Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Students discuss experiences in the Archer Fellowship Program

Founded in 2001, the Archer Fellowship Program is an internship based in Washington D.C. The program provides undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Texas system the opportunity to learn and grow in their respective career fields during the fall or spring semester. 

The motivation to apply to this program is different for each student. In the case of Brandon Hobza, a recent Archer Fellowship recipient, he applied for the unique opportunities it would grant him. 

“I applied to the Archer Fellowship Program to gain a unique insight into how legislation is created,” Hobza said. “I also looked forward to the opportunity to intern in our nation’s capital to increase environmental protection across the country.”

Applying for the Archer Fellowship Program takes dedication, as applicants must submit a resume, personal statement, policy essay, list of potential internship sites, two letters of recommendation, an official transcript and a signed disclosure statement. However, when students discover they have been accepted into the Archer Fellowship Program they are delighted, like Spring 2023 Archer Fellow Madeline Aguilar. 

I was so excited,” Aguilar said. “I had started working on the application a few months before. I had some help from the UTSA Honors College with preparing my written materials, practicing for my interview, and getting letters of recommendation. I was so happy to get to tell my advisors and letter writers that I had been accepted.”

Participating in the Archer Fellowship Program allows students to do activities such as taking classes on the site of national monuments or experiencing firsthand how policy is formed.

“The highlights I had during my time in the Archer Fellowship were having class on the National Mall while debating about important social issues that affect the entire United States,” Hobza said.  “Additionally, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how policy is created through my internship at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.” 

Along with highlights of their time with the Archer Fellowship Program, these previous fellowship recipients also have their own views on why students should apply for the program. 

The Archer Fellowship is a great way to get introduced to the world of policy and governance for anybody who thinks they may be even a little bit interested in that,” Brianna Diaz, a previous Archer Fellow, said. “Before I did Archer, I think I had a very limited view of what working in policy could look like — aka, working on Capitol Hill — but now I understand that there are all sorts of ways you can influence policy and your community, so it really broadened the pathways I was considering for myself.”

These former Archer Fellows also have advice for those who have recently been accepted into the program, or who may be accepted in the future. 

I would definitely start the internship search early,” Aguilar said. “It really takes up a lot of your time the semester before you participate, but it’s so worth it, and the search teaches you a lot before you even get to D.C.”

When their time in the Archer Fellowship Program is over, the knowledge and experience that students gain in their respective internships continues to benefit them long after they return from Washington D.C. The program helps hone skills they will need for their career, and helps them realize passions they had not considered prior to joining the program. 

“I really appreciated the opportunity to explore different ways into education policy, through my own internship and through talking with other education-minded folks in my program,” Diaz said. “Even though I’m no longer considering a career directly in policy, Archer helped shape my passion for youth civic engagement and civic education, which is what I study now as a doctoral researcher in developmental psychology. Hopefully, as I continue my career as an education researcher, I can produce research that helps policymakers and educators understand what our young citizens need in order to thrive. Being an Archer Fellow helped me realize how important civic education programs are for young people finding their places in the world.”

For more information on the Archer Fellowship or to apply for the program, visit archercenter.org or honors.utsa.edu/programs/archer-fellowship.html

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Jada Thomas, Marketing Manager
Jada (she/they) is a communications major with a concentration in public relations, currently in her senior year. This is her seventh semester with The Paisano, and her time here has influenced her desire to pursue a career in media, public relations, or journalism after graduation. She is well known for being passionate about an array of topics — the most notable of which being superheroes, reading, writing, movies, and music.

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