February Newsletter
02/07/2024, 08:00:02 AM

February Newsletter

Hobby School reports examine Texas primary elections

an online survey of registered Texas voters in January. The first report examines voter intention in the March and November 2024 Texas Republican and Democratic primaries and presidential elections and issues. The second and third reports explore the March and November U.S. Senate and Texas House Republican races. The fourth report will analyze public opinion on school choice and the 2023 impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.


Media coverage of the reports’ findings includes nearly 40 citations in prominent news outlets, such as the Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Media, The Dallas Morning News, La Politica Online, Texas Standard, The Derrick, KHOU TV Channel 11 and FOX TV Channel 26.

A Conversation with former White House security advisor, Daleep Singh

The Hobby School recently welcomed former U.S. deputy national security advisor for international economics and deputy director of the National Economic Council Daleep Singh to the University of Houston as the inaugural speaker for the Science, Economics and Technology for Houston Lecture (SETH). Singh oversaw the Biden administration's sanctions response against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. He discussed the intersection of economics and global geopolitics, economic sanctions as a bipartisanship tool and deploying economic statecraft to an audience of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members.


We invite you to revisit the presentation and check out the event photos. The presentation will be available for educational purposes for a limited time.


The new lecture series is a partnership among the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, the Center for International Studies at the University of St. Thomas and the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University to convene thought-provoking public lectures and assemblies on national security issues partly sponsored by CORBŪ. The UH Law Center generously hosted the lecture at the John M. O'Quinn Law Building.

The Hobby Hour: Leading Houston

Former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner joins The Hobby Hour at noon today, Feb. 7, for a conversation on his time leading the nation’s fourth-largest city. Turner served as the 62nd mayor of Houston and will discuss his life of public service and legacy at City Hall. He will also weigh in on how his administration confronted pressing policy issues, from affordable housing to public safety, and unfinished business for Houston’s next mayor and city council. Dean Jim Granato will moderate the virtual discussion hosted on the Hobby School’s Facebook, X and YouTube channels.



UH projects receive DOE funding for energy research

Hobby School researchers Gail Buttorff and Pablo Pinto are involved in two of three University of Houston projects receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for early-stage research projects focused on expanding clean energy technologies at colleges and universities across America. The Hobby School is part of UH Energy initiatives focused on a comprehensive roadmap for repurposing offshore infrastructure for clean energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico and a hydrogen refueling pilot demonstration for the Greater Houston area. The projects received $750,000 each out of $17.5 million of DOE funding. The first project plans to explore ways to prolong the life of assets, such as platforms, wells and pipelines, by repurposing them for clean energy projects like wind power, hydrogen generation and carbon sequestration. The second project plans to demonstrate the potential for repurposing existing infrastructure to provide profitable zero-emission transportation fueled by low carbon intensity hydrogen and its positive workforce development and community impacts for the Greater Houston area. Buttorff and Pinto are associate director and director of the Hobby School’s Center for Public Policy, respectively.


Projects were chosen through the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management's University Training and Research program, which aims to create research and development opportunities for underrepresented communities as well as educate and train future engineers and scientists to advance integrated solutions key to achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.



Spring semester kicks off New Year

The semester is in full swing and the Hobby School community is on its way to a successful year. Hobby School faculty including Mirya Holman, are in the classroom preparing students for productive careers in public service. Holman introduced her students to a historical perspective on politics and policy of justice in a new class on global justice. In addition to teaching, Holman has authored a book on women in politics and focuses her research on local politics, and gender and political ambition. Members of the public policy capstone class with the Hobby School instructors Pablo Pinto, Gail Buttorff and Sunny Wong wrapped up the week planning research projects to demonstrate an accumulation of the skills they have gained throughout their academic experience including data collection, scientific analysis and written and verbal reports. Many of our students are close to graduation and will join the first graduating class of baccalaureate students at the spring commencement, May. 9. They will be the first to celebrate completion of their four-year bachelor’s degree since the program was introduced in 2022.


