Although my time at the Capitol has been short and passed too quickly, my experience has been extremely enriching thus far. On the fourth day of my week long internship, I walked into the Capitol eager to gain as many new experiences as possible.
On top of seeing whatever I could of Austin…
…I spent the first half of the work-week working in Senator Lois Kolkhorst’s office. Senator Kolkhorst’s office represents Senate District 18, however she used to represent Huntsville. Senator Kolkhorst’s office was very welcoming and willing to teach me some of the tasks required by interns. I spent time answering the phone, talking with concerned constituents, and researching for the Policy Advisor and General Counsel. This research allowed me to learn more about policy issues I was previously unfamiliar with. Additionally, I helped prepare for the Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting that was to take place later in the week by compiling a binder for Senator Kolkhorst, who is the vice chair of the committee. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work in such a great Senate office!
Today (Thursday), I worked in Senator Charles Schwertner’s office. When he isn’t at the Capitol during Session, Senator Schwertner works as an orthopedic surgeon. He represents Senate District 5, which ranges from Georgetown to Bryan to Huntsville and, of course, SHSU. Ariel Traub, former LEAP President, former Austin Intern for Senator Schwertner’s office, and currently a District Representative for Senator Schwertner, trained me as an intern for the week.
Senator Schwertner is the Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. Today was an exciting day for our office because the Health Committee met to hear testimony regarding potential issues to be addressed in the 85th Legislative Session.
Ariel and I walked over to the Senate floor to observe the Committee meeting. Karla met us there and we were even allowed to sit on the Senate Floor like real staffers!
We listened to the beginning procedures and the first testimony before heading back to the office. Although we did not stay for the entire committee hearing (it lasted over 7 hours!), I still learned about the actions, responsibilities, and procedures of Senate Committees. I spent my afternoon learning bill analysis, constituent correspondence, and the Correspondence Management System (CMS), all of which are extremely important to a Senate office. Thankfully, I had a wonderful team to help explain the many intricacies of the office. At the end of the day, I was thankful to have spent time in Senator Schwertner’s office and was already looking forward to the next day!
Just because our work day was finished, that didn’t mean our entire day was over!
We took time today to take formal pictures to capture our experience of the mini-internship…
…visited the Blanton Museum of Art, enjoyed a delicious dinner at Kerby Lane Café, and finished the evening at Paramount Theatre watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!
The Blanton Museum of Art housed many beautiful art pieces in a variety of mediums. We were fortunate to arrive during a special exhibit of Francisco de Goya’s (1746-1828).
Addressing issues of abuses of power and war…
…Goya’s work also expressed his belief in principles of progress, liberty, and tolerance during the Enlightenment.
After enjoying the Goya exhibit, we transitioned upstairs where two pieces of Luis Jimenez were beautifully displayed. Both of his sculptures are made out of fiberglass and painted with automotive paint to give each piece a glossy shine. I respected his artwork because they depict the American West through a different perspective than a traditional painting or sculpture would.
Also catching our eyes was the artwork of Cildo Meireles, Missao/Missoes (How to Build Cathedrals), which consisted of 2,000 bones and 600,000 pennies (all from the year 2005).
There was also the work “Book from the Sky”, by Xu Bing, which featured some 4,000 invented characters to resemble the Chinese language in the form of printed documents on walls, floors, and, of course, from the sky.
On a smaller scale, we also enjoyed works by Andy Warhol…
…and David Sequeiros…
After enjoying the many works of art, we departed to Kerby Lane Café for dinner before our movie!
A short drive later, we arrived at Kerby Lane Café, just off the edge of UT’s Campus. I was excited to try Kerby Lane Café because I kept hearing great reviews. Kerby Lane did not disappoint! Known for so many excellent dishes, it was hard to pick one! I ate the Portobello omelet with home fries and fruit with warm apple pie for dessert. It was a delicious meal and just what we needed after a busy day at the Capitol! This was our favorite meal of the week thus far!
More than a century old, Paramount Theatre’s beauty stands out on Congress Ave at night. As part of their Summer Classic Film Series, Paramount Theatre presented Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Paul Newman and Robert Redford starred in the classic Western movie. The movie is a classic for many reasons, some more obvious than others. For example, Professor Yawn explained that the movie was one of the first to incorporate a musical montage scene! Following the journey of western outlaws, the movie provided many laughs and was enjoyed by the LEAP Ambassadors!
Upon conclusion of the film, we got a view of the upstairs of the theater. It was beautiful!
But as the clock neared midnight, it was time to head back to the hotel to prepare for the final day of our mini-internship. Many thanks to Senator Kolkhorst and staff, Senator Schwertner and staff, the LEAP Center, and Professor Yawn for planning a week full of experiential learning!