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Students accepted into D.C. fellowship program

Sergio Garcia

Courtrtesy Photo
Courtrtesy Photo

Andrea Perez and Kathryn Brough, both mass communication seniors at UTRGV, arrived in Washington, D.C., Aug. 22 to take part in the Archer Fellowship Program.

The program was developed by William “Bill” Reynolds Archer Jr., a retired lawyer who served in the Texas and U.S. House of Representatives, in conjunction with the University of Texas System to offer students internship opportunities with a number of different agencies and organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CNN, CNN Español and American Federation of Teachers (AFT), according to archercenter.org.

Mark Andersen, dean of the UTRGV Honors College and local coordinator for the program, said it “is a great opportunity for students in the UT System” who want to pursue internships in Washington D.C.

“And, of course, that’s a major thing, a life-changing opportunity, so a lot of students want to do that, but in most of the rest of the country, students are pretty much on their own finding internships in D.C.,” Andersen said.

He said there are only about 40 slots in the program, so not everyone is accepted. Students must submit their application via archercenter.org. They are screened and interviewed by the corresponding coordinator for each campus.

To apply, students must have:
–an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or higher;
–previous work or internship experience;
–campus leadership and/or community involvement;
–junior or senior status;
–24 credit hours completed in-residence; and
–completion of basic government requirements.

Students must submit a résumé, personal statement, policy essay, list of potential internships, two letters of recommendation, unofficial transcript and a signed disclosure statement.

The application deadline for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 is Feb. 15. Applicants usually receive letters of acceptance by April. However, Brough recommends that students should “really start early” with the application process.

Perez said, “If anyone is interested, there’s going to be help out there for them. They are not doing the application process alone; people will help them.”

There are certain fees that need to be covered by the student, according to the archercenter.org; however, Andersen explained that UTRGV covers the program’s fees.

Perez said expenses such as housing, meals and transportation while in the city and the cost of traveling to Washington could be covered by financial aid, scholarships and monetary aid from the Archer Center.

This program lasts one semester. After completion of the program, students receive 15 credit hours, according to archercenter.org.

Bernadette Perez, who was enrolled in the program during Spring 2016, said it “encourages the students to become leaders.” She advises other students to apply because the program also teaches them “how to think out of the box and to see how we can work toward a better America.”

Perez said the Archer Center staff is “supportive of our ideas and that helps a lot, especially when you are in a city that you are not familiar with.” The program not only helped her achieve personal goals, but also decide what she wanted to do for her long-term career.

For more information on the program, visit www.archercenter.org or call Andersen at 665-2341.

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