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Happy New Year

Happy New Year to the entire Hobby School community! With the start of a new year comes many exciting developments for the Hobby School. We have moved out of McElhinney Hall where we have been headquartered for eight years while the Hobby School’s new building is being planned and constructed. The Dean’s Office is now located in the Science Building, 3581 Cullen Blvd., Suite 121, 77204-0502. Most faculty are being housed in different buildings, but the promise of a new building dedicated to the Hobby School makes the transition period worthwhile.

This spring, the Hobby School welcomes the first cohort of public policy undergraduates. Thank you to all the supporters and donors whose enthusiasm and guidance have contributed to our continued growth and success. Have a safe and prosperous New Year!

2022 Hobby School Leland Fellows head to Washington, D.C.

The Hobby School is proud to present the 2022 Leland Fellows! These outstanding full-time undergraduate interns will experience government on Capitol Hill as part of the rich public service experience in Washington, D.C. Donations to the program allow students to enjoy paid housing and earn monthly stipends, affording them an opportunity normally not available for congressional internships. The program is named in honor of the late humanitarian Mickey Leland, congressman for the historic 18th Congressional District until his death in 1988. Congratulations! Top, l-r: Andrea Cubillos, Laura Rincon-Bianchi, Alex Nordahl, Julia Dai, Mariela Rea. Below, l-r: Stella McClure, Karla Rodriguez, Sarah Imran.

Dean Granato introduces new video series: “How Things Really Work”

Hobby School of Public Affairs Dean Jim Granato debuted the inaugural broadcast of “How Things Really Work,” named for the book written by the school’s namesake, former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby. In the first video, Dean Granato shares the Hobby School culture, vision, information about the new bachelor’s program, and its emphasis on student success. The series itself will feature short videos about relevant policy, social science and student success topics.
Watch Replay

January Hobby Hour features Hobby School champion, State Rep. Garnet Coleman

The first 2022 Hobby Hour, noon, Tuesday, Jan. 25, will feature one of the school’s greatest champions: State Rep. Garnet Coleman. Host Dean Jim Granato will discuss Coleman’s recent retirement from the Texas House of Representative, his history of accomplishments and contributions to public service. Rep. Coleman represented parts of central and southeast Houston in State House District 147 since 1991. The retiring statesman has notably championed the Hobby School and its predecessor, the Center for Public Policy, since 1999. His efforts have resulted in dedicated state funding for more than 22 years and most recently in over $40 million for the Hobby School’s new building, which was funded during the third special legislative session in 2021.
Register Here


Election and criminal justice reforms addressed in study with TSU

In the spirit of three Texas legends – Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and Congressman Mickey Leland – the Hobby School of Public Affairs and the Executive Master of Public Administration Program in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University launched the Texas Trends Survey, a five-year project to study Texas’s changing population and opinions about pressing public policy issues. Senior Director Renée Cross, Senior Research Fellow and Rice professor Mark Jones, and TSU professors Michael Adams and Carroll Robinson led the efforts with assistance from research associate Savannah Sipole and graduate research assistant Henrietta MacPepple for the first three reports for the 2021 survey.

The most recent reports studied Texas trends in election reform and redistricting and criminal justice reforms.
Report One. Abortion and Transgender Athletes
News release, Reform Austin, Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Media, VOA News, Texas News Today
Report Two. Texas Trends Survey 2021: Election Reform and Redistricting
News release, KERA News, Texas Standard
Report Three. Texas Trends Survey 2021: Criminal Justice Reforms
News release, FOX26

The tale of two departments: Public health in Harris County and the City of Houston

A new study of city and county public health departments took a fresh look at possible service overlaps between the Harris County Department of Public Health and the City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services to identify options to reduce those overlaps and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the public health delivery system. In partnership with researchers at the Kinder Institute at Rice and the Harris County Commissioners Court's Analyst's Office, Professor Alan Witt and graduate research assistant Nikola Federowicz looked at several factors where the two departments could work collaboratively in an effective way. Witt’s research focuses on strategy-cultural alignment and how leaders can shape the work culture endowing employee values, priorities and behavioral norms for successful implementation of an organization’s strategy.

