MEET THE 2013 HOBBY FELLOWS
Jose Guzman, Charles Prothro, Estefani Jimenez, Isabel Soto, Sarah Aimadeddine, Hazel Thakkar, Krystafer Redden and Matthew Conner
View the 2013 Hobby Fellows Scrapbook.
Listen to Marisa Ramirez's UH Moment: Hobby Fellows.
Read an article about the Hobby Fellows by Marisa Ramirez.
Sarah Aimadeddine is a senior in the Honors College at the University of Houston and is pursuing double degrees in political science and economics.
Sarah gained government experience as an intern in Congressman John Culberson’s district office through the Hobby Center for Public Policy’s Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP). In this position, she has shown unique enthusiasm for public service and a genuine concern for the constituents of Congressman Culberson’s district. Additionally, she volunteered in Sarah Davis’s campaign for state representative in the fall of 2012. Her policy interests include education, immigration, and tax policy.
Born to parents from Morocco, Sarah is a first generation American. She has volunteered at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Sugar Land and was given the Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2010 and 2011.
Sarah will graduate in the spring of 2014. After graduation, she seeks to obtain an MBA and a law degree in order to pursue a career in government in the field of economics or foreign policy.
Sarah is working in the office of Representative Jim Murphy.
Matthew Conner is a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in national security studies.
Matthew has gained invaluable experience working as a Hobby Center for Public Policy intern in the office of United States Representative John Culberson. Matthew is actively involved in politics by working as a local precinct chairman. In 2011, he managed a Houston city council campaign and has volunteered and worked for many other campaigns both locally and statewide.
Matthew is interested in several policy issues including energy, fiscal, and national security policy.
After graduation in May 2013, Matthew plans to work in either the Texas Capitol or Washington D.C. as a staffer for a legislative office or as an analyst at a policy think tank. His long-term goal is to own his own consulting firm focusing on policy, government relations and political analysis.
Matthew is working in the office of Representative Bill Callegari.
José Guzman is a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in philosophy.
José has gained public service experience as a Hobby Center for Public Policy Civic Houston intern working with the General Mexican Consulate in Houston in the spring of 2012 and with the World Affairs Council of Houston the following semester.
A native of Venezuela and currently an international student, José's goals include pursuing a master degree in international development. His ultimate career objectives include working for an international organization such as UNICEF or representing Venezuela in the country's Foreign Service.
José is working in the office of Representative Garnet Coleman.
Estefani Jimenez is a senior at the University of Houston double majoring in political science and environmental science.
Estefani worked in the office of State Senator Mario Gallegos through the Hobby Center for Public Policy’s Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP). Estefani was also sponsored by Shell and ExxonMobil to work as a water quality investigator for the Bayou Preservation Association (BPA).
Estefani’s interest in the environment originated from growing up in Pasadena, Texas where she observed the impact of oil refineries in her community. As a result she developed a strong interest in environmental regulations. She is deeply committed to the protection of the environment and has worked to promote better water quality in the Houston area through her internship at the BPA.
Estefani will graduate in the fall of 2013. She intends to work in the environmental field for a year before pursuing a degree in environmental law.
Estefani is working in the office of Representative Ana Hernandez Luna.
Charles Prothro is a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science.
After serving 8 years in the Marine Corps, Charles entered the political world looking for a new way to serve the public. He volunteered on numerous campaigns and learned the strategy and intricacies of campaigns. Charles was a Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP) intern with Congressman Pete Olson’s office in the spring of 2012. Charles then went to work for a Houston city council member where he was able to get a preliminary education in government.
On his own time, Charles works to ensure that veterans are put in contact with the right people to get jobs when they return to Houston from active duty. Last year he adopted a family who had gone through a recent tragedy for the Christmas period. He and his family pulled resources and were able to bring a sense of normal to the family.
Charles will graduate in the spring of 2013 with a bachelor of science degree. After graduation, Charles seeks to obtain a masters of public administration degree from the University of Houston.
Charles is working in the office of Representative Sarah Davis.
Krystafer Redden is a senior Terry Foundation Scholar in the Honors College at the University of Houston pursuing double degrees in political science and history, with minors in literature and phronesis, a program in politics and ethics.
Krystafer was appointed by Governor Perry as the sole student voice on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee, a position in which he served for two years. In the fall of 2010, he attended Georgetown University through The Fund for American Studies, interned at the Human Rights Campaign, and was named “Outstanding Student in Public Policy” by the faculty. After a summer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he founded The HOPE Collaborative, a non-profit organization offering bilingual information, assistance, and access to higher education opportunities for at-risk and marginalized populations in Harris County. He is also involved in electoral politics, and serves on the HRC Houston Steering Committee.
Awarded “Outstanding First Year Student” by the University of Houston and nominated for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, Krystafer will graduate in May 2013. He intends to further his education by pursuing a Ph.D. in political science in the fall of 2014.
Krystafer is working in the office of Representative Jessica Farrar.
Isabel Soto is a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in English.
Isabel first gained experience in government affairs while working as a human resources and community and government relations intern for Fortune 500 Company Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania during the summer of 2011. Isabel then worked as a legislative intern in the Capitol office of State Representative Eddie Lucio III in the spring of 2012 and with Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. the following summer.
Isabel actively volunteers in her community and dedicates a great deal of her time to working with high school students as part of a national nonprofit organization called SkillsUSA. Her involvement with this organization has provided her with the opportunity to return to the Capitol each year as a training coordinator to prepare students to participate in a mock legislative session on the Texas House of Representatives floor.
Isabel will graduate in the spring of 2013 with a bachelor of arts degree. She plans to attend graduate school and is interested in pursuing a career in public service.
Isabel is working in the office of Representative Armando Walle.
Hazel Thakkar is a senior in the Honors College at the University of Houston double majoring in economics and political science with a minor in phronesis.
Hazel was selected as a fellow for Organizing for America, enabling her to work towards President Obama's re-election by helping form a grassroots level network. She has recently been involved with helping those interested in the DREAM act complete their forms. She has also worked with lawyers to help low-income individuals with their court cases through the Houston Volunteers Lawyers Program.
Originally from India, Hazel has been living in the United States for the past twelve years. She will be applying to become a naturalized citizen in 2014. Having lived in both the largest democracy in the world as well as arguably the first modern democracy in the world, she has always been interested in the political processes that have surrounded her. Specifically, she's interested in the policy areas of education, low-income women's healthcare, and civil and human rights.
Hazel will graduate in the spring of 2013. She hopes to go to law school and plans on concentrating in international law with the goal of working for the U.S. government.
Hazel is working in the office of Representative Carol Alvarado.