As more than 200 students across the school settle into the coursework, our instructors and staff are set to help students make the most of their Hobby School journeys inside and outside the classroom.

Spring Civic Houston Interns ready for election season

The 2024 spring cohort of 40 Civic Houston Interns started their internship assignments this semester under the leadership of the Hobby School's Jessica Ruland O'Connor. Open to all UH undergraduates, the group varies in academic pursuits, including anthropology, communications, computer science, economics, history, political science, and supply chain management, but they share a common desire to civically engage with the Houston community. They will apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world applications in governmental offices at local, state, and federal levels in the Houston region and with area nonprofit and private organizations and electoral campaigns. They typically shadow staff administrators, participate in office and research activities and learn to navigate a professional environment. Students will also take advantage of the primary election season, clocking volunteer hours with electoral or voter registration campaigns or researching a local policy issue important to their host office.

A third Hobby School student receives national award

pursue her passion for equity in the workplace, racial justice, climate change and animal welfare. She believes her peers are more inclined to choose public service careers when they better understand the government’s role in creating change. This semester, she is interning in the Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security's drug prevention initiative, Houston Crackdown, through the Hobby School Civic Houston Internship Program.


The Paul A. Volcker Government Internship Award is inspired by the legacy of The Volcker Alliance founding chairman, Paul A. Volcker, known for his lifelong commitment to the public good. It includes a $3,000 scholarship and requires Harris to perform a government internship during the 2024 spring semester. Read more about Harris and the Next Generation Leadership Academy led by the Hobby School’s Emily Janowski.

Next Gen founder visits University of Houston

Montclair State University President Jonathan Koppell met with a Hobby School team in January to discuss the growth and progress of the school's Next Generation Leadership Academy. He was in Houston to speak to the UH Faculty Senate about the changing landscape of higher education. The UH leadership program was established in 2022 at the Hobby School to build on its mission to prepare the next generation of public service leaders. Koppell was dean of Arizona State University's Watts College of Public Service when he partnered with The Volcker Alliance to create the NextGen Service Corp, now a national network of 17 university programs inspiring and preparing students to serve their communities and nation. In April, the Hobby School will host a university support retreat for NextGen program directors and university leaders throughout the nation.


Koppell was joined by the Hobby School's Emily Janowski, who directs the Hobby School's academy, and Dean Jim Granato, as well as the UH Honors College's Janet Lawler, who directs the UH Bonner Leaders Program, and Susie Gronseth, UH Faculty Senate president.

Scholars awarded for ethics and leadership pursuits

The Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership announced the 2024 student scholarship for six outstanding University of Houston students, an award of $1,500 for the spring semester. Selection is based on the student's leadership in community or civic activities, career goals, financial situation, and demonstrated ethics and leadership qualities. Three Ph.D. students received the award this year. Kita Adams, M.E., is a fourth-year higher education leadership and policy studies doctoral student. She is also working on a graduate certificate in public policy to better understand how policy shapes the educational experience of Black students in undergraduate medical programs. Corissa Barrow, M.A., LMFT Associate, is a second-year doctoral student in the counseling psychology program with a minor in health psychology. Amani Itani, M.A., is a doctoral student in her second year at the University of Houston, studying curriculum and instruction with a focus on learning design and technology.


Undergraduate scholars include political science students Abeeha Arshad and Michael King, and Kalena Holeman, who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in English literature. Arshad worked as a Civic Houston Intern in the office of Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez in 2022. King was a 2023 Civic Houston Intern in the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Holeman is a Mellon Research Scholar and undergraduate advisor in the UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards.


The emerging leaders will network with Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center directors and speakers, participate in center events and organize a spring project to promote the education and study of ethics and leadership from a policy perspective. Future scholars can apply through Oct. 1, 2024.

Prominent artist, sociologist headline spring Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center events

The Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership welcomes two prominent figures in the fields of art and policing this spring.


Multidisciplinary artist Samora Pinderhughes will be in Houston from Tuesday, March 19 to Thursday, March 21, for immersive events partly sponsored by the UH Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.


