According to Maggie Haas, Tyler senior at The University of Texas at Tyler, her time spent in the nation’s capital was like no other experience in her life.
Haas, as a 2007 spring semester Archer Fellow, was selected to intern this past spring semester in Sen. John Cornyn’s office and worked in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 9 through April 24.
“I made a conscious decision to apply for that particular internship because it was the opposite of my political beliefs, and I wanted to challenge myself,” said Haas. “It was a great experience, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”
While a full-time intern, Haas’ tasks included secretarial duties, working on various projects pertaining to education and conducting private Capitol tours.
Haas, a political science major, not only saw behind the scenes of a political office and the U.S. Congress, but also represented Texas as a cherry blossom princess during the national Cherry Blossom Festival, held March 31 through April 15.
The board of the Texas State Society of Washington, D.C. selects one young woman from those who submit essays describing why they would like to be chosen and why they think they would represent Texas well. Entrants must be between the ages of 19 and 24 and a member of the Texas State Society.
“I became interested in it through the senator’s office,” Haas said. “The senator is a member of the board, and the office notified me of the opportunity. It just seemed fun.”
As a cherry blossom princess, Haas’ duties included attending various cultural and civic events and being an ambassador of Texas all throughout the second week of the festival. Each state society has an opportunity to choose their princess each year.
“We also participated in events pertaining to the Cherry Blossom Festival, such as the lantern lighting ceremony, the parade, which acts as the finale, and the grand ball,” Haas added. “It was a very unique opportunity for me. Everything just really fell into place.”
To be considered for the Archer Fellow program, students had to fill out an initial application, carry a 3.0 GPA or higher, complete 24 semester credit hours including basic government requirements, write a personal statement and a short essay addressing one domestic or foreign policy, show letters of recommendation, and interview with a panel from UT Tyler and UT System.
After being chosen, Haas wrote multiple essays and completed additional applications for the internships she applied for. She received 12 semester hours credit for the internship.
Haas transferred to UT Tyler from UT Austin the fall of 2006. Since attending UT Tyler, she has been named to the President’s Honor Roll two semesters.
She expects to graduate in December 2007 and pursue a career in politics either in support of a presidential candidate or working for a member of the United States Congress in Washington D.C. Additionally, Haas plans to obtain a doctorate degree in public affairs.
The Bill Archer Fellowship was established by UT System in conjunction with Former U.S. Rep. Bill Archer as a way for highly motivated and accomplished students to participate in varied internships in Washington, D.C. and take part in classes focusing on economics, policy and persuasion.
For more information, visit www.archercenter.org.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of nearly 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.