Highlighting Our Purpose on Founders Day

The Ambassadors are back together again! On April 22, 2017, the Ambassadors met atSHSU for a day full of presentations to learn more about the University on Founder’s Day.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

The day began with a presentation about the new Osteopathic Medicine Program at SHSU. University officials plan to build the medical center in Montgomery County. President Hoyt began her discussion, however, by introducing the Austin Interns….

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

…before discussing her belief in this new Osteopathic program its capacity for stimulating growth at SHSU and meeting crucial medical needs in our region.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program, President Dana Hoyt

The newly hired Dean of the Osteopathic College, Dr. Charles Henley, also joined the conversation.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program, Dr. Charles Henley

He spoke about how Texas is in need of more medical students, and why SHSU can efficiently train such students, meeting the needs of the state. Noting that the program would be 100 percent self-funded, Dr. Charles did a great job at explaining the academic side of the college and how the program would work for future students.

After the program, Dr. Hoyt spent time with the LEAP Ambassadors…

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

…discussing the Osteopathic program more, and also the goings-on in Austin.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

Next, we attended the Golden Circle Luncheon, where SHSU Alumni who graduated in 1967 or earlier gathered for lunch–alongside other alumni who were attending Founders Day.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston AustiLEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program Internship Program, Golden Circle Alumni

We had the opportunity to talk to many wonderful alumni who talked to us about SHSU and their careers after college. It was a great experience for us, because we had the opportunity to talk to people who came from different career paths than what we are considering.  We even had the chance to see an alum who graduated before 1950!

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

As we enjoyed our conversations, the musical department provided some entertainment. The department offered a vivacious performance taken from their version of Hairspray. Viewing the comic choreography, where at one point the dancers invited guests to join them–including Mac Woodward.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

Following the Lunch, we headed to the Gaertner Performance Arts Center. There, we joined members of our community and presented the wonderful opportunities the Center for Law, Engagement, and Politics has to offer.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

The goal of our presentation was to inform community members of all the activities and subjects in which LEAP is involved.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

From visiting art museums around the country, to assisting local elected officials, to meeting intriguing authors, there is almost nothing a LEAP Ambassador would not participate in. As long as it promotes growth, education, and civic engagement, we will pursue any new experience.

LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Founders Day, Sam Houston Austin Internship Program

As we said goodbye to our guests, we all pondered on our accomplishments as an Ambassador and organization. With the Founder’s Day wrapping up, it was rewarding to consider our accomplishments as an appropriate way to honor our university.

Bookin’ it at the Texas Capitol

By Beatriz Martinez

With only one more month to go in the legislative session is flying by, with the month of April flying by faster than Representative Stickland can call a parliamentary inquiry. Nonetheless, I have been able to explore and venture out into a city as diverse as it is weird. The best part of all is that I can work in one of the  most historic sites in Texas, the Austin State Capitol.

Sam Houston Austin Internship Program, SHAIP, Austin Interns, Texas State Capitol, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Armando Martinez, Mando Martinez

I have the honor of working for Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez (we are both named Martinez, but we are not related!). An outstanding public servant, he happens to live and represent the city near my hometown.

Sam Houston Austin Internship Program, SHAIP, Austin Interns, Texas State Capitol, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Armando Martinez, Mando Martinez

He is a veteran at the capitol with more than 7 sessions under his belt and holds the position of Deputy Whip and Vice Chair of Transportation. It’s been a pleasure working for him this session, and I have had the chance to learn a lot while also being inspired by his hard-work and perseverance.

Sam Houston Austin Internship Program, SHAIP, Austin Interns, Texas State Capitol, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Armando Martinez, Mando Martinez

Because  most of the staff come from the Rio Grande Valley, the area our office represents, we are all at home in the office. It is a good thing too because I can spend up to 18 hours in the Capitol office in a given day. My office hours start in the morning before the sun is up and end until the moon is high in the starry sky. Even though work days are long, I enjoy the hours since that is the time when there is a lot of peace and quiet.

