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!


LEAP Ambassadors Gain Insight As They Embark on Professional Journey

The unoccupied parking lots and placid hallways of Sam Houston State University connote that winter break has come for the majority of its students and faculty. After tirelessly battling the busy semester, most Bearkats fled for their the month-long escape from school to enjoy time back at their hometowns and until the next semester arrives. However, this was not the case for LEAP Ambassadors, who eagerly stayed on campus for the opportunity for professional development.  The development came from Ms. Julie Schwab, Assistant to the Provost, who discussed how to represent yourself and your organization while at work.

Julie Schwab, SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors

Ms. Schwab has a strong reputation, particularly in the areas of multi-tasking, communicating division goals, troubleshooting, and organizational skills.  With her wide-ranging experience in administration, it was fitting for the LEAP Ambassadors to hear tips and guidance from her as most of them will be using similar skills (albeit at a much lower level) as legislative interns in Austin.

In the meeting, Mrs. Schwab discussed tips on various topics including dealing with intra-organizational politics, handling peer/staff/supervisor pressures, representing the organization at meetings, being assertive and deferential when appropriate, and maintaining appropriate behavior in any workplace situation. She also made sure to keep the students engaged by asking them to share predicaments that they’ve had at work or at an internship that they were not sure how to approach, and gave counsel based on that.

Here are some of the most notable advice and reminders that she shared with the LEAP Ambassadors:

  • Work Ethic: Your work should speak for yourself. Whether you are diligent or idle, the fruits (or lack thereof) of your labor will show what kind of employee/intern you are.
  • Attitude: Always remember that you are representing something or someone. Be professional. Be personable. Don’t give people room to assume what type of person you are.
  • Body Language: Be mindful of people’s non-verbal communication. Be purposeful of your non-verbal communication.
  • Humility: Always be appreciative of people who have helped you. If they know you were grateful for their assistance, they will be more willing to do it again for you next time–besides, and most importantly, it’s the right thing to do.
  • Task-Management: Know your priorities. Be organized. And learn how to shift gears instantly and appropriately.
  • Confidence: When you have made the effort to make the process right, be confident in knowing that you are right. In doing so, people are more likely to listen and believe the words you give them.

Julie Schwab, SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors

With these tips in mind, the LEAP Ambassadors left encouraged, grateful, and more prepared as they head on after the break to their respective internships and responsibilities, hoping to apply all that what they have learned from Mrs. Schwab’s visit.

The LEAP Center would like to thank Mrs. Schwab and the Provost’s Office for taking the time to visit and share these lessons with the students!  We are genuinely appreciative that we attend a University that receives assistance from staff, faculty, and administrative offices.