intern, I hope to accomplish being able to put what I know into action,” Garcia said. “I believe this experience will provide me with even more tools to be an effective public servant.”

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