BY Amanda Sotelo
Arelynn England and Montserrat Esquivel are making history as the first Texas State Technical College students to intern at a state representative’s office.
Within the next couple of months, both women will begin their internship with Texas State Representative Oscar Longoria in La Feria.
“This is a big deal,” said Esquivel. “Never in a million years did I expect to get this type of internship. It’s a great opportunity.”
England added, “I’m so excited to have been given a chance to do something like this. TSTC has given me nothing but great experiences and opportunities.”
Esquivel, an Agricultural Technology student and England a Biology student were recommended for this pilot internship program by TSTC Executive Director of Student Life and Engagement Adele Clinton for their leadership skills and active participation on campus and in their communities.
“We have so many outstanding students at TSTC and it was so difficult to only choose two,” said Clinton. “But there’s something really special about these two ladies and I knew they would be perfect for this internship.
Clinton went on to mention that Esquivel has volunteered countless hours, even earning a President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama and participated in numerous leadership trainings, while England is an articulate and professional leader who has done a fantastic job as a student orientation leader.
Not only will this internship look good on England’s and Esquivel’s resumes, but they will have the chance to build upon and practice their leadership, communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills they have learned at TSTC. They will also get to learn about community advocacy and public policy, gain real-world experience and establish networking connections.
“I someday want to work for an agricultural government sector, maybe the USDA,” said Esquivel. “So this internship is going to teach me what I need to be successful in my future career.”
This internship pilot program is spearheaded by TSTC’s Executive Vice President of Governmental Affairs Javier Deleon.
“This is the first time something like this has ever been done at TSTC,” said Deleon. “These types of internships usually go to university-level students, but we have high-caliber students right here who deserve these types of opportunities also.”
Deleon explained that this program is the vision of TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser and Senior Vice Chancellor Roger Miller to build better relationships among the legislators in the Rio Grande Valley and throughout the state and to show how TSTC, technical students also possess the skills to succeed in these types of internships.
“When this program takes off, our goal is to have interns in legislator’s offices across the state from our 10 campuses,” said Deleon. “This will help us showcase our students and the importance of a technical education. After all, it’s our students that are graduating and filling the skills gap in Texas and nationwide.”
Both women, who went through an interview process for this internship, know that they are opening doors for other students as the first to be selected for this program and said they will work hard to represent TSTC and Longoria’s office positively.
“Our goal is to make a great impression so that other students can also have the same opportunity,” said England.
Esquivel added, “Our bar has been set high. We have a lot to prove and I’m confident that we can make it happen.”
Esquivel and England look forward to learning what it takes to run a state representative’s office and being there for its constituents.
As for Deleon, he said he is looking forward to seeing these students flourish as leaders and seeing these partnerships grow.
“I want to thank those at TSTC who support this initiative and Representative Longoria and his office for welcoming our students,” said Deleon. “I look forward to the future of this program and all it has to offer.”