Gottlieb presents research on civil society organizations, polarization

Jessica Gottlieb, Hobby School associate professor, delivered an invited lecture at Harvard University’s Political Economy Seminar, titled, “When Will Civil Society Sanction the State? Evidence from Mali,” at the Institute of Quantitative Social Science. She also presented a new study, “Testing Strategies to Increase Tolerance across Polarized Lines,” for the Texas A&M’s Race and Ethnic Studies Institute. In January, she is participating in the Southern Political Science Association meeting in San Antonio presenting “Urban Brokers and Clientelistic Mobilization: Evidence from an Experiment in Nigeria.” Later in January, she will deliver an invited (virtual) talk to the Quantitative Political Economy (QPE) Group at King’s College London.  Gottlieb is a board member of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) network (2019 - present) and data coordinator for the Democratic Erosion cross-university consortium. Her research focuses on the political economy of development, investigating constraints to government accountability and state capacity in new democracies.

Published Paper

Šafářová, B., Giusti, C. H., Perez, M. P., Zecca, I. B., Carbajal, E. S., Hamer, G. L., & Hamer, S. A. (2021). Habitat and environmental risks of Chagas disease in low-income colonias and peri-urban subdivisions in South Texas. Habitat International, 118, 102460


Internship program marks 25th anniversary

Close to 100 former Civic Houston interns gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Civic Houston Internship Program, founded by Drs. Richard Murray and Christopher Wlezien. CHIP alumni Alex Obregon, deputy city controller and chief operating officer (City of Houston) and Dylan Osborne, Harris County Treasurer, took turns at the podium to thank fellow alumni for their support and to praise their past interns. Valerie Luna-Peña, community outreach coordinator at the City of Houston, presented a city proclamation on behalf of Mayor Sylvester Turner celebrating Nov. 18 as Civic Houston Internship Program Day.

Spaces open for summer Social Economy and Enterprise Academy internships

The Hobby School has scheduled an information session for the 2022 Social Economy and Enterprise Academy, 1 p.m., Friday, Jan. 21. The summer internship connects undergraduate students with nonprofit organizations from the Houston area to help them meet strategic  goals. Students will apply and develop skills in high demand in the job market through social good. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 25, 2022.

Public managers earn leadership and skills certification

Congrats to the Hobby School’s December graduates of the Certified Public Manager Program, Diana Dobbs and Alonzo Echavarria-Garza. Dobbs is an office and special projects manager for Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers. Echavarria-Garza is the chief financial officer for the City of Hearne Texas. The CPM program is a perfect way for public-sector and nonprofit managers to enhance and sharpen their skills using the nationally accredited, comprehensive management and leadership training program. Track 1 starts in June 2022. Find out more.

UH faculty invited to apply for Hobby School Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center fellows awards

The Hobby School Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership provides annual funding for UH faculty members to receive course releases in order to pursue research on ethics and/or leadership. Faculty Fellows present their work during the year in the faculty seminar series and participate in other EDR Center events. Deadline to apply is Feb. 1.

More information

Fall Civic Houston Internship Program leaves mark on community

The fall 2021 Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP) placed interns throughout Houston in city hall, Harris County and congressional district offices, on campaigns, and in nonprofit organizations. Performing an array of duties, interns benefit from meaningful public service, networking and learning opportunities provided by host offices. Seventeen interns completed 196 volunteer hours in addition to their regular internship hours totaling over 2,200 hours. Their volunteer hours were spent with nonprofit organizations including the Houston Food Bank, the League of Women Voters, and Emgage, and at events such as National Night Out and National Voter Registration Day.  Special guest speakers late in the semester included Council Member Letitia Plummer. She spoke with students about her public service career in and outside of City Hall, shared tips on how to lead with compassion and encouraged them to take on issues of importance and to engage with City Council.

CHIP interns also engaged with Chase Untermeyer, the former ambassador to Qatar. Ambassador Untermeyer discussed his public service journey, starting with an internship for newly elected Congressman George H.W. Bush. He talked about his career and advised students on ways they could excel and gain substantive responsibilities in their internships.

