UT students study government in nation’s capitol


As one of UTD’s representatives in the Bill Archer fellowship program, senior Thomas Tracy is living in D.C. and working with environmental issues.

The Archer fellowship is for UT-System students, however; only five of the universities currently send students to the two-year-old program.

Tracy lives with 20 other fellowship recipients in Arlington, VA from where he commutes to the capitol.

“I really enjoy it… there’s a shuttle to take you to work everyday,” said Tracy.

He said the transition from UTD life has been overwhelming, because he is working, schooling and living in a totally new city with a very different atmosphere.

Tracy works for the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive where he works directly with staff, according to Tracy.

“They take me to meetings, and I get to sit in on speeches and discussions. They’re really good at making you part of the office,” Tracy said.

Tracy said he applied to the program, but did not think he would be accepted.

“Just being in government you learn that D.C. is the place where it happens. You can read it in books, but it’s better to check it out for yourself,” Tracy said.

Former UTD Mercury staff member Chad Eggspuehler is currently working at the U.S. Supreme Court building. He said he has met Chief Justice W.H. Rehnquist. Eggspeuhler also bought a bow tie, to better fit in.

He said he had been playing basketball with the Supreme Court clerks and has made good contacts as a result. They may be able to help him become an aid, when he finishes law school, Eggspuehler said.

Former Student Government Association member Sarah Islam is working at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Islam said she is enjoying her experience, but knows it might not be for everyone.

“Students might want to do internships in Dallas, first, and foster a good relationship with their professors, so that they know what to expect,” Islam said.

Islam said she was originally a pre-med cognitive science major, but her involvement with politics has made her more interested in the field of public policy.

Archer fellows come from different disciplines, according to the Archer Center Web site. The application emphasizes that anyone from any field can apply.

“If there’s something in D.C. you’d like to do there’s probably something they can do to work with you,” said Gina Felts, administrative assistant for undergraduate studies.

Felts acts as the coordinator for the current effort to get more UTD students into the Archer program.

“UTD first sent students in the spring of 2002. We sent five students that first year and have sent up to five every semester since,” said Felts.

The March 19 application deadline is quickly approaching for the 2004-05 UT-system’s Bill Archer fellowship.

Undergraduate students who have completed at least 60 hours are eligible.

The fellowship combines a semester-long stay in Washington, D.C., with 12 hours of upper-division credit. Students take three academic courses and receive three hours for their internship.

Finalists will be notified by March 26 and will be expected to participate in an interview to be scheduled on April 2. Students who are selected to participate in the program will be notified by April 12 and will be expected to accept or decline by April 16.

Detailed information about the fellowship and other Archer initiatives may be found on-line at http://www.utep.edu/archer/.


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