Published in The Huntsville Item, May 22nd, 2008

AT RANDOM: SHSU sophomore working toward political aspirations

By Maegan McGowen
Item Correspondent

Megan Bryant, a sophomore from Pasadena, just survived finals and completed a busy semester at Sam Houston State University.

“It's been crazy and hectic,” she said. “Because I was involved with the Junior Fellows, I really wanted to help out with all the events we've done, but I also took more classes than usual and I also had my internship, which was another thing on my plate. Even though its been hectic, I think I've benefited, and I don't think it's gotten to the point where I lost control or regretted anything. This last week of finals is probably the hardest week, but as soon as this is over, I can relax and be excited about summer.”

Bryant is majoring in political science and minoring in history, but wasn't always sure she wanted a career in politics.

“Political science wasn't my major to begin with, and I realized I wasn't interested in my major at the time, which was mass communication,” she said. “I didn't have a passion for it. Over the summer before my sophomore year, I got interested in politics and I wanted to make a difference in the world. I believed that political science was a major would allow me to make a difference.”

According to Bryant, her interest in politics grew as she started to take interest in what she saw in the media.

“I guess I just started watching the news more and noticing a lot of the issues being brought up,” she said. “I started watching a lot of documentaries and getting interested in the issues facing the nation today.”

Bryant said her interest in politics didn't necessarily stem from her parents, although they had opinions that they shared with her.

“Whenever I started talking to them about politics, they had opinions, but it wasn't their opinions that influenced me. They know what's going on and they are up to date, and when I started getting interested and talking to them they would give me different views on the issues we discussed.”

Bryant said she realized the different things she could do with her major after reading “Where Have All the Good Leaders Gone.”

“It was a really inspiring book,” she said. “I've always wanted to do public service and help people and work with charities, and I never understood what would allow me to do this. After reading this book, I realized politics would allow me to do it.”

Bryant's passion for making a difference in the community led her to put in hours at the HEARTS Museum and the Wynne Home.

“I volunteered at the HEARTS Museum, and I work at the Wynne Home,” she said. “After my internship is over, I plan on volunteering there in the fall. The next project I'm doing is with Tamara Chasteen. We are volunteering on Thursday for the world's largest group tie-dye, and we're going to try and set a world record. The elementary schools in Huntsville are involved, and on Thursday, third grade students will come out and be taught how to tie-dye shirts. I also volunteer at the HEARTS museum and the Wynne Home monthly as a Junior Fellows requirement.”

Bryant is the secretary of the Political Science Junior fellows, and her main duties have been taking minutes at meetings and assisting with the events.

“The secretary position was good for me because I was a new member,” she said. “They said it wouldn't be as overwhelming. As secretary you can be involved as you want, so I kind of stepped up. Junior Fellows is how much you put into it, so I tried to get involved in each project so I could learn and get the most out of it.”

The most memorable thing Bryant has done with the Junior Fellows this year was putting together events from start to finish.

“The first semester, the new people just get to go to fun stuff, but this semester I've seen behind the scenes and it's a lot of work,” she said. “I think it's more fun to work on the event and then to see the outcome than just to attend. It was fun being a new member, but I like being behind the scenes because you get to be proud or disappointed on how it turns out.”

Bryant said she first became aquatinted with the Junior Fellows through Professor Mike Yawn.

“I actually worked at Quizno's, and I met him there,” she said. “He asked me my major and I told him, and he was involved in Junior Fellows, so he e-mailed me about events. The event that was coming up was a trip to D.C., which I gratefully got to join and go on. It was an amazing trip and experience, and it was good timing, because all summer I was trying to decide what to do, and when I met him, it opened up so many opportunities I'd been looking for.”

Yawn has also been a great inspiration for Bryant, as well as Linda Pease, supervisor at the Wynne Home.

“Professor Yawn has been just amazing and has given me a number of opportunities that I've been able to take,” she said. “Linda Pease has also been extremely encouraging, and gives me motivation to do anything. She's a really positive person that would be there for me if I needed absolutely anything, and she's been a really big influence on me. It's really good to be able to take skills I learn with Professor Yawn and use them in the community.”

Bryant is excited about her summer plans; an internship with the Clinton Foundation in Arkansas.

“I'll be working with the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas at the Clinton graduate school,” she said. “I'll either be doing research with professors and plan their special events.”

Bryant said she is nervous and excited at the same time.

“I'm very nervous,” she said. “I guess I'm more nervous about going into a new environment and not knowing anybody, but the intern coordinator made it sound like they have a blast. I had asked her what was the hardest part for interns, and she really said the social aspect, so I'm nervous, but I'm also excited. I'm really excited because it's really focused on public service and I'm wanting to bring back skills I can use for next semester.”

In the future, Bryant plans on continuing her education and getting into politics.

“I'm not exactly sure what I will be doing, but I'm working on finding more out and researching law schools,” she said. “I want to know exactly what I'm getting into, and I want to make all the right choices. Law school is definitely a goal, and I plan on working hard toward it, and I still have a lot to find out.”

After building a career as a lawyer, Bryant said she would like to get involved in the political arena.

“I want a stable income so that in the future, I can get involved in running for office and being a politician,” she said. “I love working with Huntsville and with all the amazing community members, so it makes me want to do local government, although I'm also interested in federal government.”

Bryant said she is more than happy with her decision to pursue her education in Huntsville, and is looking forward to continuing to do so.

“I love the school and I love the community,” she said. “I think it's pretty great, and I'm really grateful for the opportunities I've been given.”