Austin, Texas

Meet the spring 2017 Austin PPIP interns!

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Sarabeth Beauchamp
Office of State Senator Charles Schwertner

About Sarabeth

Sarabeth Beauchamp is a recent graduate of Texas A&M where she majored in Communication with a minor in English and Spanish. She plans to attend law school in the fall of 2017. She is excited about PPIP in Austin because she believes it will give her the opportunity to make an impact on Texas’ future while developing her as a young professional. She hopes to learn as much as she can during her time in Austin, serve her hosting office well, and to survey all the best queso spots while she’s there. Sarabeth is passionate about the issue of human trafficking. She interned with Free The Captives in Houston working to restore the lives of teenaged victims of sex trafficking. Sarabeth loves being involved in church. Her love for Jesus is what motivates her to pursue excellence in everything, including helping the hurting and poor in spirit.

Gregory Cline
Office of State Senator Don Huffines

About Gregory

Gregory Cline is a senior political science major with a minor in history. He is from Carrollton, Texas. Gregory originally studied at Texas A&M University at Galveston for two years before moving to the College Station main campus. Gregory has been an active member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity during his time at Texas A&M. He has previously served as an intern for the Texas Department of Transportation in McKinney, Texas for three summers and Congressman Michael Burgess’ district office in Lake Dallas, Texas for one summer. This spring, Gregory will be working for Senator Don Huffines’ office in the State Capitol. He is excited for the opportunity to work in Austin for the 85th Texas Legislative Session and to help the constituents of Senator Huffines’ district.
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Intern Photo

Samantha Durand
Office of State Representative Greg Bonnen

About Samantha

Samantha Durand is in her senior year at Texas A&M University currently studying Political Science; PreLaw with a focus in Spanish Language Studies. Samantha began her academic career at the University of Alabama; Huntsville where she spent a year playing competitive Division II soccer before transferring to Texas A&M to focus on her track to Law School. Samantha has spent her professional career to date interning at Shannon Flanigan Law serving as a Legal Assistant and working as a Records Tech at the Texas A&M Small Animal Hospital. She spends her free time running with her American Staffordshire Terrier, Mr. Rodgers, and volunteering with the Texas A&M Habitat for Humanity.

Alexandra Espinosa
Office of State Representative Lance Gooden

About Alexandra

Alexandra Espinosa is a senior technology management major with minors in business administration and cyber security. She grew up in San Antonio, Texas and is a second-generation Aggie that will be graduating in the spring of 2017. In her time at Texas A&M she has participated in women’s organizations that help the development of strong women leaders and unite business women though professional development, and communal service. She was recently selected as one of four students in her major to participate in the Texas A&M Technology Summit. In her position at the Technology Summit she assisted presenters and attendees with IT related issues. Additionally, she spent a year working for the Texas A&M Foundation as a student technician where she had the opportunity to support a nonprofit organization that is the primary academic fundraising institution for Texas A&M University. Alexandra is looking forward to working for the Office of Representative Lance Gooden during the 86th legislative session as well as being a part of the policy making process. Following the completion of her internship, she plans to move to Fort Worth, Texas to work as a Systems Analyst at Textron Aviation and aspires to pursue a Masters in Business Administration.
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Intern Photo

Julia Hamilton
Office of State Representative Craig Goldman

About Julia

Julia Hamilton of Austin, Texas is a senior business management major, with minors in communication and philosophy at Texas A&M University. Throughout her time in college, Julia has been involved in Fish Camp, an orientation program that welcomes the freshman class to Texas A&M each year. She has is also an active member of her business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, in which she holds an executive position as the Vice President of Publicity. During her junior and senior years, she has also maintained two part time jobs, one as a student brand ambassador for the Kaplan test prep company, and another as a student worker in the admissions division of A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service. After her internship, Julia plans to graduate in December of 2017 and begin working towards her law degree the following fall. She hopes this internship will teach her more about the processes and procedures of the Texas government.

Dominique Hawkins
Office of State Representative Jim Murphy

About Dominique

Dominique Hawkins graduated in December 2016 with a political science degree, as well as minors in English and sociology. She is from Houston, Texas. Dominique was a part of various organizations on campus including: Sigma Alpha Lambda, Pre-Law Society, and NAACP. Dominique is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Feeling that there needed to be an organization that catered specifically to women of color, she created Mosaic Flowers in spring 2014. Mosaic Flowers strives to empower and educate young women through activities for the purposes of developing their sense of confidence, and in so doing fortifying a foundation of excellence that impacts every aspect of their lives. In addition to extracurricular activities on campus; Dominique studied European politics abroad in the Danube Summer Institute where she traveled to Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Czech Republic. When she studied abroad is when her interests of policy making began to grow. She has also had the privilege to intern under the Honorable Judge Edward Spillane in College Station, Texas. During her undergraduate career she developed her passion of advocacy for equal access to education. Her long term goal is to strengthen public schools by ensuring students receive equal access to quality education. She plans on continuing her education by attending law school in fall 2017. This spring, she will intern for Representative Jim Murphy. Dominique is looking forward to learning more about the logistics of public policy while she develops skills that she can apply to her future career of being an attorney.
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Intern Photo

