LBJ School students gain work experience across policy sectors | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Students from the LBJ School have the opportunity to personalize their career paths through real-world, hands on experience. In fact, the school requires a 400-hour minimum internship placement in a policy-related position to complement students’ academic training and offer exposure to a variety of career options and opportunities.

This summer is no different, and LBJ School students are gaining work experience across policy sectors…

Crime and Criminal Justice

Ryan Carlino (MPAff ’19)

Also pictured: Bailey Gray (Dual LBJ/Social Work)

Ryan is spending his summer as a policy associate with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC), which works to advance solutions that transform the adult and youth justice systems to support families and foster safer communities. He said, ““My internship has provided me with an invaluable experience to apply the research, writing and analytic skills that I learned my first year at LBJ to on-the-ground issues.”


"I have also noticed that LBJ alumni are everywhere in the state, and people in the policy world are very receptive and excited to work with LBJ students.”


"I am writing a policy report about LGBTQ people in the Texas criminal justice system. As of right now, no comprehensive report on the challenges and issues LGBTQ people face in relation to the justice system in Texas exists, so this could be groundbreaking research,” Ryan said. “I have gained a deeper understanding of the criminal justice policy world in Texas, met some amazing, inspiring people, and hopefully will contribute to policy-making in a meaningful way. I have also noticed that LBJ alumni are everywhere in the state, and people in the policy world are very receptive and excited to work with LBJ students.”

Development

Melanie Levine (MPAff DC Fellow ’18)

 

Find your #mondaymotivation with DC Fellow Melanie Levine (MPAff ‘18). Melanie, a graduate fellow with the @worldcocoafoundation, says of her experience: "The World Cocoa Foundation is a dynamic global non-profit that works at the nexus of public and private sectors to make transformational change in the cocoa supply chain. We focus on environmental and social sustainability issues in the sector, with a special focus on tackling farmer livelihoods issues, fighting deforestation, and eliminating child labor. Since my professional background has been centered around development projects through U.S. government contracts, this private sector exposure has been very enlightening. I am inspired by the commitments that many global food companies have made to improve the way cocoa is sourced - especially in West Africa. This summer I am writing a research paper about opportunities and challenges for cocoa sector investment in Colombia - a country with high cocoa production potential that has yet to be tapped due to years of conflict and influence by the illegal drug industry. Investment in sustainable cocoa could be a key driver to improve rural livelihoods across Colombia, and I will explore this further over the next five months."

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Melanie is a graduate fellow with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) headquarters in Washington, D.C. WCF’s social, economic and environmental stewardship promotes a sustainable cocoa economy.

Melanie said, “The World Cocoa Foundation is a dynamic global non-profit that works at the nexus of public and private sectors to make transformational change in the cocoa supply chain. We focus on environmental and social sustainability issues in the sector, with a special focus on tackling farmer livelihoods issues, fighting deforestation, and eliminating child labor. Since my professional background has been centered around development projects through U.S. government contracts, this private sector exposure has been very enlightening.”

“I am inspired by the commitments that many global food companies have made to improve the way cocoa is sourced - especially in West Africa. This summer I am writing a research paper about opportunities and challenges for cocoa sector investment in Colombia - a country with high cocoa production potential that has yet to be tapped due to years of conflict and influence by the illegal drug industry,” she said. “Investment in sustainable cocoa could be a key driver to improve rural livelihoods across Colombia, and I will explore this further over the next five months."

Emily Brehob (MGPS) 

Emily Brehob spent the summer interning with Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), a hub of activity that coordinates the advoacy efforts of major players in the aid effectiveness community. Emily worked with MFAN's partners to track aid effectiveness legislative priorities, including in the Farm Bill reauthorization, the 2019 appropriations bills, the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act and Violence Reduction Act. 

"I then supported MFAN's efforts to strategically respond to opportunities for aid effectiveness reform, working with congressional offices on the introduction of new amendments, organizing events to emphasize the importance of MFAN's aid effectiveness principles and collaborating on blog posts and statements in support of favorable legislation," Emily said. 

Energy and Environment

Laura Sigelmann (Dual MGPS/Energy and Earth Resources)

Blending her academic experiences as a dual degree student with MGPS and Energy and Earth Resources, Laura is an intern with the United Nations Environment Programme (known as UNEP or UN Environment) in Nairobi, Kenya. She is working as part of the Climate Change Adaption Unit. Laura said she works on developing a set of tools to help strengthen the ability of adaptation projects to catalyze future low carbon or climate resilient development.

