Austin Interns Work Hard, Have Fun

Sam Houston State University’s Austin Internship Program, run by the LEAP Center, is off to a rollicking start.

After undergoing orientation training from the crack staff in HR and Career Services, the eight Austin Interns–Oscar Aguilar, Jessica Rodriguez, Lexi Gonzales, Sadie McLaughlin, Ariel Traub, Lupe Cuellar, Shelby O’brien, and Sarah Landsman–underwent an orientation in Austin, Texas.  The event was to start with a Segway tour of Austin, but with freezing rain in the forecast, we switched quickly to an iFLY tour.  It wasn’t a tour so much, but it was a fun way to start the day.

Jessica_iFLY_Clapping
The day began with an orientation on iFLY’s unique flight system, which evoked some anxiety while also bringing smiles.

Lupe_Smiling_Training

But it was the flights that brought the big smiles.   iFLY doesn’t provide a long time in the air, but it’s a lot of fun.  Some of us were better than others, but all had a good time, or at least were glad they tried.

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The flights also provide that wind-blown look that is so flattering, perfectly complementing the smart flight suits.

iFLY_Group_POST

Following the adrenaline rush of iFly, we moved to Quack’s Bakery on 43rd for a caffeine rush and some pastries.  For those who haven’t tried this mid-town delight, it’s definitely worth it.  Try the ginger crinkle cookies or the chocolate ginger; you can’t go wrong.

Quacks_Cookies

There was also some good conversation, with equal measure astonishment, disbelief, and delight.

Quacks_Laughing

But, mostly, it was about the cupcakes.

Jessica_Cupcake

Armed with coffee and sugar, we embarked to the 2nd Bar + Kitchen, where we met Blake Roach, Emily Johnson, President Hoyt, and her husband John Hoyt.

Lunch_Group
It was an enjoyable time for everyone, and we were very impressed and honored that Mr. Hoyt and President Hoyt drove in to spend time with us.  It’s a reflection of the support we’ve received since we started this 140 day Austin odyssey.

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It was a great group outing, which we ended with a great group photo!

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With the fun over, we prepared for our professional photographs in the capitol building.   Of course, we couldn’t go to the Capitol without getting a photo alongside Elizabet Ney’s statue of Sam Houston…

Austin_Interns_SH_Rotunda

But that was just one of many of our stops.  We also stopped in the extension, looking up at the Capitol dome…

Austin_Interns_Extension_Sunroof

…outdoors…

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…in the House of Representatives’ chamber in front of the podium…

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…and individual shots of us, with Sam Houston looking over our shoulder.

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Indeed, these photographs with Sam Houston’s portrait on the wall serve as a kind of a metaphor for our time thus far.  We have lots of family, friends, and University officials looking out for us, and ensuring we have a great time and learn a whole lot–even while dealing with dangerous flying missions and firearms!

On behalf of all the Austin Interns, we’d like to thank Paul Olle for the great photographs, President Hoyt for this wonderful opportunity, SHSU for supporting its students, and the following legislative offices:

Representative Senfronia Thompson (Jessica Rodriguez)
Senator Charles Schwertner (Ariel Traub)
Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez (Lexi Gonzales)
Representative Ron Simmons (Sarah Landsman)
Representative Todd Hunter (Shelby O’Brien)
Representative John Otto (Sadie McLaughlin)
Representative Carol Alvarado (Oscar Aguilar)
Representative Will Metcalf (Lupe Cuellar)

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to news stories, having contributed more than 50 pieces in the past year. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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