Eleven UTRGV students are about to embark on an experience that will change their lives, with a spring internship at the State Capital during the 86th Texas Legislative Session.
Each student will work in the Austin Capitol office of a Rio Grande Valley legislator.
Following are the names of the students selected for the Rio Grande Valley Legislative Internship Program (VLIP), and the legislators to whom they are assigned.
Khalid Aboujamous – Sen. Judith Zaffirini (District 21).
Javier Bustos – Rep. Terry Canales (District 40).
Giovanni Rosas Escobedo – Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (District 20).
Jesus Galindo – Rep. Elect Alex Dominguez (District 37).
Monica Garcia – Rep. Oscar Longoria (District 35).
Ylana Robles – Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez (District 39).
Jacquelynn Hernandez – Rep. Ryan Guillen (District 31).
Bertha Lance – Rep. Eddie Lucio, III (District 38).
Erick Longoria – Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (District 27).
Stacie Morales – Rep. Bobby Guerra (District 41).
Eric Vargas – Rep. Sergio Munoz, Jr. (District 36).
At an orientation held Dec. 14, Veronica Gonzales, UTRGV vice president for Governmental and Community Relations, told the students the internship program was established to create opportunities for students to learn about the legislative process.
“You will be working in the offices of our Valley legislators, interacting with people from all over the state. You will be ambassadors for UTRGV, and you will learn firsthand how laws are made. Embrace this experience,” Gonzales said.
Some of the UTRGV VLIP students going to Austin shared their thoughts about the coming internship and its benefits.
Vargas has always been interested in government. At UTRGV, he is pursing two master’s degrees, one in Public Affairs and the other in Creative Writing.
“The procedures and protocols that go into enacting policy has always fascinated me. The VLIP internship is exciting, and I plan to utilize my time to its utmost, learning different policies, procedures and experiencing firsthand government in action,” he said.
Lance never considered politics as a career until her fourth semester at UTRGV.
“ I realized that politics was, indeed, what I want to do. I am grateful to have been given this opportunity to keep on living my passion and keep my dreams going strong,” she said. “This internship will expand my skills and help me gain new experiences.”
Aboujamous, a junior at UTRGV studying Political Science and English, plans to go to law school.
“Politics is a big part of my life. I study it in class, listen to it on the news, read about it online, and even share my opinions with friends and colleagues, but I have never experienced it first-hand. The VLIP internship gives me the chance to do just that. It is a great opportunity for me to learn from our legislators,” Aboujamous said.
Student interns work full-time and must complete assignments in two online political science courses, for which they receive course credit. Students also receive monthly compensation through the VLIP program, thanks to the support and generosity of UTRGV President, Dr. Guy Bailey. The students will report to their assigned Capitol office a few days before the legislative session begins on Jan. 8, 2019.