Pinderhughes will take part in thoughtful-provoking conversations and performances combining music and art and featuring his work from the exhibition The Healing Project, an exploration of the effect prison and detention systems and structural violence have on people. The multidisciplinary artist is a composer, pianist, and vocalist known to address sociopolitical issues and heavy concepts, such as trauma, healing and grief, with compassion.


He kicks off his visit to Houston with The Healing Project at the M.D. Anderson Library at the University of Houston at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19. Attendees can take in voices and experience art that examines complex issues surrounding structural violence and the interconnectivity of structural violence seen in our society. Pinderhughes’ visit culminates in a moving performance in the historic Third Ward community at the Eldorado Ballroom on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.


Author and scholar Michael Sierra-Arévalo is the featured speaker of “The Danger Imperative: Violence, Death, and the Soul of Policing,” a presentation on the institutional culture of police violence and systemic focus on underserved communities, 2 p.m. on Friday, April 5 at the Honors College at the M.D. Anderson Library. Sierra-Arévalo is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and associate director of the Liberal Arts Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin.


Save the dates and be on the lookout for more information.



Business administrator moves to UH College of the Arts

13 years in the UH Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In her new role, she will be managing the financials and human resources for the college’s School of Theater and Dance. Congratulations, Cherish.



Mark your calendars: Government and Nonprofit Career Mixer

The University Career Services is hosting a Government and Nonprofit Career Mixer in collaboration with the Hobby School on Thursday, April 25, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Student Center South, Multipurpose Room. The event is open to all UH students but targets public policy, economics, law, social work, psychology, and business majors. This event allows local companies to recruit UH students and alumni for open roles in the nonprofit and government sectors.


Hobby School in the News


Hobby School Texas Primary Elections 2024 surveys dominated the school’s media activity in January across multiple local, regional and national outlets. Coverage of the findings included mentions by RealClearPolitics, a nonpartisan political news website known for its aggregation of polling data, and FiveThirtyEight, a national website covering the latest political polls and polling averages. The first of four reports in the series examined Texans’ vote intention in the state’s presidential primary elections and a pair of hypothetical contests to get insight into what voters will decide at the top of the ballot ahead of Super Tuesday. The primary election report was featured on UH Moment and aired on Houston Public Media’s News 88.7.

Complete List of Hobby School Media

Hobby Happenings


Hobby School Happenings captures lectures, events, application deadlines, programs and collaborations hosted or co-sponsored by the Hobby School and its centers. Mark your calendars and join us for the next Hobby School happening.


Wednesday, Feb. 7, 9 a.m.

Houston Matters Political Roundup, Renée Cross

Houston Public Media’s News 88.7

Listen Online


Wednesday, Feb. 7, 12-1 p.m.

The Hobby Hour: Leading Houston

Former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner



Thursday, Feb. 15, 10-11:30 a.m.

AI and Public Policy

Johannes Himmelrich, Syracuse University

Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center Lecture

Teaching Unit 2 Building, Room 215


Monday, Feb. 26, 4-6 p.m.

Confronting the Myth of Folk Retributivism

Victoria McGreer, Princeton University

Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center Lecture Series

M.D. Anderson Library, Honors Commons


Wednesday, Feb. 28, 9 a.m.

Houston Matters Political Roundup, Renée Cross

Houston Public Media’s News 88.7

Listen Online


Tuesday, March 19, 2 p.m.

The Healing Project Exhibition with Samora Pinderhughes

M.D. Anderson Library, Rockwell Pavilion


Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m.

Performance with Samora Pinderhughes

Eldorado Ballroom


Friday, April 5, 2 p.m.

The Danger Imperative: Violence, Death and the Soul of Policing

Michael Sierra-Arévalo, University of Texas

Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center, Restorative Justice Lecture Series

M.D. Anderson Library, Honors Commons


Friday, April 19

13th Annual Public Officials of the Year Luncheon
Save the Date


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