As part of Representative Martinez’s team, my duties entail various responsibilities. My primary function is to manage Representative Martinez’s schedule and act as the office steward. To briefly explain this last duty, my desk is the first one that everyone sees. This position makes me in charge of greeting and helping people get to where they need to go. Apart from these responsibilities, I prepare bill booklets, analyze bills that go on the floor, and conduct research on Representative Martinez’s committees. Through these duties, I have witnessed the process by which a bill becomes a law, beginning in its infantile stage as a booklet, to being presented on the floor, and hopefully evolving into a law.

Sam Houston Austin Internship Program, SHAIP, Austin Interns, Texas State Capitol, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Armando Martinez, Mando Martinez

It has been a great experience to work at the Capitol because I have been on the front row seat while legislation is in the making. Not only did I see how the budget was passed last month in March, but in April I got to see the passage of SB4. On that April evening, the House Floor did not adjourn until 3:30am, which was unprecedented this session, unless you count budget night. It was a truly informational  experience where we got to see more on how a bill can become a law.

However, my duties do not end at the Capitol. As a LEAP Ambassador, I still participate in many events. For three of the weekends, I traveled to Huntsville in order to participate in the Democrat vs Republican Charity Football Game…

LEAP Charity Football Game, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

….the Wynne Home Easter Egg Hunt…

Wynne Home Arts Center, LEAP Center, Easter Egg Hunt, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU

and SHSU Founders Day.

SHSU Founders Day, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU

And last weekend, I was participated in a particularly interesting event here in Austin.

In the city there’s the Austin Bookstore Crawl, which is essentially a scavenger hunt across 13 predetermined bookstores across Austin. To celebrate Independent Bookstore Day in April 29, participants of the event must visit various bookstores and take a selfie with a list of books provided in the event. These pictures are posted on social media in order to enter a raffle with a grand price of $500 worth of book items. All in all, it was a great experience. It challenged me in more ways than one. And even though I do not have a car, I took 7 different buses and walked 3-4 miles to 9 different bookstores. Unfortunately, I did not win, but I did receive a great deal of knowledge and awareness of the bookstores surrounding the area. I even saw a George Rodrigue “Blue Dog” painting in Book People.

George Rodrigue, Blue Dog, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Austin Interns, Austin, Book People, SHSU

Because part of being a LEAP Ambassador is to delve into different cultures, it was rewarding to participate in this community event.

This past month of April has been one of the best experiences I have had in the 2 years of education in Sam Houston State University. I now understand the impact and change caused within myself due to the training I have received as a LEAP ambassador. Not only that, but I have also sought my own exposure to multiple experiences. Even better is that I have been able to expand my family at the Austin Capitol.

Sam Houston Austin Internship Program, SHAIP, Austin Interns, Texas State Capitol, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Armando Martinez, Mando Martinez

 

A View from an (Austin) Bridge

Thanks to the ever-alert Glynda Turner, we learned that the Pennybacker Bridge in Austin has a Huntsville connection!  Anna Pennybacker graduated from SHSU in the early 1880s (then Sam Houston Normal School) and in 1884 married Percy Pennbacker, for whom the Pennybacker Bridge in Austin is named.

The Pennybacker Bridge is known for its interesting architecture and for spanning a particularly attractive area.  In honor of its Huntsville connection and its attractiveness, the LEAP Ambassadors decided to celebrate Anna Pennybacker’s 156th birthday by visiting the site at sunset.

Pennybacker Bridge, Austin Texas, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Sam Houston Austin Intern Program

With its hills and waterways, Austin is something of the sunset capital of Texas, but even so, the Pennybacker vistas are impressive.

Indeed, the aesthetic qualities of the area encouraged us to linger and engage….

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…although Alex soon went off to a corner of the cliff for solitude…

Pennybacker Bridge, Austin Texas, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Sam Houston Austin Intern Program

…perhaps because his fiancee was playing pattycakes at sunset with one of the other interns…

Pennybacker Bridge, Austin Texas, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, SHSU, Sam Houston Austin Intern Program

We also had a little fun with the photography, creating ghostly images…

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All in all, it was a fun way to celebrate Anna Pennybacker’s birthday, and to have some fun and enjoy Austin and nature at the same time!