View the 2015 Hobby Fellows Scrapbook.
Roel Benavides participated in the Hobby Fellows as a post-baccalaureate student, having graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science in December 2014.
Roel obtained his first internship with State Senator Sylvia Garcia through the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP). He also worked as a Hobby Center for Public Policy Civic Houston Intern for Congressman Pete Olson.
As a legislative aide for Representative Jim Murphy, Roel assisted the office in a variety of ways. He helped staff with legislative research, managed social media activities, and met with constituents and lobbyists. When Rep. Murphy became chair of the House Committee on Corrections, Roel was given the opportunity to become an assistant committee clerk, where he conducted research pertaining to prisons, jails, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Holding these two positions simultaneously gave him the chance to interact with more people and issues that affect the State of Texas.
Mariah Berry participated in the Hobby Fellows program as a post‐baccalaureate student, having graduated from the Honors College at the University of Houston with a degree in political science and a minor in Phronesis in December 2014.
Prior to her selection as a Hobby Fellow, Mariah worked as a Hobby Center for Public Policy Civic Houston Intern for Justice Jim Sharp's reelection campaign. Additionally, as a University of Houston Student Government Association member, she registered students to vote.
As a policy analyst in the office of State Representative Gene Wu, Mariah was the lead on the Representative's human services bills. She conducted research and briefed Rep. Wu for committee hearings and floor debates, and she followed the legislation of several committees including Public Health, Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, Emerging Issues in Law Enforcement, and Human Services. Mariah also regularly met with consultants and constituents with concerns in these subject areas.
Candace Caruthers was a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in sociology during her internship.
Candace previously interned in the office of Council Member Larry Green as a Hobby Center for Public Policy Civic Houston Intern and volunteered on the Rita Lucido for State Senate Campaign in 2014. Candace also served and represented the University of Houston as an orientation team leader and as the senior resident advisor of Moody Towers.
While working as a Hobby Fellow for Representative Ana Hernandez, Candace conducted policy research, wrote briefings, followed legislation and met with constituents and lobbyists. Her primary areas of concentration included bills relating to pensions, public employee benefits, veterans and human trafficking.
Yvette Hernandez was a University of Houston senior majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish studies while working as a Hobby Fellow at the Capitol.
Yvette gained experience working as a Hobby Center for Public Policy Civic Houston Intern with Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez's office. She also worked part-time for Houston City Council Member At-Large David Robinson while attending UH.
During the legislative session, Yvette served as a policy analyst for Representative Carol Alvarado, working on legislative research and meeting with constituents and lobbyists. She learned about the legislative process by working on numerous bills involving Career Technology Education (CTE), child care facilities, and mandatory labeling of foods sold containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Yvette also staffed Rep. Alvarado on several committees, including Rules and Resolutions, General Investigating and Ethics, and Government Transparency and Operation.
William Janowski was a junior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in law, values and policy.
After serving 4 years in the Army, William entered the political world looking for a new way to serve the public. William gained experience working as an intern in State Representative Jessica Farrar’s district office through the Hobby Center for Public Policy’s Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP).
Working as a legislative assistant in Representative Jessica Farrar's office sparked William's interest in environmental issues. William frequently met with constituents, lobbyist and interest groups to understand all aspects of his policy areas, which included environmental regulation, LGBT issues within state affairs, criminal jurisprudence, defense & veterans' affairs, and homeland and public safety. He also frequently attended discussions on topics such as the EPA's clean power plan, the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, and Chairman Nelson’s weekly panel on issues concerning the Public Utility Commission.
Emily Kusnerik was a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in laws, values and policy.
Prior to her selection as a Hobby Fellow, Emily worked in the office of Councilmember Brenda Stardig and the office of the City Controller as a Hobby Center for Public Policy Civic Houston Intern.
While serving as a legislative aide for the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures, Emily worked with agencies, lobbyists and other legislative staff to provide updated information and action reports for bills within committee. She strived to maintain efficiency and punctuality by organizing bill lists and interpreting their intent. She routinely worked to analyze and review all bills and their respective paperwork in order to submit accurate committee reports in compliance with House rules, procedures, and precedents to the full Texas House of Representatives.
Emma Oliver was a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in national security studies, graduating in fall 2014.
Emma worked as a legislative intern with State Representative Carol Alvarado’s office in the spring of 2014 through the Hobby Center for Public Policy’s Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP).
During the legislative session, Emma was State Representative Sylvester Turner's staffer for the State Affairs and Appropriations committees, as well as an analyst for the policy areas of education, women's reproductive rights, energy, and utilities. She worked on ten of Rep. Turner's bills, most of them related to consumer protections in the electricity industry and educational equity. She was impacted most by H.B. 767, a bill which would make Texas the first state to require student athletes to receive an electrocardiogram, in addition to a history and physical exam, before participation in athletics.
Eric Schroeder participated in the Hobby Fellowship after graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA from the University of Houston in December 2014. He received a bachelor of science in political science with a minor in quantitative social science.
In the Capitol, Eric served as a policy analyst for State Representative Garnet Coleman and focused on mental health legislation. He helped guide several bills through the legislature, finessing drafted bills to appease conflicting interests, pushing for hearings and votes, preparing witnesses for testimony, organizing Rep. Coleman's notes, and finding joint authors and Senate sponsors. He is most proud of passing HB 2216, which eliminated a discriminatory and outdated mental health question on the state driver license application.