A New Legislative Session: A New Day for SHSU Students

A group of a dozen SHSU interns spent the day in Austin in preparation for their internships.  The students, 10 of whom will be stationed in Austin and two of whom will be in DC, posed for professional photos, explored international food, and enjoyed the rush of simulated skydiving.


The morning temperatures hovered in the mid-20s for much of the photo-shoot.  Although this didn’t stop the photo-shoot, it did lead to much self-pity.


Nonetheless, much progress was made, with Paul Olle in charge of photographs (His photographs, which are much better than those here, will be posted later).


The students were in the pleasant situation of knowing their way around the capitol, and all areas were explored and photographed, from the Rotunda (above), to the outdoor rotunda…


…the statue of Sam Houston at the south entrance…


…to the Senate floor…


…to the capitol steps…



For lunch, the students opted for Serbian fare offered at the wonderful Balkans Cafe and Grill.  The staff at the restaurant are professional, and the food is great.

More important, lunch was a chance for former Austin interns to join the current Austin interns for lunch and networking.  Of the eight SHSU students who interned at the Capittol building last session, five have been hired full-time for this session, and many of them joined this year’s group.  It was also a great and rare opportunity for Professor Yawn to enjoy the company of multiple cohorts of students simultaneously.


Of course, the most fun activity of the day was at iFLY, where students had the chance to “skydive” without any real chance of dying.  Some took to it quicker than others (Spencer Copeland was an expert), but all did well.

Karla Rosales Enjoying iFLY
Karla Rosales Enjoying iFLY

All of the students ended up signing on for the “High  Fly,” which is when the instructor flies with the student flyer 20-30 feet into the tunnel.  It is the most exciting part of the flight and also, interestingly, the easiest.  The instructor does all the work!


Concluding Thoughts

Of course, the real exhilaration will be the students’ experiences in Austin and Washington, DC this semester.  Full of long days, interesting sites, and, we hope, bright futures.


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.

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


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.


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.


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


But, mostly, it was about the cupcakes.


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.

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!


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…


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




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


…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)