Thursday, January 4, 2024

Archer Fellowship brings Roadrunners to nation’s capital for policymaking internships

Archer Fellowship brings Roadrunners to nation’s capital for policymaking internships

OCTOBER 31, 2023 — Five UTSA undergraduate students have been chosen for the Bill Archer Fellowship Program for the 2023-2024 academic year. The program, which takes place each fall and spring, selects talented students from across the UT System and provides them with the opportunity to live, work and learn in Washington, D.C.

Archer Fellows get an in-depth look at policymaking, history and advocacy while interning full-time with various offices and organizations around the nation’s capital. Students choose where they will intern based on their professional goals and academic interests, with past fellows working in offices at the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations across D.C.

The fall cohort of Archer Fellows includes Thomas Fugate, a senior interning with The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program; Sebastian Gallegos, a senior working with the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Justus Mendoza, a junior who is interning with The Daschle Group. Seniors Victoria Kidder and Emily Seddighzadeh will finalize their internship selections and begin their fellowships in early 2024 with the spring cohort.

“This is an impactful study-away opportunity that gives students a chance to grow professionally and personally as they navigate and learn in a new city with their peers.”

The Bill Archer Fellowship was established in 2001 by the University of Texas System in conjunction with former U.S. Representative Bill Archer as a way to bring high-achieving Texas undergraduate students to Washington, D.C. for internships and education, and to develop the next generation of leaders in the public and private sectors.

“This is an impactful study-away opportunity that gives students a chance to grow professionally and personally as they navigate and learn in a new city with their peers,” said Jill Fleuriet, vice provost for honors education. “Students are gaining valuable skills in real time that will benefit them in a variety of career fields, including politics.”  

The Archer Fellowship is a competitive program available to undergraduate students of all majors and backgrounds, including those in and outside of the Honors College.  

The Honors College also ensures that all fixed costs like program fees and housing are fully covered for all UTSA Archer Fellows, increasing the program’s accessibility.

For this year’s fellows, the Archer program is a culmination of the many experiential learning opportunities the students have participated in while at UTSA, giving them an advantage both in school and in their post-college endeavors.

Fugate is an Honors College senior majoring in politics and law and a current Texas Civic Ambassador with UT Austin’s Annette Strauss Institute. During his Archer fellowship, he will learn about policy firsthand as a government relations intern with The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Prior to his selection as an Archer Fellow, he interned in the offices of U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro, Texas State Representative Steve Allison and Texas State Representative Terry Wilson. His involvement at UTSA includes serving as secretary general of the Model United Nations Society, attorney captain for the Legal Advocacy Association and mentoring his peers in the Pre-Law Association. Fugate hopes to work on a presidential campaign and attend law school after graduation.

Mendoza, a junior in the Honors College studying politics and law, is interning with the strategic advisory firm The Daschle Group. There, he is working as a public policy clerk and gaining a better understanding of the role lobbying plays in policymaking. His past internships include working as an office clerk for Hornberger Fuller Garza and Cohen Incorporated, a San Antonio law firm. Mendoza aspires to attend law school. He founded and served as president of the UTSA chapter of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and is a member of UTSA’s Pre-Law Association and Hispanic Students Association.

Gallegos, a finance major and Honors College senior, is working as an intern with the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of the White House Liaison (DOC OWHL), which provides staff support to the secretary, deputy secretary and other senior-level DOC officials. His prior hands-on learning experiences include interning at the Bexar County District Attorney's office with UTSA Citymester, an Honors College summer program where students work alongside local community partners and gain career and leadership skills. Gallegos also oversaw mock trials and moot courts as president of the university’s Legal Advocacy Association and is engaged in local voter registration efforts.

Gallegos interned in the office of Texas Senator José Menéndez earlier this year with the UTSA Legislative Fellows Program, where he lived and worked in Austin during the 88th Texas Legislative Session. He has benefited from the multitude of experience-based learning opportunities available at UTSA, and his extensive leadership and internship experiences are part of what made him a competitive candidate for the Archer Fellowship.

“With each honors experience, I have witnessed personal growth, and I have also gained a profound understanding of how government functions and its direct impact on my community,” said Gallegos. “Throughout my current internship, akin to my past ones, I find myself in a role where I actively contribute to meaningful projects that directly influence people’s lives. As I continue to live and experience D.C., I eagerly anticipate the many things I have yet to learn.”

In addition to the real-world knowledge obtained through their internships, Archer Fellows earn course credit during their time in Washington, D.C. by enrolling in classes on policy, history and advocacy that are taught by UT System faculty and local policy experts.

Visit the Archer Center.
⇒ Discover more transformative programs offered by the UTSA Honors College.

The UTSA Honors College offers all Roadrunners the opportunity to participate in several programs to expand their knowledge and foster their development as students and leaders. The college’s hands-on, classroom-to-career learning approach helps students grow outside the classroom through internships, community-based service learning, study abroad programs and undergraduate research.

As part of its strategic plan, UTSA aims for 75% of its undergraduate students to participate in some type of experiential learning by the time they graduate.

Chloe Johnson

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