Washington, D.C.

Meet the spring 2020 interns for our Washington, D.C. program!

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Krista Barentine
U.S. Department of the Interior

About Krista

Krista Barentine is a senior oceanography major with an earth science minor from Houston, Texas. When she is not in the classroom, studying, or working one of her part time jobs, she likes to go on hiking trips, beach clean ups, and work for CARPOOL, a student run safe ride program at Texas A&M. After studying paleoceanography as an undergraduate researcher at the International Ocean Discovery Program, she decided to pursue her interests in environmental policy, particularly, marine environments. She discovered an interest in bridging the gap between policy making, science, and the public while studying abroad in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where she learned a bit about marine biology, ecosystem management, and how environmentally driven economies influence local community dynamics. Krista enjoys practicing sustainable living and teaching those around here how they can also reduce their ecological footprint. She aims to translate her lifelong love of the environment into a professional setting, whether it be in the field or on Capitol Hill.

Charlotte Burke
Bayfirst Solutions, LLC

About Charlotte

Charlotte Burke, a senior from San Antonio, Texas, is majoring in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Psychology. In addition to her undergraduate coursework, she is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security through the Bush School of Government and Public Service. During her time at Texas A&M, Charlotte has had the privilege of serving as the operations chairman for her sorority’s philanthropy event serving Scotty’s House, a local child advocacy center, as well as holding multiple roles within the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. Through her role as an ambassador for the department, she has had the opportunity to meet and learn from people with vast interests and different intended applications of industrial engineering. From these interactions, she has developed and refined her interest in applying industrial engineering principles within the public sector, specifically in relation to homeland security. This spring, Charlotte will be interning with BayFirst Solutions, an IT and engineering firm specializing in national security and defense. She is eager to better her understanding of the relationship between technology, engineering principles, and the federal government in order to ensure the government can continue to best protect the public.
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Alexis Casiano
Texas A&M System Office of Federal Relations

About Alexis

Alexis Casiano is a junior sociology major from San Antonio, Texas. She is a first-generation college student pursuing classes with a pre-law emphasis and looks forward to graduating in December 2020. Throughout her time at Texas A&M University Alexis juggled working and going to school full time, however, her most important job was working as a General Assistant for a first-generation learning program. This job led her to becoming a mentor for first generation low-income college students, or the program “FOCUS”, where she facilitated classes and helped freshmen students get established in college. During her time in FOCUS, she saw the importance of these kinds of programs and strives to change the trajectory for disadvantaged students through education reform policy. Along with her passion for education, she also has interests in immigration and prison reform. After she finishes her time at Texas A&M, she hopes to either attend law school or obtain a masters in public policy. She is excited to intern under Texas A&M University System Office of Federal Relations in Washington D.C. spring 2020!<br />  

Fathima Castillo
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

About Fathima

Fathima Castillo is originally from Guatemala and moved to Garland, TX eight years ago. Fathima is currently a senior first-generation student and a Liberal Arts Cornerstone Honors student with a major in Political Science and a minor in Communication at Texas A&M University. Fathima is interested in furthering her knowledge of our national healthcare, education and immigration system. Since matriculation, Fathima has enjoyed learning how to best serve her community through political involvement. As a current intern at the Bryan/College Station district office of Congressman Bill Flores, Fathima has developed political awareness and learned how to provide administrative assistance to Congressman Flores's team and how to interact with constituents. Likewise, as a current intern in the  Hernandez Law firm PC, Fathima has learned to prepare exhibits, summarize depositions and analyze case-related work. On top of that, Fathima is also a research assistant for the Texas A&M Political Science Department. Currently, Fathima is writing her undergraduate senior thesis about changes in recent immigration policies. By working closely with a prominent faculty, Fathima has learned essential methods, skills, and tips on how to approach common challenges in research. Additionally, Fathima volunteers at her church's kids ministry, is a Breakaway volunteer, and serves as an Impact Counselor. Following graduation, Fathima plans to pursue a Juris Doctorate and later on a Masters in Public Policy in order to one day advocate and formulate policies that improve health outcomes and educational opportunities, especially among the Latino immigrant community residing in the United States.
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Blake Elliott
Family Research Council

About Blake

Blake Elliott is a senior who will be graduating in December of 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in political science. He is from Greenwood, Texas, which is a small community outside of Midland. Blake is interested in politics in general and policies involving human rights. He plans to attend law school and work to help end human trafficking. He developed his interest in human rights after a mission trip to Guatemala. During Blake’s time in Guatemala, he served at various homes that work to help victims of human trafficking, sexual assault, and human rights violations. He volunteers through Ronald McDonald House Charities at CHI-St. Joseph in Bryan that helps serve families with children in the hospital. He is also a member of the Texas A&M Pre-Law Society and enjoys watching and playing sports in his free time. Blake is excited to serve in the Government Affairs Office at the Family Research Council and gain knowledge and experience on how policies can improve people’s lives. 