Civic engagement and leadership camp scheduled for Feb. 11

The Hobby School in partnership with the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership is hosting the 2022 Civic Engagement Boot Camp on leadership, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 11. The workshop invites individuals interested in building their leadership and organizing skills and obtaining a better understanding of public service. Registration is required and COVID-19 protocols will be in place. Workshop leaders will include former Houston city council member Amanda Edwards and Ambassador Chase Untermeyer.

Intersection of arts and health highlights January symposium

“Innovations in Arts and Health: Collaborating for Medical Humanities, Professional Development, and Community Health” is an international conference convening the brightest and most creative minds working at the intersection of arts and health in Houston, a global mecca for innovations in the arts, health sciences and medical education. The three-day conference is part of the global series “The Future is Unwritten: Healing Arts,” produced in partnership with the World Health Organization and Culturunners. “Healing Arts Houston” is open to the public. Practicing artists, health care professionals, medical educators, and scholars are welcome to attend. The event is sponsored in part by the Hobby School Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership Conference Funding Program.


Whitmire receives fundraising certification

Congratulations to the Hobby School Director of Advancement Abby Whitmire. She received the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation by CFRE International. CFRE credentials enable professionals to demonstrate commitment to continuous education, fundraising and ethical best practices.

O’Hara wins award for HTXelerator’s “The Pitch”

Congratulations to the Hobby School of Public Affairs’ Chelsea O'Hara on being a finalist in the inaugural campaign/policy competition dubbed “The Pitch” for the HTXelerator program. O'Hara was part of the HTXelerator leadership training for professionals from the public and private sectors. The participants use the knowledge they have garnered through the three month program to produce a four minute campaign appeal introducing public policies benefiting Houston.


County treasurer, congressional deputy director receive Hobby Leadership Awards

Congratulations to the 2020 and 2021 Hobby Leadership Award Winners, former Hobby School interns Mary Davis and Dylan Osborne, respectively. They were honored for their achievements, civic engagement, mentoring and dedication to public service at the Civic Houston Internship Program 25th anniversary reception.
Mary Davis (BS, ’15) is the Deputy District Director for Texas Congressman Troy E. Nehls. She served as a Leland Fellow in Washington, D.C. and as a Civic Houston intern before beginning her work in District 22 with Congressman Pete Olson. Throughout her career, Davis has supervised public policy, advocacy, and elections at the state and federal level. She is currently enrolled in the Harvard Business School Executive Education program.
Harris County Treasurer Dylan Osborne has worked in local government for more than a decade since he was a Civic Houston intern. He was on staff with two Houston City Councilmembers as a constituent service representative, policy advisor and community liaison. He later worked in the Finance Department and in the Planning & Development Department for the City of Houston. In addition to his dedication to public service, Osborne continues to support the Hobby School through mentoring a new generation of Civic Houston interns.

Alumnus moves to new position at Texas Legislative Budget Board

Well-wishes to Hobby School MPP (’19), CHIP and Hobby Fellows alumnus Eric Schroeder on his new position as an analyst in data analysis and reporting at the Texas Legislative Budget Board. The LBB is a permanent joint committee of the Texas Legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations, completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation, and conducts evaluations and reviews to improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations. He recently served as the director of county affairs for Texas Rep. Garnet Coleman.

Richard Murray Endowed Scholarship awarded to Christine Le

Kudos to Christine Le, the 2021 recipient of the Richard Murray Scholarship. A UH political science student, Le has a passion for history and its role in enriching our minds throughout life. She is working toward a university teaching career and was thrilled to receive the scholarship: “I cannot thank you enough for the financial support you’ve awarded me and for the vast number of opportunities this opens up for my future.”

Leland Fellow shares love for history in Houston History Magazine

Hobby School Leland Fellow Karla Rodriguez has contributed an article in Houston History Magazine, a publication of the Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative. A passionate history enthusiast, Rodriguez tells the story San José Clinic, a longtime community health care provider founded in 1922 to address high rates of infant mortality in Houston’s early Mexican community. Rodriguez is a former Civic Houston Intern and inaugural Harris Fellow. She graduated in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in political science and will serve as a Leland Fellow this spring.