“Rather than being a one-off project, these new proposals can create truly transformative change in countries that otherwise would not have the resources to adapt to climate effects,” she said. “One of the things I value the most about my internship is that I'm in a setting that is incredibly multicultural - my coworkers are from Kenya, the UK, Canada, Italy, France, Cameroon, Eritrea, Germany, Norway, China, and many others. The community of interns is equally multicultural, and I've made friends and learned about cultures across the world.”


“I'm also lucky to be at the UN headquarters in Africa, where I can connect and network with leaders in the field while also exploring a beautiful country." 


“I'm also lucky to be at the UN headquarters in Africa, where I can connect and network with leaders in the field while also exploring a beautiful country. Kenya has phenomenal parks, wildlife, and cities, all within a few hours’ drive. Overall, this is a really special opportunity, and I understand why there are so many expats in Nairobi - it's so easy to fall in love with the city, the people and the wildlife.”

Dori Grabinski (MPAff) 

Dori is an intern with West Street Recovery in Houston, Texas. West Street is a horizontally organized grassroots mutual aid group, which aims to build community power throughout the Hurricane Harvey recovery process.


"My time with West Street has emphasized that the only way to create resilient communities and restore families to safe, dignified homes is to ask people what they need and amplify their voices throughout the policymaking process.” 


“This summer I have worked on home rebuilds, case management and advocacy efforts geared towards improving the recovery process for Houston’s most vulnerable communities,” Dori said. “The highlight of this work, by far, has been the opportunity to forge deep relationships with residents and hear their stories about the storm and the year that has followed. I have found these relationships to be both personally rewarding and crucial to informing the policies that affect their lives. My time with West Street has emphasized that the only way to create resilient communities and restore families to safe, dignified homes is to ask people what they need and amplify their voices throughout the policymaking process.” 

Health

Tamara Keeney (MPAff '19)

Tamara is an intern with the Office of Transformation and Innovation housed with Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

“The Office of Transformation and Innovation serves as the agency’s internal think tank and consultancy by leading process improvement and implementing innovative solutions,” Tamara explained. “My work this summer has focused on the legislature's $300 million investment to improve the network of state hospitals in Texas. Throughout the internship, I have been able to use my background in behavioral health policy to help our office conceptualize a continuum of care for Texans with a serious and persistent mental illness. I've greatly appreciated the opportunity to gain in-depth exposure to programs serving this population and learn from the HHSC staff doing the work.”

Hayden English (MGPS/MPH Dual Degree)

Hayden English is an intern with the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, acting as a project manager for approximately a dozen projects across International Operations including business development, cybersecurity and strategic planning. 

"My major projects have been quite varied and include building a strategic growth plan for the clinic in Europe, monthly financial analysis of our global operations, business development in Latin America, process mapping and reorganization and internal cybersecurity policy and procedures developed nation-by-nation," Hayden said. "Several of these more major projects have involved research into and analysis of public health in both Europe and Latin America. In nations where public health is a state-funded priority—nearly everywhere except the US—the opportunities for private hospitals are very different and the market strategies are necessarily altered to target specific population segments."

Education

Wayne Holstine (MPAff '19) 

Wayne is an intern with the Andy Roddick Foundation in Austin, Texas. 

"I've had so much fun working with the Andy Roddick Foundation this summer! Their mission is to work with their community to expand opportunities for young people to learn, thrive and succeed," Wayne said. "This summer I've had the opportunity to fulfill this mission by working with their summer learning program to provide East Austin students the opportunity to continue learning outside of the normal school-time schedule. I've been able to see the students grow through the summer and see how the foundation impacts the students and their families."

Foreign Policy

William Hayward (MGPS '19)

William Hayward is an intern with Foreign Policy for America, a nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. The organization is building a diverse and active network of Americans who are committed to defending diplomacy and standing up for principled American engagement in the world. 

"My work focused on identifying and promoting candidates for Congress who will champion our country's highest values," William said. "This internship gave me the opportunity to conduct research, interview candidates and write endorsements for the organization. The skills I learned at LBJ were invaluable in allowing me to make a meaningful contribution to Foreign Policy for America's mission this summer."


To learn more about the LBJ School’s degree programs, visit our degree programs page.

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