Minaal Farrukh
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

About Minaal

Minaal Karrukh is a junior public health major from Flower Mound, TX, set to graduate in December of 2020. While at Texas A&M, Minaal joined two freshmen programs: A FLO called Freshmen Leadership International and a freshmen honors living learning program, Broad Street Society. As a member of the Broad Street Society, she developed her passion for global development issues. Through this program, she traveled to Vienna, Austria to learn about the history of public health issues in this city. She also wrote a policy essay about the Syrian refugee crisis. This opportunity first opened her eyes to working for global issues. Throughout her undergrad years, she has stayed involved with Texas A&M University through leadership positions in Muslim Student Association and other numerous research projects. Minaal chose Public Health as her major because when she traveled to Pakistan to visit her family, she witnessed poor sanitation and improper public health practices that contributed to the growing humanitarian crisis of people living in this country. She also noticed the unequal access to healthcare and education that had a detrimental effect on the health of the community. Seeing with her own eyes of the effect of lack of development there, it encouraged her to get more involved in fighting for positive public health changes around the world. She truly believes in the importance of globalization through exchange of culture and the value of experiencing the world. She has put this belief into practice through her study abroad experiences in Mexico and Taiwan, and through her aspiration for a career in global health. Her core belief is that access to health is the most fundamental right a human should have, and she aspires for her career to involve furthering this human right in any way she can.
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Cindy Figueroa
Environmental Protection Agency

About Cindy

Cindy Figueroa is a first-generation Aggie from Los Angeles, California, She graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a minor in Meteorology. She is interested in environmental policy, specifically, with issues surrounding water security, waste management, and emergency preparedness. She has worked at an environmental consulting company, Albion Environmental, for the past three years where she was able to learn about issues surrounding wastewater and the impact it has on our environment. For her capstone research project, she researched methods to improve water calculations from snowpack in Colorado, which showed her the importance of protecting one of our most vital natural resources. This past summer she was a Mickey Leland Environmental Program Intern with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality where she had the opportunity to help conduct environmental investigations with the Harlingen Region’s Air, Water, and Waste teams. This experience taught her the day-to-day application of environmental policy and confirmed that this was the field she was meant to pursue. Later in the summer, she volunteered with the non-profit Living Water to improve water accessibility in El Salvador. Her interests in environmental policy have led her to pursue an internship with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water. This internship will grant her the opportunity to influence water policy by studying water distribution networks and no-discharge zones through GIS and modeling methods. This opportunity will grant her a unique perspective that will help her succeed in the water policy realm as she aims pursue a master’s degree in water management.

Laycee Gibson
Office of Congressman Chip Roy

About Laycee

Laycee Gibson is a senior political science major minoring in leadership from the small town of Bandera, Texas. Being a first-generation college student and a first-generation Aggie, Laycee transitioned into college as a recipient of the Texas A&M University’s Regent’s Scholarship Initiative for first-generation college students. Through this program she was able to study abroad in Costa Rica and strengthen her interest in politics and government. Serving as a member and Peer Mentor of the twelth cohort of Texas A&M University’s Leadership Living Learning Community (L3C) inspired Laycee to pursue a minor in Leadership and continue on her path of strong leadership knowledge and experiences. Outside of her university studies and activities, Laycee has spent the last five years educating young Americans on the importance of leadership, economic principles, and patriotism by creating and presenting presentations and workshops all across Texas as a counselor for the Southwest Youth Leadership Conferences. In the future, Laycee aspires to pursue a career as a Constitutional Attorney and contributing member of society that will work towards making the United States a better place.
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Luke Henkhaus
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

About Luke

Luke Henkhaus is an economics senior with a journalism minor graduating in December of 2019. Luke serves as editor-in-chief of Texas A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, where he previously worked as managing editor and news editor. He has also interned for The Bryan-College Station Eagle. Born and raised in Brenham, Texas, Luke is a third-generation Aggie with a passion for hands-on learning. During his time at The Battalion, he developed a love of reporting and a strong interest in freedom of information laws. During the spring semester, he will be interning with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which provides representation and other legal resources for journalists. Looking ahead, Luke hopes to continue his career in journalism, uniting his interest in reporting and public policy with the data analysis skills he has picked up as an economics student. When he’s not working or studying, Luke enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with his cat, Lola.

