Op-Ed from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

September 29, 2010
Mark Langford at 210-932-2568

Luna scholars program a great opportunity for District 19 students

By Sen. Carlos Uresti

The future leaders who will carry Texas deeper into the 21st Century are today's students. They are attending classes in universities, junior colleges and public schools across Senate District 19, preparing for their day in the sun.

For those with a particular interest in government and public service, a great opportunity exists to hop on an inside track for such a career – the Senator Gregory Luna Legislative Scholars and Fellows Program.

Senator Luna was a champion for young people and education, and the program that bears his name is dedicated to strengthening the next generation of leaders. As full-time legislative aides in the Capitol during legislative sessions, participants will gain invaluable experience and exposure to the Texas Senate and the legislative process.

Each participant is assigned to the office of a state senator or the lieutenant governor to perform a variety of legislative tasks, meet weekly with local and state leaders, learn leadership skills and how to develop policies that shape communities.

A Luna scholar must be an undergraduate student currently enrolled in an accredited educational institution with at least 60 semester hours completed, while a Luna fellow must be a currently enrolled graduate student. Recent graduates, May 2010 or later, are also welcome to apply.

Being a Luna scholar or fellow is not for everyone. It is a demanding, sometimes rigorous, five-month experience that will challenge each participant to excel as never before. To qualify, a student must possess high academic achievement, exceptional writing, comprehension and analytical skills, demonstrate an interest in government and public policy through active participation in community service activities, and display leadership qualities and the potential for further growth.

But the rewards for participating in this program are great. The state Capitol is an exhilarating place to be during a legislative session, the experience and knowledge you acquire will build a framework for the future, and the camaraderie you share with fellow scholars can forge lifetime friendships.

The application deadline for the 2011 program is quickly approaching – Oct. 29 – and I encourage all eligible students to apply. If you're not in college yet or don't yet have the required hours, the Luna program will be available in future sessions as well. For details, please call Micah Rodriguez, my education policy analyst, at (512) 463-0119.

Senate District 19 has some of the best schools and some of the smartest students in the state. I know that many of them will be up to this challenge, now or in the future. Don't pass up this opportunity to learn the leadership skills that Texas will need with that future arrives.