Troy Allen was a senior at the University of Houston, majoring in political science with a minor in economics. Prior to his selection as a Hobby Fellow, Troy participated in the Civic Houston Internship Program in fall 2016, working in the office of Houston City Council Member Jerry Davis. He also interned in the office of State Representative Trent Ashby in summer 2016.
During Troy’s time in Austin, he worked in the office of State Representative Jim Murphy. As the chair of the Special Purpose Districts committee, Representative Murphy’s office provided the opportunity for Troy to gain experience in the committee process. This allowed him to gain an in-depth understanding of the steps that a bill must go through before reaching the House floor. He also was able to experience the day-to-day office operations of Representative Murphy’s legislative office, working with the staff to ensure that the bills they oversaw made it through the legislative process without issue.
Jennifer Edwards was a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Houston, graduating with honors in December 2016 with a major in political science. Jennifer gained experience through the Civic Houston Internship Program in fall 2016, interning for the Campaign to Elect Ed Gonzalez Sheriff for Harris County. She also interned in the Houston Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs in summer 2013.
Jennifer worked in the office of State Representative Garnet F. Coleman during her fellowship. As his intern and constituent, she gained valuable insight into the various components, people, and organizations within the district. During the session, she worked as his scheduler and policy analyst, handling public education bills, including HB 1847/SB 196, which included a notification to parents in the absence of a full-time counselor, librarian, or nurse on campus. After twelve years of the legislation being filed, it finally landed on the Governor’s desk.
J Ehlinger was a University of Houston post-baccalaureate student, graduating in December 2016 with a major in political science with a minor in law, values and policy. Previously, he volunteered on Sylvester Turner's campaign for Houston mayor, worked in State Representative Gene Wu's office through the Civic Houston Internship Program, and worked as a Legislative Aide for State Senator Donna Campbell in 2015.
J was placed in State Representative Gene Wu's office through the Hobby Fellows program. His responsibilities included handling incoming constituent correspondence, tracking and making floor recommendations for bills, and guiding 15 of Representative Wu's bills through the legislative process. Three new laws were passed, accomplished the following: abolish the Texas Education Agency's 8.5% rule, ensure county and district attorneys are adequately reimbursed to pursue synthetic marijuana sales, and hold landowners of nuisance massage parlors accountable for repeatedly leasing to troublesome tenants.
Jon Garcia was a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Houston, graduating with honors in December 2016 with a major in political science and a minor in psychology. Jon had previously worked as a Civic Houston Intern in the office of State Representative Jessica Farrar. He also worked in the Washington D.C. office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa through the Leland Fellows program in spring 2016.
Through the Hobby Fellows program, Jon worked in the office of State Representative Jessica Farrar. He was given the responsibility of preparing Representative Farrar for many controversial issues that were debated on the House floor. Furthermore, as Representative Farrar’s point person for the House State Affairs Committee, he saw firsthand the unwavering energy of advocates, members, and staffers as they did all they could to push or defeat an agenda.
Maycie George was a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Houston, graduating in December 2016 with a major in finance. Prior to her selection as a Hobby Fellow, Maycie interned with the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance through the Bauer College of Business Internship Program. In this role, she assisted in the coordination of over thirteen presidential domestic and international trips and worked with a team directly planning and executing President Obama’s mission to combat ISIS at the State Department.
Maycie was assigned to the office of Governor Greg Abbott, where she researched bills, participated in meetings, and debriefed the staff on legislation that was filed or moving through committees. Maycie was particularly moved by her exposure to numerous causes that were brought to her attention through special events, such as teen dating violence prevention, empowering students to stay in school, and maternal mortality issues.
Mariah Grayson was a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Houston, graduating in December 2016 with a major in political science and a minor in computer application technology. Through the Civic Houston Internship Program, Mariah worked in the office of City Controller Ron Green and on Chris Brown’s campaign for City Controller. In spring of 2016, Mariah also worked as a Leland Fellow in Washington D.C. for Congressman Marc Veasey.
During her time as a Hobby Fellow, Mariah served as a legislative aide for Senator Borris L. Miles. She learned about the ins and outs of the legislative process on the Senate side by working on key bills for Senator Miles and for the City of Houston. Those bills included creating the Stadium Park Management District for the City of Houston, requiring the Fort Bend School District’s Board of Trustees to change their At-Large System to Single-Member Districts, and supporting the creation of the Sam Houston Republic of Texas Presidential Library at Sam Houston State University.
Emily Joslin was a University of Houston senior majoring in political science with minors in Spanish, mathematics, and biology while working as a Hobby Fellow at the Capitol.
During her undergraduate career, Emily gained experience in state government through the Civic Houston Internship Program, where she interned for State Representative Jessica Farrar in the fall 2016 semester.
Emily served as a policy analyst for State Representative Carol Alvarado while working on legislative research, facilitating the movement of several bills, and meeting with constituents and lobbyists. She gained insight into the legislative process by working on numerous bills including establishing electronic voter registration, creating an electronic tracking system of evidence of sexual assault, and relating to the establishment of plans to address sexual assaults and unplanned pregnancies by public universities. Emily also staffed several committees for Representative Alvarado.
Jason LaBarbera is a senior at the University of Houston and is majoring in political science with a minor in national security.
Jason worked for State Representative Jim Murphy through the Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP). He continued to work for Jim Murphy’s district office after the completion of his internship.
During the 85th legislative session, Jason worked for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick as a policy analyst, aiding the policy director and the Veteran Affairs and Border Security adviser. Jason was tasked to attend committee hearings and meetings to take notes on specific issues and report changes and concerns to the advisory team. Other tasks included answering phone calls, emails, and aiding any staff members with time sensitive projects.
Rish Oberoi was a senior at the University of Houston with a major in history and a minor in political science.
Prior to his experience as a Hobby Fellow, Rish worked as a canvasser in a congressional campaign and eventually saw his responsibilities increase to include research, minority outreach, and fundraising.
Rish was assigned to the office of the Speaker of the House Joe Straus. He was the first Hobby Fellow to represent the Hobby School in this vital office. The experience exposed him to learning how important bipartisan solutions are to the political climate. He also learned that the Speaker’s office is responsible for keeping the peace between competing factions and ensuring that partisanship does not stand in the way of progress.
Giovanni Perez was a junior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in national security while working as a Hobby Fellow during the 85th Texas legislative session.
He previously interned in the office of US Congressman Gene Green in spring 2016, an internship acquired through the Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP). He also worked as an intern for Hogan Lovells, LLP in summer 2014.
As a Hobby Fellow, Giovanni served as a legislative aide for State Representative Armando L. Walle, who represents Giovanni’s home district. His role covered a broad spectrum, from analyzing policy and meeting with stakeholders to attending civic club meetings in Houston and doing casework for constituents. He specialized in immigration, criminal justice, and higher education issues, but took an unexpected interest in worker/labor rights. He also staffed Representative Walle on the House Energy Resources Committee, which took on issues predominantly relating to oil and gas.