Tyler Hinkle
Office of Congressman Marc Veasey

About Tyler

Tyler Hinkle is a first-generation student from Garland, Texas. He graduated with honors from Texas A&M in December of 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in sociology. During his time at Texas A&M, Tyler worked as a Student Ambassador for the Beto for Senate campaign helping to create the largest grassroots movement in Texas history. He also worked as a Field Manager for Grassroots Campaigns in Washington, D.C. to fundraise for non-profit progressive political organizations. Through his political activism, Tyler has found a passion for public service and is determined to dedicate his life to fighting for progressive ideals and social justice and equality for all people. Tyler is not only a first-generation student but is also a first-generation American, being the son of an immigrant from former East Germany. Growing up, Tyler always felt the need to give back to the country that allowed his mother to live in a free and democratic society, which is what has driven him to pursue a career in public service. Tyler aspires to one day run for office and believes that working in the Office of Congressman Marc Veasey on Capitol Hill will be a great introduction to the legislative process. Tyler is extremely excited to intern in Washington, D.C. during the spring of 2020, and hopes that this experience will be the first of many steps in a successful career of giving back to his community.
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Walter Johnson
Office of Congressman Michael McCaul

About Walter

Walter Johnson is from Dallas, Texas and is pursuing majors in finance and philosophy, and a minor in history.  His primary policy interest is foreign policy, and he is also greatly interested in the philosophy of law.  His involvement at Texas A&M includes participation in the University Honors program, serving as a peer leader for Business 101, and serving on a philanthropic advisory board as a student in the strategic philanthropy class.  He also studied abroad in Prague for a semester taking courses at the University of Economics, Prague in international finance and European history. He looks forward to experiencing life on Capitol Hill first-hand as an intern with the Office of Congressman Michael McCaul.

Jacey Jolly
Office of Congressman Kevin Brady

About Jacey

Jacey Jolly is from Montgomery, Texas and graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and a minor in communication. Jacey previously interned at Senator Cruz’s Houston District office during the summer of 2019, she also spent two years working as a student assistant for the Texas A&M Geography Department. During her time at Texas A&M, Jacey was involved in many organizations, she was member of Student Government’s Legislative Relations Commission for a year and a half, and served as a student representative on the Task Force for Campus Emergencies. She was admitted to the Phi Kappa Phi honor society in 2019 and she spent time competing with Moot Court. Jacey also had the opportunity to go on many educational trips with Texas A&M, that have helped cultivate her knowledge of political science and assisted her in planning for the future. She attended the Potomac Summer Institute in the summer of 2018, where she realized her absolute desire to return to Washington D.C. She also participated in the J. Wayne Stark Northeast Trip where she learned more about her future plans of applying to law school. This Spring, she will be interning for Congressman Kevin Brady, who is her hometown representative. Jacey is excited for the opportunity to grow her skills and advance her career, she is looking forward to serving both the Congressman and the state of Texas.
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Stephen Kocmoud
U.S. Department of Transportation

About Stephen

Stephen Kocmoud is a senior electronic systems engineering technology major who is graduating December of 2019. He was born and raised in College Station, Texas and has interests in music, engineering, photography, videography, and marketing. Through his time at Texas A&M University, he developed a love for diverse cultures by studying abroad in Egypt, interning abroad in Japan, and participating in a mission trip to Haiti. During his summer working for the Central Japan Railway Company, Stephen gained the passion and interest in providing safe, reliable, and fast transportation to the masses. Through his involvement with a student organization at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, he has helped increase awareness and research on new transportation technology and feasibility studies. Last May, he was honored to give testimony to the Texas Senate Transportation Committee in defense of new developments. He hopes to continue support through work in the transportation sector upon full-time employment. This spring, Stephen will be interning for the U.S. Department of Transportation where he will work for the Office of the Chief Counsel under the Office of Inspector General. By working in this office, he hopes to gain knowledge on how the political policy system supports transportation infrastructure investment as well as increase safety and continued improvements.

