Meet the 2010 Mickey Leland Congressional Interns
Jose Eduardo Sanchez, Bobby Ray Williams, Tonya Chissell-Williams, Janae Ladet, Shukri Aziz, Rachel Burnett, Kaine Hampton and Jeneba Haffner
UH Chancellor Renu Khator with the 2010 Leland Interns
Eight bright and eager students from the University of Houston, Texas Southern University and the University of Houston-Downtown are pursuing their public service dreams on Capitol Hill. Learn more about the distinguished group participating in the 2010 class.
And don't miss Marisa Ramirez's coverage of the Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program including interviews with former Leland intern District Court Judge Al Bennett and 2010 intern Janae Ladet on a recent segment of UH Moment on KUHF.
Shukri Aziz is a Texas Southern University graduate student in urban planning and environmental policy with a concentration in community and housing development. Born and raised in a rough area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shukri believes that he could have easily become a statistic. He overcame his challenges in part to his strong religious beliefs, community commitment, and resilient drive for an education. Shukri earned a bachelor of arts in history from Wiley College in 2008.
Shukri completed two internships researching the first African-American social work educators in Arkansas at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He also served as a precinct manager in Marshall, Texas during the 2008 primary election and was elected as a primary delegate.
Shukri plans to attend Thurgood Marshall School of Law in the fall of 2010. After completing law school, he hopes to continue his postgraduate education work at an Ivy League university. Shukri plans to continue serving his community and ultimately pursue a career in politics.
Shukri is working in the office of Congressman Al Green (TX).
Rachel Burnett is junior at the University of Houston double majoring in political science and philosophy. She has gained experience working in government as a UH Hobby Center for Public Policy intern in the office of Houston City Council Member Michael Sullivan. She also participated in a congressional internship in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2009.
Rachel actively volunteers in her community. She spends time helping the less fortunate members of the community by providing food, clothing and house-cleaning services, and also contributes time at a shelter for troubled boys and girls.
Rachel is interested in numerous policy issues including education, immigration, energy, and tax policy. Upon her return from Washington, D.C., Rachel will graduate in the fall of 2010. She seeks to attend law school and is interested in pursuing a career in politics.
Rachel is working in the office of Congressman Ted Poe (TX).
Jeneba Haffner is a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in communications. She gained government experience as a UH Hobby Center for Public Policy intern with Congressman Al Green’s district office. Jeneba has also worked on numerous political campaigns in the Houston area.
A native of Sierra Leone and recently naturalized U.S. citizen, Jeneba’s goals include earning a law degree and MBA. Her ultimate career objectives include becoming a child advocate attorney as well as a business owner.
Jeneba is working in the office of Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (TX).
Kaine Hampton is a senior finance major with an African-American studies minor at the University of Houston. He is the secretary for the Eta Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a leader in several other student organizations such as the N.A.A.C.P. and National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Kaine gained familiarity with local politics by working as a UH Hobby Center for Public Policy intern in the office of Council Member Ronald Green. He is most interested in policy issues such as education, health, and civil rights.
Kaine ultimately plans on earning a law degree, specializing in either corporate or criminal law.
Kaine is working in the office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA).
Janae Ladet is a University of Houston junior majoring in political science with a minor in English literature. Her initial step into public service was as a UH Hobby Center for Public Policy intern in the office of Houston City Council Member Wanda Adams, where she researched issues particularly affecting District D and attended town hall meetings.
Janae cares deeply about education policy and one day hopes to help close the achievement gap for poor and minority students. She is now seeking to close the gap by working with KIPP Academy (Knowledge is Power Program) in an after-school program helping disadvantaged students attend college. She has also volunteered at numerous non-profit organizations such as the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center.
Janae intends to work in government for a year before seeking a dual degree in law and public affairs or public administration at the University of Texas or Texas Southern University. She then plans to pursue a career in public service focusing on public policy.
Janae is working in the office off Congressman Chet Edwards (TX).
José Eduardo Sanchez is a junior political science major at the University of Houston-Downtown. José was born and raised in a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico, but has called Houston home for the latter part of his life.
José's policy interests include immigration, wage and labor, education and civil rights. He is committed to social justice and expanding the realm of opportunity for underserved and underrepresented communities. As an intern at the Houston Interfaith Workers Justice Center, José has worked to promote the rights of low-wage and immigrant workers. He has served as an advocate for individual worker’s cases as well as taken part in activist and outreach activities with the organization.
Upon graduation, José plans to continue working in the non-profit field and eventually pursue a graduate degree in public policy or international relations.
José is working in the office of Congressman Gene Green (TX).
Bobby Ray Williams is a Texas Southern University (TSU) graduate student in the master of public administration program. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science with a minor in communication studies from Prairie View A&M University.
Bobby Ray's political experience includes serving as a volunteer for Travis County as an elections clerk, as a campaign volunteer for the Mayor Lee P. Brown Re-Election Campaign in Houston, and as a field operations intern for the Mark Strama for State Representative Campaign. He is a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association, and is an active member of the Boy Scouts of America, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons of Texas and Jurisdictions, and served as the Senate Chair of the Student Government Association at TSU during the 2008-09 academic year.
Bobby Ray's professional experience includes working for Prairie View City Treasurer Birdie Clark and as a Texas Legislative Intern in the office of State Representative Mark Strama of Austin. Most recently, he served as a district aide to State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston.
Bobby Ray is interested in continuing his education by obtaining a law degree, and ultimately wants to blend a career in both music and public service.
Bobby Ray is working in the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX).
Tonya Chissell-Williams is a graduating senior majoring in political science at the University of Houston-Downtown. A native of New Orleans, Tonya served as the student body president of Delgado Community College, a member of the Council of Student Body Presidents, and as a Louisiana Community & Technical College System board member.
Tonya is active in public service, recently completing a UH Hobby Center for Public Policy internship in the office of Houston City Council Member Jarvis Johnson and currently serving as a women’s ministry leader. She is also the 2009 recipient of the Beverly Kaufman scholarship awarded by Women Professionals in Government.
Upon the conclusion of her internship in D.C., Tonya’s future goals include obtaining a master’s degree in public administration or political science.
Tonya is working in the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX).