Washington, D.C.

Meet the Fall 2023 interns for our Washington, D.C. program!

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Nicole Acosta
American Public Human Services Association

About Nicole

Nicole Acosta graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in May 2023 and is planning to take a couple of years off school to get real-world experience before attending graduate school. As a student at Texas A&M, she was involved in several organizations. She served as a service chair for Freshman Leaders in Education and Human Development in her sophomore year. In addition, she served as one of the sisterhood chairs for Legacies, a women's organization on campus, her senior year. As a junior, she was a member of the Reads and Counts tutoring program, where she spent 6 hours a week tutoring elementary-aged children at the Boys and Girls Club of the Brazos Valley in reading and math. She applied for the Public Policy Internship Program in order to learn more about policy implications in the career fields she is interested in. She is hoping to get a master’s degree in counseling or public health in the future and has a passion for working with women and families. She wants to grow in her professional leadership and communication abilities in order to better serve these communities. Her passion lies in wanting to improve the health and well-being of communities in need, and she has a drive to work in a field that allows her to connect with people professionally and emotionally. This fall, Nicole will be interning with the American Public Human Services Association. 

Andrew Branch
Office of Senator Ted Cruz

About Andrew

Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, as a first-generation Aggie, Andrew Branch has recently completed his Bachelor of Science in Political Science. While at Texas A&M, he cherished the deep tradition rooted in Texas A&M’s culture and his time in the Corps of Cadets as a member of Company G-1. <a>This past summer, he headed west to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to intern with the District Attorney of the Ninth Judicial District of Colorado.</a>This fall, he will be interning in the Office of Senator Ted Cruz on Capitol Hill in D.C. During his time in the capitol, Andrew is looking forward to increasing his knowledge and understanding of key strategic international issues, such as America’s growing tensions with the People’s Republic of China. Following his time in D.C., he will return to Texas to study law in Houston at the South Texas College of Law. Upon the completion of law school, Andrew plans to be commissioned as a JAG officer in the Marine Corps. Further down the road, his goal is to move back to D.C. to serve as a Texas Representative on Capitol Hill.
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Miriam Chen
Office of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi

About Miriam

Miriam Chen is a senior double majoring in international studies and history from Sugar Land, Texas. Miriam is also pursuing a minor in German, through which she had the opportunity to intern at a law firm in Germany. The experience sparked her interest in international law and foreign policy and gave her insight into foreign legal systems. At Texas A&M, Miriam has been involved in organizations such as Aggie Minority Women in Law, where she helps members succeed in the field of law by providing pre-law resources and professional development opportunities as the External Career Development Director. Miriam has also served as the Director of Advocacy for the Asian Presidents’ Council, where she directed the Asian American Studies Initiative, a student-led movement working towards the establishment of an Asian American Studies program at Texas A&M. Miriam has worked on multiple research projects focusing on community development through the Aggie Research Program and is part of the 2023-2024 Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholars program. Following her undergraduate studies, Miriam plans to attend law school to pursue a career in international or public interest law. Miriam will be interning with the Office of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi this fall in Washington, D.C.

Catherine Cordova
Office of Congressman John Carter

About Catherine

Catherine Cordova is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University from Houston, Texas. Catherine received an undergraduate degree in public health and is currently finishing a graduate certificate from the Bush School in Advanced International Affairs. Catherine gained abroad experience centralized in Bonn, Germany focusing on Emergency Preparedness and Response at the government and international level. She also has traveled and studied in other countries such as France, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Her time abroad opened her eyes to a new world perspective and is what ultimately pushed her interest and desire to partake in the graduate certificate program. During her time at Texas A&M, Catherine developed a strong interest in health policy surrounding increasing the accessibility and affordability of healthcare services, the regulation of pharmaceutical drug pricing, foreign affairs, foreign policy, U.S. national security, as well as government and military spending. In the future Catherine either hopes to pursue law school or a Master of Business Administration and combine her expertise in health policy with either of these careers on the international level. Catherine hopes to use her policy experience at the local, state, federal and international levels and apply that to the House of Representatives as she will be interning with Congressman John Carter on Capitol Hill.
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Lilia Elizondo
Office of Congressman Nathaniel Moran

About Lilia

Lilia Elizondo is a recent May 2023 graduate from Laredo, Texas. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in History. During her time at Texas A&M, Lilia participated in many organizations, such as the Treasurer and Philanthropy Chair of the Pre-Law Society, Vice President of the Liberal Arts Student Council, Co-Founder of the Council of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, and Philanthropy Chair of the Act to End Sexual Assault and Trafficking Organization. In pursuit of exploring the legal field, she has interned at the Hernandez Law Firm and as an LSAT Sales Representative at Kaplan. In addition, because of her love of writing, she spent time writing as an opinion writer at Texas A&M’s newspaper, The Battalion, and is currently in the process of publishing her own research in A&M’s undergraduate research journal, Explorations. Lilia has also worked on a research team with A&M’s Aggie Research Program. During her time in Bryan, Lilia volunteered with the Brazos Valley Literacy Program as an ESL instructor. Her hobbies include writing short stories and poems with her friends, running, playing chess, and participating in jiu-jitsu and judo. She is hoping to use all her passions and experiences to pursue a career in the legal field and become a lawyer. Lilia will be interning with the Office of Congressman Nathaniel Moran this fall in Washington, D.C.