Avery Kostic
U.S. Department of Commerce

About Avery

Avery Kostic is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies with a focus in Politics and Diplomacy and a minor in Arabic Studies. Avery comes a military family and moved around the country and around the world growing up, but she claims Stuttgart, Germany as her hometown. Avery is currently a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, and proud to be apart of Squadron 23. In Squadron 23 she serves as the Public Relations and Inspector General Officer along with being the outfit’s Chaplin. In addition to the Corps, she is actively involved in the Student Conference on National Affairs in which she has served as both a delegate and on the general committee. She just completed a 10-week study abroad in Rabat, Morocco, where she had the opportunity to explore her passion for language and culture through her host family and Moroccan friends. This is Avery’s first internship and she is excited to get to D.C. and join the team in the Office of the Deputy Director of U.S.&Foreign Commercial Services in the U.S. Commerce Department. She views this as an opportunity to explore her interests on a federal and international level and is ready to help American businesses grow and develop.
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Madison McKinney
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

About Madison

Madison McKinney is a senior public health major from Glen Rose, Texas and a first-generation college student. During her time at Texas A&M, Madison has held multiple leadership positions in various student led organizations such as Gamma Phi Beta sorority, Order of Omega Honor Society, and the Aggie Network Student Ambassador Program. Madison has spent a good portion of her time at Texas A&M as a student assistant for the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Madison is passionate about helping others and working towards the greater good. Madison is eager to be an intern with the Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Management during her spring 2020 semester in Washington D.C. She is excited to learn about managed care organizations, the regulatory process, and everything else she will be exposed to at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. After her graduation in December, Madison plans on attaining her Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy and Management. She hopes to work on health care policy reform and cost-effectiveness of medical services.

Curry Price
Office of Congressman Mac Thornberry

About Curry

Curry Price is a junior political science major; he will be graduating from Texas A&M in May 2021. Curry is originally from Amarillo, Texas. During his time at A&M, Curry has been involved in several student organizations. He is a member of the Epsilon Delta Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and served on staff with the Big Event, which is the largest one-day student-run service project in the nation. In his role with the Big Event, Curry was a part of the development committee and worked to unite students and residents in the community through various service projects. Through his student involvement, Curry gained a passion for public service and working with others. He has previous experience working as a bank teller, and as a student assistant at Evans Library at Texas A&M. Following graduation, he hopes to attend law school or get his master's degree in Public Service & Administration with an emphasis on non-profit management. This spring, Curry will be working in the office of Congressman Mac Thornberry, representative of Texas' 13th Congressional district. He is excited about the opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C. He is eager to learn about the legislative process, public policy, and to interact with constituents from his home district. Curry believes the opportunities that Washington D.C. provides, in partnership with his past experiences, make this internship an invaluable facet of his future goals to serve others in law or public policy.
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Madeline Tweden
U.S. Department of Commerce

About Madeline

Madeline Tweden graduated in December 2019 from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and minor in business. During her time at A&M, Madeline served for two years on the Honor Council, upholding the A&M Honor Code and teaching the values of responsibility and duty. She also took part in the College of Liberal Arts’ freshman organization, FLARE, to promote leadership and student involvement within the College. Her love for travel pushed her beyond the city limits of College Station, and she spent a year studying economics abroad in the Netherlands at Erasmus University. Through her involvement there with international student organizations as well as her globally focused courses, she discovered her interest in international trade and relations. To build upon this interest and hone the variety of skills gained both at home and abroad, Madeline will be interning in the Office of the Deputy Director General for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. Upon completion of her internship, Madeline plans to return to Texas A&M to pursue a Master of International Affairs.

Deidre Worth
House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology

About Deidre

Deidre Worth is a member of Texas A&M’s class of 2019, majoring in environmental studies with a minor in economics. She was awarded the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Scholarship in 2018 and is a 2019 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Senior Merit Award recipient. In addition to her studies, she works as a Peer Mentor in the Transfer Student Mentor Program supporting new transfer students in their adjustment to Texas A&M. As a Marketing Chair for the Aggie Green Fund Committee, Deidre implemented an outreach strategy and evaluated grant applicants for sustainable, on-campus projects. She is fascinated by the legislative process, particularly how science informs policy. She is interested in environmental policy and is excited to start her career. Deidre will be interning for the Committee on Space, Science, and Technology in the spring of 2020.
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Samuel Yang
National Academy of Public Administration

About Samuel

Samuel Yang is a junior from Houston, TX at Texas A&M  studying political science. He is interested in combating racial and socioeconomic inequality. Before his time at A&M Samuel was able teach many young high schoolers how to debate as the Vice President of his debate club, while also working with other debate students to achieve second at State in Quizbowl. Furthermore, he has also been a part of the Memorial Hermann Hospital Volunteering program where he assisted in a variety of tasks , such as creating emergency medical kits to assist the patients. He has also held summer jobs as an instructor for Spidersmart Learning Center where he taught quiz bowl, along with, teaching debate at the Spring branch Debate Camp. Once Samuel entered college, he joined the Texas A&M debate club and Texas A&M Model UN club where he recently competed in Public Forum and the Georgia Tech conference.  He is excited to intern at Washington D.C this spring with the National Academy of Public Administration as it would allow him to pursue his passion on combating inequality, while also applying the skills he has learned from the past.