FAQ - Austin Internship Program

Burning Questions?

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the program with, of course, answers.  If you need additional information, please email or call Professor Mike Yawn at mike.yawn@shsu.edu or (936) 294-1456.

What kind of students are selected? The Austin Internship Program seeks students who are bright, hard-working, and professional.  During the last legislative session, the average GPA for selected students was 3.75, and a majority of those students had completed internships with the Political Science Department and participated in many of the LEAP Center's regular events. Students can learn more about the criteria and application process on the "About" page.

Do you have to be a certain major to be an Austin Intern? The Austin Internship program welcomes students from all majors. The Texas Legislature has committees relating to commerce, health, transportation, education, crime, corrections, finance, jurisprudence, the environment, energy, veterans affairs, agriculture, recreation, tourism, ethics, homeland security, international trade, child protection, technology, human trafficking, water, and aging.  Moreover, students can learn valuable skills such as writing, research, and interpersonal relations that will transfer to any field in which the student may work. While any major can obtain the internship, students must be able to incorporate internship hours into their degree plan to obtain an internship through our program.

Do interns receive academic credit for the Austin Internship Program?  Students in the program sign up for and receive six hours of credit for their internship, provided that we can fit that into the student's degree plan. Interested students should consult with intern director Mike Yawn to see about the possibility of obtaining additional hours during their internship.

What kind of work do the interns do? Interns engage in various activities, including: working with constituents, attending committee meetings, conducting policy research, event planning, and others.  The kind of work depends on the students' interests and skills and the needs of the legislative offices.

Are the internships paid? Students selected to the internship program will receive a generous scholarship from SHSU during the legislative session.  The scholarship, which totals $7,500 over the course of the session, covers most or all of the student's school and tuition costs.  The internship director will also meet with the student and financial aid representatives to determine additional loan or grant possibilities for the student.

Is the internship one semester? The internship lasts the entire course of the Texas Legislative session, which is a few weeks longer than the spring semester. In addition, interns will typically arrive about a week before the session begins and stay at least a day after the session ends. The legislature convenes at noon on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years and the session lasts for 140 calendar days.  The spring 2023 session (88th) lasts from January 10 through May 29.  Interns are expected to begin work on January 2 and work until at least the day after the end of the session (office rules may vary). 

What happens if the intern cannot complete the internship? Students should not commit to the internship unless they are prepared to work industriously and professionally for the entire session. Students who drop out for reasons other than documented medical emergencies will receive a failing grade for their internship classes. 

What do Austin Interns go on to do after they graduate? Austin interns head in diverse directions.  One former intern is teaching; one is doing mission work in Europe; one is a newscaster on a Texas television station; one is an accountant; one is now the Chief of Staff for a legislative office; others are in law school; another has her own law firm; it's really up to you.  The goal of the program is to give you the opportunity to refine the skills and qualities that will help you fulfill whatever dreams you have.