Washington, D.C.

Meet the fall 2018 PPIP interns!

Intern Photo

Spencer Brown
U.S. Department of Transportation

About Spencer

S. Spencer Brown is a senior supply chain management major from Waco, Texas. In his time at Texas A&M, Spencer has served in leadership and general roles in a number of student organizations, including the Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP), MSC SCONA, the J. Wayne Stark Northeast Tour, Aggie Supply Chain Professionals, Texas A&M Pre-Law Society, Carpool, and Freshman Leaders Advancing in Service and Honor (FLASH). In addition, Spencer has served as an academic tutor at the Nye Academic Center for Student-Athletes, specializing in business law, supply chain management, statistics, finance, and accounting. Spencer has had a broad range of experiences through which he has developed business and professional skills. In his role as an undergraduate tutor, Spencer honed skills in client counseling, problem solving, and verbal communication. Spencer refined his abilities as a leader and mentor to his peers while serving as the Campus Relations Mentor in FLASH. During the summer of 2018, Spencer served as a legal and financial analyst at Safe Harbor Marinas, where he assembled due-diligence materials to facilitate an investment from Koch Real Estate Investments. After completing his bachelor’s degree in May 2019, Spencer plans to complete his Juris Doctor in 2022, specializing in corporate and appellate law. Through this ambition, he hopes to combine his longstanding fascination of American history and commerce – by writing history in the form of a winning, precedent-setting appellate argument.

Elyssa Buntzel
Peace Corps

About Elyssa

Elyssa Buntzel is a junior majoring in management information systems with a certificate in international business. She is a student coordinator with Texas A&M Division of Information Technology Help Desk Central. During her time with the Help Desk, she has developed a new hire training program and led informational programs at New Student Conferences. Elyssa spent a month studying abroad in 2017 throughout nine western European countries and gained a cultural perspective of business that will hopefully prove useful in her future. In her free time, Elyssa finds value in volunteer and advocacy work. With corporate social responsibility in mind, Elyssa hopes to pursue a career with influence on international development, education, and empowerment. Elyssa looks forward to interning with Peace Corps Headquarters in the Office of Gifts and Grants Management and hopes to gain experience through the Peace Corps Partnership Program and Peace Corps Grants Online.
Intern Photo

Intern Photo

Grant Cook
U.S. Department of Commerce

About Grant

Grant Cook is a loud and proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2018 from Houston, Texas, majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering and is a Texas A&M Brown Scholar. During his time at Texas A&M Grant has been involved with several MSC committees; most recently MSC Bethancourt, an organization that puts on programs for the student body focusing on leadership and professional development. This past year Grant served as MSC Bethancourt’s Director of Programs. Additionally, Grant has been heavily involved with the Century Men’s Society, a men’s organization with a heavy emphasis on community service. Through Century Men’s Society Grant has tutored weekly at College Station High School. Previously Grant has spent his summer working at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and studying abroad in China. The trip to China opened Grant’s eyes to a whole new world of international relations and global trade, and it was the passion sparked on this trip that led Grant to pursue a position at the Department of Commerce. Grant is extremely excited about this opportunity and is looking forward to learning as much as possible about public policy and international trade.

Erin Diehl
Global Cold Chain Alliance

About Erin

Erin Diehl is from Austin, TX and graduated in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies focusing on environmental studies and Spanish. Erin is interested in human-environment relations, water governance, and international climate change policy. She was involved in a student organization called Aggies for Charity: Water where she raised awareness for water resource issues and fundraised for the non-profit organization, Charity: Water<em>, </em>which works on water projects that provide people with clean water. Taking environmental studies classes at A&M sparked her interest in environmental issues, such as water resource crises. This has led her to pursue a career that centers on conserving, protecting, and resorting the environment to secure human health and well-being. She is thankful for the opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C., and is excited to learn about the process of creating and enacting environmental policies.
Intern Photo

Intern Photo

Joshua Martin
League of United Latin American Citizens

About Joshua

Joshua Eric Martin is a political science major from Glen Rose Texas. As a first-generation college student, Joshua graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2018. While at Texas A&M University, Joshua was an undergraduate researcher within both the Department of Sociology and the Department of Multicultural Services. Joshua’s research as an undergraduate was focused around immigration issues and immigration policy. He was the Director of Services in Latino Males United (LMU) where he organized community outreach and volunteering, while mentoring freshman that are also in the organization. Joshua also was able to mentor and support first generation students, like himself, as a Regents Scholar Counselor. His current research and life experiences both inside and outside of Texas A&M University have peaked his interest and passion to better understand the creation, process, and implementation of Public Policy. Joshua plans on going to graduate school and obtaining his PhD in sociology to have the ability to create positive research that can hopefully one day influence how public policy is created.

Melanie McGruder
Office of Senator John Cornyn

About Melanie

Melanie McGruder is a senior international studies major concentrating on politics and diplomacy with a minor in French from Frisco, Texas. At Texas A&M, she is involved in several organizations, including Liberal Arts Student Council where she served on the committee for the College of Liberal Arts scholarship panel, and Alpha Zeta Chi where she has volunteered numerous hours for their philanthropy, Aggieland Humane Society. In addition to this, she was a mentor in the International Student Mentor Association, and aided international students in acclimating to the United States and college life here at Texas A&M. She has also spent a summer studying abroad in Paris, France to advance her French language skills.  As an international studies major, Melanie has been exposed to many cultures and societies and the role that American politics plays in the world. She plans on obtaining her law degree in International Law and aid as legal council for international defense treaties between the United States and Europe. She also hopes to aid women in impoverished areas who face domestic abuse and raise awareness for their political and social rights. Throughout her time here at Texas A&M University, Melanie has been exposed to many diverse groups of people and developed a passion for service for others and hopes to continue developing her educational and professional goals while interning this fall for Senator John Cornyn in Washington D.C.
Intern Photo

