In conjunction with attending the Texas Tribune Festival (TTF), we were able to kill two birds with one stone and have our first interviews with a few offices, while also gearing up to participate in the TTF!
Between Jessica, Yvette, Ashlyn, and myself, we had a total of 11 interviews in the span of just a few hours. We have all previously been to the Texas Capitol before, but we all agreed that this time felt different. Our group was one of excitement, nerves, and ambition.
We were prepared for the standard interview questions but thanks to a quick crash course from former LEAP Student and now Chief of Staff, Annie Jamarik, we had a slight leg up for questions outside of the norm. Just 15 minutes before the first interviews we took to the halls of the Texas Capitol in an Amazing Race-like fashion.
We all had wonderful meetings with 4 different Chiefs-of-Staff and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences. Some interviews proceeded more like a Q&A whereas others were more conversational. In one of my interviews, I was even able to explain some local Huntsville news!
The interview experience was made all the better by former LEAP students who stopped by to catch up and offer encouraging words. Ashlyn and I got to meet Blake Roach who now works for the Governor as a Manager in the Appointments Division. We all met Christina Perez-Gonzalez who works for AECT (Association of Electric Companies of Texas) and Emily Johnson who is a Review Director at the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission.
On behalf of those of us that interviewed this past week, thank you to the former LEAP students for taking the time to meet with us and share your experiences. To the offices that interviewed us, we are grateful for the opportunities to interview with you, your dedication to serving the state is a fantastic example that we wish to follow.
Follow-Up Capitol Meetings
Following our interviews with various legislative offices, we returned to the Capitol, where we met with the Chief of Staff for Senator Bryan Hughes, Cody Terry. (Senator Hughes represents the Tyler area, where Morgan is from!) During our time with Mr. Terry, we got a surprise visit from Senator Charles Schwertner’s former Chief of Staff, Tom Holloway. We were also lucky enough to meet Caroline Harris, who, after winning the primary (congratulations!), is running for a State Representative position in November’s election.
Between welcome and insightful interruptions, Mr. Terry shared a few words of wisdom regarding internships applicable to any office. He advised us to find something we are interested in and to run with it.
We also met with Scott Jenkines, Chief of Staff for Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez who represents the Valley (District 39). Mr. Jenkines gave us a more technical overview of the inner workings of the Texas House.
From both chiefs we learned about how different offices and committees work, and what members look for and expect from interns. We were grateful to have been able to sneak some questions in, and we are very thankful for the opportunity to have met with them and learn more about the Legislative session.
A Taste of Ethiopia
While in Austin, we wanted to get a taste of something different, and that mission was accomplished when we took our first bite from “A Taste of Ethiopia.”
For appetizers, we had sambusas, tomato salad, and minchet abish, and we loved them! The sambusas and the minchet abish were our favorites.
For entrees, we ate family style, which is the Ethiopian tradition. We tried a bit of everything, including lamb, goat, chicken, and beef. The favorites were probably based on our tolerance for spices, but Doro Wat (the national dish of Ethiopia) was universally enjoyed.
We also had desserts, including chocolate cake and baklava.
It was a hearty meal and a rewarding new experience, befitting a day full of rewards and new experiences.