Public administration student Heather Riddle interns under the Office of the Speaker, the Honorable Joe Straus.
By Michelle Skidmore
UTSA College of Public Policy Public Administration undergraduate student was recently selected for the UTSA Legislative Scholars Program. The UTSA Legislative Scholars Program is a collaborative initiative between Texas State Representative Ruth Jones McClendon and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Coordinated by the Honors College, the program provides undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to serve as interns in the Texas House of Representatives during regular legislative sessions. Through an endowment made possible by the Honors College, Riddle was able to receive a stipend to pay for some of her living expenses in Austin, TX. Riddle is interning in the State House of Representatives in Austin under the Honorable Joe Straus, and the internship will run through June 1, 2015.
Riddle, who is studying public administration and minoring in political science and women’s studies, received notification on Nov. 10th that she was a contingent for the Legislative Scholars Program. She heard about the program from the Honors College of the University of Texas at San Antonio. During her internship, Riddle will have the opportunity to participate in the legislative process, participate in committee hearings, write proposal packets, perform research, and meet with stakeholders.
Here is how her journey began: A Midland, TX native, Riddle moved to San Antonio when she was nine. She started studying photography and decided that it was not for her. She met a friend who convinced her to go to UTSA. Her major was undecided, but at some point she became very passionate about political science. She grew a passion for public policy creation but never wanted to be a politician. She tapped into her strengths and her interests and realized she would best honor her commitment to public service by providing input into policy that affects people for the betterment of society. She decided to apply for the Legislative Scholars Program where she could gain valuable experience working alongside legislators within the Texas House of Representatives and study ways to implement changes and improvements to current practices and policies. Riddle feels her experience will enable her to tackle many challenging issues, in particular, issues facing women today such as reproductive rights, access to health care, education, and poverty.
Riddle acknowledged one of her professors whom she felt was very influential during the course of her journey. “Dr. Jaramillo was probably the most influential professor that I’ve had at UTSA,” Riddle stated. “She was extremely helpful; she went above and beyond the call of duty.” “She made sure if I had any questions, they were answered and if I had any concerns, she tried to address them.” Dr. Jaramillo had some kind words to express about Heather: “Heather is one of the strongest writers I have seen at the undergraduate-level, even early in her studies.” “It is so rewarding to see how her communication and presentation stills have grown to match her strong writing.” “Overall, Heather is an amazing student,” stated Dr. Jaramillo. Riddle goes on to state that Dr. Jaramillo offered feedback to help produce the best product possible in order for Riddle to be successful.
Heather Riddle is working toward her bachelor’s degree in public administration and expects to graduate May 2015.