Intern Photo

Meredith Mendoza
U.S. Department of Commerce

About Meredith

Meredith Mendoza of Plano, Texas, is an international studies major with minors in both Arabic and history. Her passion for understanding and helping others has inspired an interest in melding international culture and history within public policy. After her sophomore year, she spent a summer in Morocco where she gained an insightful global perspective that expanded her understanding of Middle Eastern culture and society. During her time at Texas A&M, Meredith maintained an outstanding academic performance while actively participating in the Corps of Cadets and the Memorial Student Center’s Student Conference on National Affairs. Both organizations provided numerous opportunities to learn and practice leadership in a professional environment. Meredith is excited to apply the knowledge and experience that she has gained at Texas A&M to her internship with the Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration in Washington D.C this fall.

Sophia Robichaux
U.S. Department of Justice

About Sophia

Sophia Robichaux is a senior marketing major from Alexandria, Louisiana graduating in August of 2018. Post graduation, she will be interning at the Department of Justice in the Office of Public Affairs.  While at Texas A&M University, Sophia has been actively involved in various organizations, including Fish Camp, Freshmen Leadership Organizations, and Abbott Family Leadership conference. Additionally, Sophia was involved in Maggies, a women’s leadership organization, that served to cultivate her leadership skills and encourage her to be catalyst for positive change in the world. She spent the summer of 2017 interning abroad at Beattie Communications, a public relations firm in London, UK, through which she gained insight into the dynamic of working with other cultures. In addition to this, Sophia took advantage of this opportunity to explore the various cultures and landscapes of Europe and traveled to places like Spain, France, and the Netherlands on the weekends. Sophia strives to further her studies in Marketing by serving as the Digital Marketing Manager at Evolve Impact Group in College Station. She hopes to find overlap of this knowledge and policy and has interests in campaign management and speech-writing in addition to gender-based policy and education policy.
Intern Photo

Intern Photo

Kenya Robinson
U.S. Department of Justice

About Kenya

Kenya Robinson, second generation Aggie and proud member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2020, was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and has a passion for Press Freedom and Voting Rights policy. Kenya will be interning for the Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, serving as a media affairs intern. Throughout her time at Texas A&M, Kenya has worked diligently to ensure that the study body is well informed on important national issues by serving as a news writer and Life & Arts Editor for the award-winning Battalion newspaper. In addition, Kenya also serves a student writer for the Aggiebound Magazine, writing articles about her experiences at Texas A&M to share with prospective students and admitted Aggies. Kenya also serves as the communication assistant for the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M. By bringing her journalism experience to Washington D.C., Kenya hopes to bridge the gap between the people and policy makers to ensure that citizens have access to important information that impacts their daily lives.

Jessica Rollinson
Bose Washington Partners

About Jessica

Jessica Rollinson was raised in Manvel and Houston, Texas by a family that fostered children. Her experiences with her foster sisters caused her to develop a passion for improving foster care, education, and other government programs and systems that affect children and families. Jessica is currently a sociology major with a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a J.D. combined with a Master of Public Policy or Administration. While studying at Texas A&M, Jessica has been extensively involved on campus in a variety of activities. She is a member of University Honors, Aggie West Coast Swing Dance Club, and Treehouse Ministries, where she serves as the Service and Justice coordinator, a position she has held since her sophomore year. Serving as the Service and Justice coordinator allowed Jessica to arrange panels of experts to teach her group about current controversial issues, such as the Syrian refugee crisis and education reform, organize a small conference with foster care reform experts, and meet with legislative staff about foster care reform in Austin. While in this position, Jessica also started a local tutoring and mentoring program, which she continues to coordinate. Jessica has spent her undergraduate summers developing her knowledge of law and public policy, interning at a large law firm in Houston for two consecutive years and with a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is incredibly excited to intern in Washington D.C. through the Public Policy Internship Program this fall and to gain more exposure to law, politics, and public policy.
Intern Photo

Intern Photo

Russell Shepherd
Environmental Protection Agency

About Russell

Channing Shepherd graduated from Texas A&M University in August 2018 with a degree in environmental studies. While at Texas A&M University, Channing was involved in Kappa Upsilon Chi Fraternity as well as working for the Memorial Student Center’s Student Programs Office as a student worker. During his undergraduate career, Channing had different opportunities to apply what he learned in the classroom to real world issues. He was a part of the Environmental Programs Involvement Committee where he served on the Social Committee helping to plan events to bring social awareness surrounding topics of the environment and how to improve the community. Channing also worked in Texas A&M’s Geography department as an undergraduate researcher, where he studied migration and dispersal patterns of Alaskan alpine tree lines. These experiences have shaped Channing’s interests around environmental issues such as resource conservation and land management/urban planning and how to use public policy to help protect the Earth. Channing hopes that this internship in Washington D.C. will provide a better understanding of environmental policymaking, and to use it as a stepping stone for future work surrounding environmental law.

Akhil Thadani
House Judiciary Committee (minority office)

About Akhil

Akhil Thadani, from Houston Texas, is a proud member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2021! He will graduate from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a minor in philosophy. He is passionate about international law and promoting civic engagement. He regularly volunteers to register people to vote at different events.  Akhil hopes to eventually go to law school and study international arbitration. He is a part of the Bollywood fusion dance team Akh Mastani with whom he competes nationally. In addition to being part of the dance team, he is an officer in the Asian President's Council housed in the Department of Multicultural Services. Before his fall internship with House Judiciary Committee Minority Office he is working with Representative Gene Wu during the summer in his district office.  He is excited to work in Washington D.C. and gain invaluable insight in the key process of policy making.
Intern Photo