Christopher Johnson
Office of State Senator Dawn Buckingham

About Christopher

A native of Bryan, Texas, Chris Johnson graduated in December of 2016 with a degree in international studies and a minor in French language.  His time at Texas A&M has allowed him to study in places all over the world, notably including Paris, France and Hong Kong, China.  Living and learning abroad instilled in him a passion for global politics and cultures, as well as provided him with a wider lense with which to view the domestic policies of the United States. Outside of the classroom, Chris has spent the majority of his time working at various local establishments, often simultaneously.  Additionally, he frequently plays in a band catering to various children’s camps and events, and was involved with club activities on campus such as the Texas A&M Vegetarian Vegan Alliance, which participates in charitable works for the Aggieland Humane Society and Brazos Animal Shelter.  Chris’ long term goal is to manage political campaigns, and he believes that in order to do that job effectively it is imperative that he learn as much as possible about the realities of the legislative process.  To that end, he is extremely excited to have the honor of representing Texas A&M University by helping Senator Buckingham achieve legislative success this spring.

Michael Marucci
Office of State Representative John Smithee

About Michael

Michael Marucci of Kingwood, Texas, graduated with a B.A. in history and a minor in geography in December of 2016. During his tenure at Texas A&M, he was heavily involved with Texas A&M Athletics as the manager for the Texas A&M Men’s Swimming and Diving Team. As the swim team’s manager, he grew as a leader as well as an individual and learned numerous valuable life lessons that he will carry on in his future endeavors, as well as for the rest of his life. Michael also embraced the opportunity to partake in a summer study abroad in Florence, Italy. There, he was immersed into a different culture and environment that broadened his worldview, in which he concluded the tremendous importance of diversity. In pursuing his own higher education, Michael has grown to cherish the significance and value of education, which fostered his aspiration to become an educator. Michael is very excited to be an intern for the office of Texas State Representative John Smithee in Austin, Texas this Spring. After the completion of this internship, Michael will be following his passion for education as he will pursue his Masters of Education here at Texas A&M.
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Intern Photo

Kenneth McIntyre
Texas A&M Engineering Government Relations

About Kenneth

Kenneth McIntyre is a Senior Industrial & Systems Engineering major from Fort Worth, Texas. Since arriving at Texas A&M, he has been involved within Memorial Student Center Freshmen in Service and Hosting (MSC FISH) and The Century Men’s Society. He has also volunteered and worked throughout college for the Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance. He has done so pursuing his passion for sports, media, and people by creating radio and online media content to spread knowledge on important topics in sports medicine to the public. This employment has also contributed to his desire to attend Medical School in the future, providing an outlet to the broad research and application interests of the Institute’s affiliates. He is thrilled to work for the Texas A&M Office of Government Relations for Engineering in Austin, Texas for the spring semester. Kenneth hopes to work in public policy in healthcare or education for a number of years before attending medical school in the State of Texas, in hopes of becoming a practicing physician or professor.

Devin Miranda Pallares
Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr.

About Devin

Devin Miranda graduated in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. During her time at Texas A&M, she immersed herself into student activities and volunteering in the BCS community. Her activities included a three-year involvement in Fish Camp, where she served two years as a counselor, and her last as a co-chair. She was involved in the service committee of her sophomore organization, S.A.I.L, where she aided in community service projects for the group. Growing up in El Paso, Texas, inequity and poor neighborhoods were a prominent dynamic, and being a full time student and worker has developed an interest in Texas funding for K-12 and college funding. This session, Devin will be interning with Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. Her aspirations are to become a lobbyist and contribute to policy advisory, and one day return to El Paso to serve her hometown. She looks forward to professional growth and learning about the legislative process in Texas.
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Intern Photo

