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Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax; 713/743-8199

January 15, 2004

Contact: Angie Joe
713/743-8153 (office)
713/617-7138 (pager)


It took more than a year for Farhana Qureshi, a University of Houston senior, to prepare her parents for her big plans.

From the moment she heard about the prestigious Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program, Qureshi knew that she wanted to participate. In moving forward, she went through a mental checklist of steps necessary to achieve that goal.

For experience, Qureshi took on two internships in Houston, one in former Mayor Lee Brown’s office and the other in U.S. Rep. Chris Bell’s district office. That was the easy part.

“I come from a conservative family, and neither my parents nor I had any plans of me moving away any time soon,” said the Southeast Asian American. “That all changed with the Leland Program. In order to gain my parents’ approval, I knew that I had to convince them that I was serious about going to Washington.”

Her tenacity paid off. After Qureshi was named one of six Leland interns, her parents, who emigrated from Bangladesh, have been more than supportive.

The six students from UH and Texas Southern University have earned themselves a place in the Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program this spring in the nation’s capital. The program was founded by the late congressman to give students an opportunity to work in national politics. Today, the program is open to juniors and seniors from Houston’s two public universities. It is administered by UH’s Center for Public Policy.

Students will be honored at a reception Wednesday, Jan. 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the UH Alumni Center, 3100 Cullen Blvd. Media covering the event are invited to attend.

The 2004 Leland interns and their university affiliation are Neinka Bowden (TSU), Grace Lee (UH), Ajanea Miles (UH), Amit Patel (UH), Stephen Payne (TSU), and Farhana Qureshi (UH).

Since its inception in 1981, the Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program has placed nearly 200 students from TSU and UH as interns in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Upon completion of the program, students earn 12-15 credit hours toward their degree.

Major sponsors of the program include UH, Houston Endowment and Continental Airlines.

WHAT: Reception honoring the 2004 Mickey Leland Congressional Interns
WHEN: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2004
WHERE: University of Houston Alumni Center, 3100 Cullen Blvd.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.