POLS Students Gain Experience, Respect for Government

Two Political Science majors were recently featured in the Honors College’s monthly newsletter, Veneratio. Here is the story:

UT Arlington’s Archer Fellows, Fall 2009

UT Arlington participates in a program sponsored by the UT System that provides students with the opportunity to study for a semester in Washington, DC. The program was founded by retired Congressman Bill Archer (formerly Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee) with a view to encouraging young Texans to enter public service. Over the past 10 years hundreds of undergraduates have participated in the program, which offers three courses in government, policy and political communication, as well as a full-time internship according to the interests and aspirations of each fellow.

Two Political Science majors, Akim Insyxiengmay and Tahj Walker, were UT Arlington’s designated Archer Fellows during fall 2009. Akim interned at the Obama Administration’s Center for Faith-Based Organizations, where he wrote informational pieces for the White House blog and several online newsletters on a variety of topics including adoption, AIDS awareness, and preparing for the H1N1 flu. Akim assisted in the creation of a community guide on healthy living for children, a subject that is dear to his heart. As he writes in a recent email, “I was able to attend health care hearings on the Senate floor at the Capitol. Senators Dodd, Franken, Baucus, Coburn, Stabenow, Thune and Corker were just some of the Senators I was able to hear speak. I have always been a fan of C-SPAN, and being in the gallery was a great experience.”

Tahj’s internship was in the Department of Education, where he reported to the Director of Editorial Policy and Publishing. He wrote and edited numerous articles on educational policy, especially as it affects children in the foster care system (a theme that is central to his Honors thesis research). Tahj’s internship experience gave him respect for the importance of accuracy in disseminating information on policy, and he left Washington with a newly found appreciation for the potential of government to make a difference in the lives of all citizens. Tahj echoes Akim in his reflections on the value of the Archer experience: “All in all, this has been an experience that has transcended every expectation.”

Applications for the Archer Program for academic year 2010-11 are due February 19. An information session will be held on campus in January. Interested students are encouraged to visit the Archer Program website for more information.

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