Matthew Murdoch
Office of State Senator Bryan Hughes

About Matthew

MiaMarie Pugh
Office of State Representative John Smithee

About MiaMarie

MiaMarie Pugh is a senior Environmental Studies major at Texas A&M University, who plans to graduate in May 2018. She grew up in Laredo, TX and is a second generation Aggie. During her time at Texas A&M, she has been involved in various environmental organizations such as the Environmental Issues Committee, Environmental Programs Involvement Committee, and the National Association of Environmental Professionals. Additionally, she has been involved in the Pre-Law Society and the Aggie Network Student Ambassadors, an organization that is supported by The Association of Former Students. She currently holds the position of Vice President of Campus Outreach for the Aggie Network Student Ambassadors. During the past two summer breaks, she has the privilege to participate in the Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, a state agency, in her hometown of Laredo. Upon graduation, it her ambition to pursue a law degree, to one day practice law with a special focus on animal and environmental law.
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Jena Seidemann
Office of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

About Jena

Jena Seidemann, from Coppell, Texas, is an international studies major at Texas A&M University. In addition to an interest in learning about new cultures and languages, she is an avid traveler. This past summer while she backpacked Europe for two months, Jena spent five weeks in Toledo, Spain for a study abroad language immersion. She one day hopes to be fluent in Spanish. During her spare time, she writes for the student run newspaper at A&M, The Battalion. She is also an active member in CARPOOL, an organization which provides free safe rides to people in the Bryan-College Station area in the hopes of reducing drinking and driving rates. This spring, she is thrilled to work with the Office of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and, although she is passionate about many things, Jena hopes to impact policy by working on adoption law reform to improve the lives of children within Texas. In the future, she hopes to pursue her Master’s degree in business and work in an embassy.

Stephen Shuchart
Office of State Senator Robert Nichols

About Stephen

Stephen F. Shuchart is a junior at Texas A&M University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in communication, focusing on strategic communications, with a minor in economics. He is originally from Houston, Texas. Stephen is involved on campus in the Student Government Association as an Associate Justice on the Judicial Court. He is also a member of the Singing Cadets and of the men’s organization, Gents of Texas A&M. Last summer, Stephen had the opportunity to intern in Congressman Bill Flores’ College Station office and work for the Texas A&M University Public Policy Research Institute. These experiences spurred him into applying for the Public Policy Internship Program due to his interest in affecting local policy. He has an interest in pursuing law school after graduation and hopes that this internship will give him the tools and perspective to influence local policy issues when he becomes a lawyer.
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Intern Photo

Valentina Tovar
Office of Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar

About Valentina

Valentina Tovar is a sophomore political science major from Austin, Texas who plans to graduate in the spring of 2019. During her time at Texas A&M, Valentina has been involved in Gig The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative which helps provide Aggies a voice in politics by registering them to vote and giving them direct access to candidates. She is also a member of the Legislative Relations Committee in the Student Government Association, which focuses on advocating for major issues on campus to local elected members in downtown Austin. Valentina also finds it important to empower women her own age and is therefore a YoungLife leader where she mentors teen moms from the Brazos Valley. She is incredibly passionate about equity and equality in education and is excited to obtain experience and a greater insight to the day to day basis of the legislative process by interning in the spring of 2017 at the State Comptroller’s office in Austin.

Taryn Woody
Office of State Senator Jane Nelson

About Taryn

Taryn Woody is a sophomore honors student majoring in political science and pursuing a minor in journalism. After graduating from Rockwall High school, Taryn became a member of the class of 2019. Since her freshman year, Taryn has been a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, an organization that gives her the opportunity to work hand in hand with Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Taryn is passionate about government and hopes to one day run for public office or work as a staff member of an elected official. Taryn’s main interest include the effects of media on political processes, women’s issues, and human rights. Through her past years, Taryn has visited Ghana, South Africa and Dubai, broadening her understand of culture and its relation to international politics. She will be interning with the Office of State Senator Jane Nelson. Taryn is especially excited to spend time working under Jane Nelson, as she is an inspiration to not only herself, but girls across the country. Taryn hopes to gain experience and further understanding of the daily life of an elected official.
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Intern Photo

Cassidy Zgabay
Office of State Representative Dwayne Bohac

About Cassidy

Cassidy Zgabay is a senior political science major with a history minor from New Braunfels, Texas. She has worked on campus for over three years as a student technician for Texas A&M’s Instructional Media Services, which has provided helpful experience in an office workplace environment. Additionally, she had the recent privilege to experience her love of history firsthand while studying abroad in Europe with Texas A&M’s Summer European Academy. She hopes to one day utilize her passion for politics, news, culture, and history in her future endeavors. More personally, she continues to rely on her faith while prioritizing her objectives and has enjoyed being a parishioner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and participating in FOCUS’s Student Leadership Summit this past January. Next spring, she very much hopes to grow both personally and professionally and is ecstatic for the opportunity to accomplish this in Austin during her final semester as an undergraduate. While awaiting graduation in May 2017, Cassidy hopes to make her internship in Austin a valuable learning experience with Texas policymaking and recognize its unique opportunity to help discern a career in public policy.