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Harris Fellows 2021

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Cassidy Lee is a senior political science and Spanish dual degree student in the Honors College at the University of Houston. She also is pursuing a minor in interpersonal communication.

In spring 2021, Cassidy gained experience through the Civic Houston Internship Program in the office of State Representative Armando Walle. During this internship, Cassidy assisted with constituent services and attended local meetings on behalf of the office.  She enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the Houston community.

Cassidy is a mentor in the Honors College Mentorship Program, where she assists incoming students with the transition to life as a UH Cougar. She also is the Vice-President of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science National Honor Society; the Secretary for Omicron Delta Kappa; and the Parliamentarian for the Model Arab League Delegation. She also works in the Student Services Office in the Honors College, where she assists current and prospective students with admissions, scholarships, and general information.

Cassidy is working in the office of Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth.

 

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Miguel Macias is a senior at the University of Houston pursuing a degree in political science with a minor in business administration.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Miguel served as an English/Spanish call screener for Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, and was able to help prioritize questions from constituents to be addressed by the Congresswoman and her team.  He enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to his community while working full-time and going to school.

Selected as a 2020 Leland Fellow, Miguel gained experience in the office of Congressman Vicente Gonzalez.  In this role, he was able to attend briefings and panels on immigration, affordable housing, and veterans' affairs.  In spring 2021, Miguel was selected as a Hobby Fellow and worked in the office of Senator John Whitmire as a staff member on the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice.

Miguel is working in the office of Harris County Treasurer Dylan Osborne.

 

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Mariela Rea is a junior at the University of Houston pursuing a dual degree in political science and Spanish.

A first generation college student, Mariela has been greatly inspired by her community to pursure public service.  She has been a part of organizations such as Students Together Assisting Refugees and the Southeast Women's Goodwill Ambassadors. Through these organizations, she has been able to make a change in the lives of others through fundraisers and volunteering at local shelters.  She hopes to bring her passion for these issues to future opportunities.

Mariela interned with BakerRipley through the Civic Houston Internship. Sitting in on city council meetings, she was able to see first hand how neighborhood centers contribute to the public’s needs and has worked to continuously assist those around them. She has additional volunteering experience through food distributions with both Baker Ripley and local churches.

Mariela is working in the office of Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

 

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Karla Rodriguez is a senior at the University of Houston pursuing a dual degree in political science and history.

Karla's passion for local government began with her studies at UH.  Through the courses led by distinguished faculty, she was exposed to the high level of impact that it has on the community.  On campus, she is involved with University of Houston College Democrats as a staffer to the Vote Registration Officer.  In this role, she is able to bring her passion for voting to UH in an attempt to increase student participation in elections.

In 2018, Karla worked on the campaigns of Beto O’Rourke and Sylvester Turner. In fall 2020, she gained experience through the Civic Houston Internship Program in the office of State Representative Mary Ann Perez.  She also interned with BakerRipley in spring 2021.

Karla is working in the office of Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria.

 

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Sumaya Siddiqui is a junior honors student at the University of Houston pursuing a degree in business administration and marketing with a certificate in social entrepreneurship.

On campus, Sumaya is involved with the Muslim Student Association, the largest faith-based organization at UH, serving as an Education & Interfaith Intern and subsequently the Interfaith Coordinator in 2020. In her local community, Sumaya serves as the Coordinator for Young Muslim’s of Katy, a youth group which aims to foster self-confidence in young Muslim women.

Sumaya gained public service experience through the Civic Houston Internship Program in fall 2020 with the League of Women Voters of Houston. With the League, Sumaya aided in various marketing and communications tasks such as crafting inclusive visual and written content for social media, and creating monthly newsletters to mobilize Houston voters leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election.  Sumaya also worked in State Representative Ana-Maria Ramos’ office during the 87th regular legislative session and was awarded the inaugural Democratic Muslim Texan Legislative Fellowship.

Sumaya is working in the office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

 

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Emily Tristan is a senior at the University of Houston pursuing a degree in political science and a minor in public relations.

Emily has always enjoyed public service. Off campus she volunteers with many organizations, including the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Latin Community Center, Avenue CDC, the Houston Foodbank, and the Houston Independent School District. During her time as a volunteer she has collected and distributed food to underserved communities, organized toy drives, made meals for the homeless, helped with numerous back to school drives and much more.

Prior to being selected as a Harris Fellow, Emily participated in the Civic Houston Internship Program in spring 2021 where she gained experience in the office of Council Member Sallie Alcorn. During her time with Council Member Alcorn, Emily created project proposals, researched and analyzed ordinances, took notes on council meetings, and addressed constituent concerns.  On campus, she holds active membership status for the University of Houston College Democrats, Sigma Kappa, and is an officer on the Cougar Wrestling Team.

Emily is working in the office of Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis.