Students Head to D.C. for Leland Internship Program

The New Year will bring new adventures for a group of political science students who have spent the holidays packing their bags.  The eight students will be traveling to Washington D.C. for a semester-long internship in a congressional office. They're part of the University of Houston Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program housed in the UH Center for Public Policy.

"I am so excited.  There are so many things I'm looking forward to doing," said Janea Ladet, a UH student who sees public service in her future.  "I can't wait to attend some of the policy briefings and see many of the local sites in D.C., like the beautiful Capitol, the Hill-just to be there!"

Named for the late congressman, the internship gives students a firsthand look at the inner workings of the political process. Their responsibilities include legislative research, project planning and attending events and meetings, as well as routine office duties. In addition, they attend a weekly seminar led by an on-site instructor.  

Students from UH, UH-Downtown (UHD) and Texas Southern University (TSU) participate. The program has produced nearly three decades of political, community and business leaders, such as Harris County Judge Al Bennett, a 1988 UH graduate who interned in the congressional office of Gary Ackerman.  Bennett says he has fond memories of his days as an intern. 

"My career in public service is a direct result of my participation in the Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program," Bennett said.  "Congressman Leland's selfless example of ‘community first' led me to the internship program as an undergraduate student, and his example continues to launch today's best and brightest students to fulfilling careers in public service."

Leland was killed in a plane crash during a humanitarian visit to Ethiopia in August 1989.    

 The 2010 Mickey Leland Congressional Interns are:

  • Rachel Burnett, UH junior, political science major
  • Jeneba Haffner, UH senior, political science major
  • Kaine Hampton, UH junior, finance major
  • Janea Ladet, UH junior, political science
  • Shukri Aziz, Texas Southern University (TSU), urban planning graduate student
  • Jose Sanchez, UH-Downtown junior, political science major
  • Bobby Ray Williams, TSU urban planning graduate student
  • Tonya Chissell Williams, UH Downtown senior, political science 

Established in 1981, the Center for Public Policy serves the Houston community as an impartial research organization within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston.  The center's primary focus is public policy and economic research, the results of which are shared with the community.

For more information about the UH Center for Public Policy and its government internships, visit