Students on the Hill

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Updated: 9/11/2013 5:39 pm
For six Texas Tech students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources they traded in the books for some real-world experience on Capitol Hill this summer. 

Garrett Couts, Parker Grotegut, Zachariah Hurley, Emily Jackson, Stefanie Neuhaus and Kyle Schlabs were the students to represent Tech in D.C. 

Couts, who spent his summer with Congressman Mike Conaway, said the experience was invaluable. 

"His staff actually cared about the interns alot," Couts said. "We were encouraged to do things in the office and outside the office which was kind of different compared to some of the other interns. We were encouraged to tour, we were encouraged to go do things on the hill. And so he did a really good job of talking to us and getting to know us and actually trying to teach us something."

Grotegut also walked away with a good experience as he actually got to work in two offices working in Congressman Farentholds and Congressman Neugebauer's offices during his internship. 

"It was a really great office," Grotegut said. "They had great office chemistry, everyone was really nice. There was a couple of Tech grads in there so I had some common ground and they were really nice. And then switching offices to Randy Neugebauer he's a class act. And he really treated everyone in the office with a lot of respect and he was very nice and so was his staff, so it was an easy transition." 

Of course the hottest topic in Washington this summer was the farm bill and Couts told us it was neat to see the behind the scenes of all the work that goes into getting a bill done. 

"when I was up there I got to see the pre-writing part, so this is why we are writing it this way and this is why we are including this and you actually saw how massive it was," Couts said. "How much this congressman know or how much these people wanted to know or this group coming in on that side or that side. So you got to see it from a 360 angle as opposed to just taking the bill and having to deal with it." 

Now a few weeks removed from their internship when reflecting on their time in D.C. both Couts and Grotegut took some life lessons away from it.

"You have to make decisions on the fly sometimes," Couts said. "So I like to have all the information there and labeled and scheduled and you know what you are doing. But the congressmen don't always have that luxury, lots of times there's a time line and they just have to pick and choose what they are going to do. So I learned to be more decisive and kind of on the spot with things"

"Be tolerant, I'm very conservative and so the ability to work with people that don't necessarily share the same views as I do is definitely something that I learned," Grotegut said.  

If you are interested in doing an internship in D.C. being politically savvy is good but not required.

"Even if you're not into politics that much, I wasn't, I saw a flier and signed up," Grotegut said. "But I've had a longstanding interest in agriculture so it was great. So as long as your interested in agriculture and want to learn, it's a great place to be." 

The internships are offered every fall, summer and spring in D.C. and the interns are housed in the Tech house, which is just down the road from Capitol Hill. 

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