Alumna Mary Brewer joins global public policy consulting agency

Hobby School alumna Mary Brewer has accepted an offer from Guidehouse consulting agency as a consultant with the state and local government team in Austin. The '21 UH grad will put her passion into action benefiting local and state governments. Guidehouse is a global provider of consulting services to the public sector and commercial markets, with broad capabilities in management, technology and risk consulting. Brewer is a former Hobby Fellow and recipient of the Hobby School Ethics and Public Policy scholarship. Best of luck, Mary!

Former Hobby Fellow named a New Leaders Council 2022 Fellow

Ashley Cruz has been named a New Leaders Council ’22 Fellow. Currently the government relations and political affairs assistant with Planned Parenthood in Austin, Cruz built her resume working as a campaign and community organizer and voter outreach worker. She served as a Civic Houston intern and a 2019 Hobby Fellow in the office of state Rep. Jon Rosenthal. The NLC has 50 chapters throughout the U.S., recruiting and training leaders with expertise, experience and resilience to implement change.

Master of Public Policy winter graduates celebrate milestone

Hats off to Hobby School winter graduates Victoria Jupp (MPP), Paola Piña (MPP) and Jodi Bash (Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Public Administration). Jupp works in the UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards and is co-authoring a textbook project on presidents and the executive policymaking. Piña, an insurance operations analyst, specialized in urban development during her graduate studies, but also has a passion for health care reform. Bash works as a director of communications at a local church. She has an MBA in marketing from the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management.

Well done, graduates!


Longtime Hobby School supporter, Alice Aanstoos, became chair of the advisory board in 2016, just as the Hobby School was becoming a degree-granting entity. At her retirement from corporate life, Aanstoos was the regional vice president of external affairs for AT&T. Since then, she has dedicated herself to community organizations and projects including the Missouri City Parks Foundation, the city’s Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, the Greater Houston Chapter of the American Red Cross, and Leadership Houston, among many others. Aanstoos has guided the advisory board through some of the Hobby School’s greatest milestones including its early days as a stand-along school, planning for new facilities, the hiring of a founding dean, and assembling a board with diverse and varied talents. Thanks a million, Alice!


Mark Your Calendars

Jan. 20-23
Innovations in Arts and Health: Collaborating for Medical Humanities, Professional Development and Community Health, Houston Arts and Health Summit
McGovern College of Arts and College of Medicine
Hobby School Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center Conference Funding Program Recipient

Monday, Jan. 21, 1 PM
Social Economy and Enterprise Academy Information Session, co-hosted with UH Department of Economics. Location TBD

Friday, Jan. 28, 12 PM
Carol Gilligan, “In a Different Voice: Why Does Nobody Talk About the Abortion Decisions?”

Friday, Feb. 4, 1PM
Linda Martin Alcoff, Hunter College
Elizabeth D. Rockwell Lecture Series
Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library

Feb. 10, 2 PM
Maurice Hamington, Portland State University, “Care Theory: Application for Health Care Professionals”
Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library

Friday, Feb. 11, 10 AM - 2 PM
Civic Engagement Boot Camp
Location TBA

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 6 PM
Bracewell LLP Distinguished Lecture on Race and Social Justice: Lisa Cook Michigan State University, Professor of Economics
“Societal Discrimination's Impact on African American Innovation, Invention and Talent"
Commentators: Derek Avery (Bauer College of Business), Renita Horton (Cullen College of Engineering), Johanna Luttrell (Hobby School of Public Affairs) and Professor David McNally (College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences)
Partner event with the UH Law Center
Details pending • Virtual
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2 PM
“Ask the Ethicist” with New York Times Magazine Ethicist Anthony Appiah
Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library

Thursday, Feb. 17, 4 PM
Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethic & Leadership: Anthony Appiah, New York University, New York Magazine Ethicist
“The Lies that Bind”
Rockwell Pavilion
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