Meet the 2008 Mickey Leland Congressional Interns
Standing, left to right: Ralph Weatherspoon, Brian Worchesik, J.P. Cortez, LaKeshia McBride, Todd Hendricks & Mary Panzu. Seated: Erin Toolan & Eronn Putman.
Read the UH media release about this year's Leland interns.
John-Paul (J.P.) Cortez was born in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was raised in Houston’s Near North Side. He is a senior at the University of Houston-Downtown majoring in political science with a minor in history. Interested in politics and public service, J.P. is a member of the Harris County Tejano Democrats and is involved with many non-profit agencies in the North Side community. J.P. plans to earn a graduate degree and hopes to one day serve his community as an elected official.
J.P. is working in the office of Congressman Gene Green (Houston).
Todd Hendricks is a junior at the University of Houston with a major in political science and minor in English. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and continues his military service as a drilling reservist. While attending UH, he has presided over the UH Young Democrats and volunteered on the Barbara Radnofsky for Senate and Melissa Noriega for City Council campaigns. Todd hopes to attend University of Texas Law School, become a commissioned naval intelligence officer and pursue a career in public service.
Todd is working in the office of Congressman Al Green (Houston).
LaKeshia McBride is a senior at Texas Southern University majoring in sociology with a minor in English. She is a member of Lambda Iota Tau and the Sociology Scholar's Association and is on the Dean's List. LaKeshia is involved on and off campus as a community organizer and activist, with previous experience working at The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California. Her interests include public policy, advocacy and research.
LaKeshia is working in the office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (Dallas).
Mary Panzu was born in San Antonio and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She later moved to Fort Worth, where she attended Oscar Dean Wyatt High School. Mary earned a Bachelor of Science in administration of justice from Texas Southern University in 2001. She is currently studying law at TSU's Thurgood Marshall School of Law and will receive her Juris Doctorate in May 2009. Mary holds a strong interest in fostering positive growth in her community, confronting educational dilemmas in public schools, and keeping justice the number one priority in the judicial system.
Mary is working in the office of Congressman Charles Gonzalez (San Antonio).
Eronn Putman is a junior at the University of Houston, and plans to graduate a semester early in December 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in political science and a minor in Africana studies. Eronn has been inducted into five national honor societies and has remained on the Dean’s List throughout her collegiate career. Before moving to Washington, she worked as the administrator and event coordinator for The Progressive Forum, a civic speaker organization. Upon completion of her undergraduate work, Eronn will pursue a law degree with a concentration in personal injury law and tort reforms from Baylor Law School. With an interest in public policy and the legal system, she hopes to work as a lawyer in the District Attorney’s office.
Eronn is working in the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Houston).
Erin Toolan is a junior at the University of Houston and is double-majoring in political science and French. A native Houstonian, Erin received the Rencontres Internationales de Jeunes (RIJ) Grant from the French government to study abroad during the past two summers. While in France, she contributed as an international guest writer for “Jazz Au Coeur,” a local French jazz newspaper covering the famous Marciac Jazz Festival. A little closer to home, Erin worked as a Hobby Center for Public Policy government intern in Mayor White's Office of Governmental Affairs in 2007. Erin plans to attend Columbia Law School and study international law.
Erin is working in the office of Congressman Nick Lampson (Houston).
Ralph Weatherspoon, Jr was born in Rolla, a small town in Missouri. Ralph served 4 active duty years with the U.S. Marine Corps, guarding both Presidents Bush and Clinton at Camp David and the White House. He is now a senior political science major at the University of Houston-Downtown and will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army this summer. Ralph recently worked as a Hobby Center for Public Policy government intern in the office of Houston City Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem Adrian Garcia. Ralph plans to pursue a law degree and master’s degree in security management before serving as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer in the Army.
Ralph is working in the office of Congressman Chet Edwards (Waco).
Brian Worchesik was born and raised in Houston. He is a senior at the University of Houston majoring in political science with a minor in economics. Brian thrived in his first foray into government as a Hobby Center for Public Policy intern working for Houston City Council Member Peter Brown. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree this May, Brian plans to attend law school and to eventually enter public service.
Brian is working in the office of Congressman Ted Poe (Houston).