Molly McKinney
Bose Public Affairs

About Molly

Molly McKinney graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a minor in Urban and Regional Planning. Her major focused on environmental regulations, proper sampling and environmental monitoring techniques, and global water issues. She was raised in San Antonio, Texas, and is a proud first-generation Aggie. Molly attributes her passion for the environment (specifically water management and conservation) to her upbringing where she spent many weekends outdoors at a ranch in Georgewest, Texas, where water is always scarce. During her time at Texas A&M, Molly was involved with several organizations including the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), the Texas A&M Water Network, and Aggie Blossoms. She was the president of NAEP for two years, which allowed her to connect with a diverse array of environmental professionals while developing her leadership and problem-solving skills. Molly has worked for AgriLife Extension since August 2019 as a Student Technician for the Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors Program. This program sparked her interest in water issues and has contributed significantly to her professional development. She interned at Headwaters at the Comal during the summer of 2020, where she found a passion for community outreach. As an intern at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in 2021, Molly conducted site assessments for the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and surface water quality monitoring for Lake Somerville. She learned the value of public service through her experience at TCEQ. In the winter of 2022, Molly studied abroad in Costa Rica. There, she studied cultural pluralism in agriculture which solidified water interest. In the spring of 2023, Molly interned at Timberwolf Environmental where she developed her soil and groundwater sampling techniques as well as developed her technical writing abilities. Molly is looking forward to gaining experience through PPIP so she can bring that knowledge and experience back to her community in San Antonio, where she plans on working for the San Antonio River Authority or the Edwards Aquifer Authority. This fall, Molly will be interning with Bose Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. 
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Andrea Miranda

About Andrea

A recent graduate from San Juan, Texas, Andrea Miranda majored in International Studies with a concentration in Politics and Diplomacy. Being the first in her family to attend college, her family migrated from Mexico in hopes for a better future. During her time at Texas A&M, Andrea has served her community in multiple capacities. First, as an elected Senator in the 74th and 75th Session of the Student Senate, serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and as the Liberal Arts Caucus Leader. She was also the Director of External Affairs for the Hispanic Presidents’ Council where she manages 38 prominent Hispanic/Latinx student organizations on campus to foster a more well connected and welcoming community for all students. Andrea has always been interested in the legal field as she grew up in a predominantly immigrant community in South Texas. During high school, she dedicated her time to being a volunteer at the Humanitarian Respite Center, a non-profit organization that provides basic necessities and legal services to refugees entering the country for the first time before they are reconnected with their families in the U.S. Her involvement in the immigrant population continued once she became an Aggie as she became an active volunteer at the Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network. There, she aided in tutoring 20 students from various backgrounds studying to take the American Citizenship Exam. Through these experiences, Andrea has gained significant insight as to how the immigrant system has affected individuals and the impact that non-profit organizations have on communities. Andrea plans to spend her gap years before attending law school exploring public policy. She hopes to gain experience to further explore her legal interests. Her focus will be Social Justice and International Law. However, she hopes that she can continue to provide pro-bono work to the immigrant community in the future.

Leandra Rivas
Department of Justice - Narcotic & Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS)

About Leandra

Leandra Rivas is a junior, class of 2025, at Texas A&M University who plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Honors and a minor in English. Leanda's hometown is San Antonio, Texas, and her hobbies include playing tennis and not forgetting the Alamo. Leandra loves political philosophy books, podcasts, and spending time with her siblings. Leandra is passionate about current foster care privatization legislation and its intersection with women's reproductive rights and education. Leandra completed an internship at Bexar District Children's Court when Roe v. Wade was overturned. The combination of the summer events inspired her to become more involved in organizations, volunteering, and advocacy. At the beginning of the year, Leandra began volunteering weekly with BCS Together Haven, which houses foster children without placement. Leandra has been a member of the Aggie Minority Women in Law since her freshman year and has worked with the recruitment committee for the past year. She was recently selected as the next Vice President of AMWL and cannot wait to help lead this organization. After graduating, Leandra plans to earn a dual law and policy degree. She hopes to work in Washington, D.C., in the future and help advocate and fight for others. This fall, Leandra will be interning with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Narcotic & Dangerous Drug Section.
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Hannah Spake
Texas A&M University System Office of Federal Relations

About Hannah

Hannah Spake is a recent Texas A&M University-Galveston graduate from Nacogdoches, Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology with a minor in Coastal Environmental Science & Society. During her time at TAMUG, Hannah was involved in various leadership positions where she was able to grow professionally and personally. She participated in beach cleanups, as well as other service projects, and helped coordinate student events. As a community leader and financial aid student worker, Hannah helped students adjust to life in college and navigate the often-stressful process of paying for school. Hannah has carried a passion for the environment and the welfare of its inhabitants from a young age, and she is thankful she was able to pursue the Public Policy Internship Program to participate in positive change. Hannah did not expect her interests to veer toward public policy, but as she started her minor, she became increasingly interested in environmental policy and the impact it has. She hopes to explore public policy in relation to her interests and perhaps even discover new interests along the way. Hannah enjoys learning new perspectives and working with people from different backgrounds. She strives to be open-minded and curious, with a deep desire to learn and grow. Hannah is passionate about many things, but she sums it up in that she craves meaningful work that will benefit people, animals, and the environment. This fall, Hannah will be interning with Texas A&M University Systems Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C.

