by Suzanne Pritzker, Associate Professor and director of the Austin Legislative Internship Program
Yesterday, the Texas Legislature kicked off its 86th Regular Session, and 13 University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) students were there, at the Texas Capitol, ready to kick off their immersive legislative internships as part of the GCSW’s Austin Legislative Internship Program. These students will immerse themselves in the policy and politics of the legislature, working full-time (often around-the-clock!) for the entire 5-month legislative session.
The 2019 cohort of graduate social work legislative interns – individual bios and photos are posted here – are an outstanding group of MSW students, representing both our Clinical and Macro concentrations. As director of this program, I have had the pleasure of getting to know each intern well, through the competitive selection process and then through the many days we have spent together in orientation and pre-session coursework. I am truly excited by the passion and commitment each intern brings to learning the ins and outs of the legislature and to jumping full speed into this opportunity to develop critical skills and knowledge that they will use throughout their social work careers to effectively impact policy in support of marginalized and vulnerable populations.
GCSW’s interns will experience the legislature and contribute to state policymaking in a variety of different placements: as policy analysts with the Texas Legislative Study Group chaired by Rep. Garnet Coleman, as legislative staff in the offices of Rep. Jessica Farrarand Rep. Sarah Davis, as staff in the University of Houston Office of Governmental Relations, and potentially in a committee office (TBD, after the newly-elected Speaker of the House makes committee assignments).
Over the course of Texas’ 86thLegislative Session (January-May, 2019), each intern will be sharing their unique experiences on this blog. We hope that you will check in for our weekly (and sometimes even more frequent!) intern posts about their unique experiences, insights into the legislative process, observations about legislation of interest to the social work profession, and tips for how social workers can become involved in policy-making.
I encourage you to comment on our blog posts and to engage in conversation with our interns about their posts. Feel free to also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments about the GCSW Austin Legislative Internship Program or our students’ experiences.