Brittany Young
Office of Congressman Michael Cloud

About Brittany

Brittany Young recently graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in History. She is a transfer student and the first Aggie in her family from Austin, Texas. Throughout her time at Texas A&M, she had the privilege of serving as a member and Vice President of the Sisterhood of Aggie Mentors, mentoring adolescent girls in the Bryan/College Station area. Policy and politics started off as an interest and something thought-provoking for her to read and talk about. Brittany now attributes her passion for public service, politics, and history to working with and mentoring the younger generation throughout her time at A&M. She is driven by her excitement to advance policy for the youth of America and the generations that follow. She has a passion for the nation’s history and enjoys learning about and understanding it in her free time. Brittany’s interests include fiscal policy, foreign affairs, as well as educational policy. This fall, Brittany will be interning with the Office of Congressman Michael Cloud in Washington, D.C., where she hopes to further solidify her interests and gain experience in the realm of public service going forward.
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Izzah Yousuf
Office of Congressman Al Green

About Izzah

Izzah Yousuf is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University, born and raised in Sugar Land, Texas. As the first Aggie in her family, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, as well as a minor in Communications, in the spring of 2023. Izzah has always been a passionate advocate for underrepresented and targeted groups, particularly those affected by recent legislation. During her high school career, this inspired her to become involved in local political elections. She was able to gain a better understanding of the electoral process through block walking, phone banking, and talking with local constituents during her role as a Volunteer Coordinator for a city council campaign. Her dedication to serving her community also led her to become involved in various organizations and initiatives throughout her academic career. Since coming to Texas A&M, she became involved in the leadership organization FLAKE, which provides a space for LGBTQ+ students entering university. As a member and councilor, Izzah learned how to cultivate a sense of community amongst students and participated in service events with the organization. She was also part of Texas A&M’s Student Government Association through her work on the Legislative Relations Commission. Her role on the commission allowed her to travel to the State Capitol in Austin to communicate with state legislators on issues relevant to the students of A&M. These issues included advocating for resources for foster care youth and those experiencing homelessness, keeping polling locations on college campuses, and expanding mental health resources provided by institutions of higher education. This greatly influenced her to seek a public policy internship in Washington, D.C., where she hopes her internship aligns with her passions and prepares her for a future in the realm of politics. Izzah will be interning with the Office of Congressman Al Green this fall.

Crystal Zhang
Office of Congressman Lloyd Doggett

About Crystal

Crystal Zhang recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, along with a Pre-Law Certificate. During her time at Texas A&M, she was involved in Aggie Minority Women in Law, Aggie Women in Business, and the Aggie Research Program. As the Internal Career Development Director for Aggie Minority Women in Law, she coordinated with law students and legal professionals for speaker panels and to provide resources and opportunities for minority women pursuing the legal field. With her time as a student research assistant through the Aggie Research Program, she researched the differing attitudes towards body binding practices in Western aesthetics compared to Eastern aesthetics, specifically the comparison of corsetry and foot binding. She had the pleasure of presenting her research at the 80th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Aesthetics to an international audience. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school, with interests in corporate law, public interest, and public policy. Crystal is looking forward to interning with Office of Congressman Lloyd Doggett through PPIP in Washington, D.C., this upcoming fall.
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Maxwell Zhao
Office of Congressman Keith Self

About Maxwell

Maxwell Zhao is a recent Magna Cum Laude graduate from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Born and raised in Plano, Texas, Maxwell developed an interest in history which was first sparked by his enthusiasm over aviation. Along with the influence from frequent travels to international locations and enrollment as a student within the International Baccalaureate World School at Plano East, eventually it cumulated in a desire to study politics and policy. During his time at Texas A&M, Maxwell participated as a subcommittee member within the Memorial Student Center’s Wiley Lecture Series (MSC Wiley), where he assisted in planning guest speaker events showcasing various foreign and domestic policy topics. One such event saw him as part of the MSC Wiley cohort responsible for bringing in former British Prime Minister David Cameron to speak on campus. Maxwell has also had the pleasure of interning for U.S. House Representative Michael McCaul (TX-10) in fall 2022, during which he strengthened his interest and knowledge over matters such as U.S.-China relations and American grand strategy. In addition, Maxwell has received the Dean’s List Certificate of Accomplishment on multiple occasions and has also been inducted into the Delta Phi Alpha German Honors Society. He hopes that through PPIP he will gain necessary exposure to the policymaking process and valuable professional experience which he can reflect upon when pursuing future endeavors such as a Juris Doctorate. This fall, Maxwell will be interning with the Office of Congressman Keith Self in Washington, D.C.