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11 Thurgood Marshall School of Law students become Texas Legislative interns

Written by on March 17, 2023

Since grade school, Jesha Magee, 27, a law student at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, practiced a strong need to help others on a small or large scale.

“I used to get in trouble in school for sticking up for my friends,” the Fort Worth native said. “And different administrators would say, ‘You can’t save everyone.’ “

Now, as a member of the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP) working in the Legislature for state Rep. Armando Walle in Austin, Magee strongly believes she can fulfill her lifelong passion.

Jesha Magee - Texas Southern University—Thurgood Marshall ...
Jesha Magee is a law student at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

“Somehow, being a legislative aide and working with legislation, I feel like I can help people,” Magee said. “I might not be able to save everyone in that frame. But I can help people. I can create legislation that changes the lives of many people in Texas.”

Magee is among 40 interns participating in the 33-year-old TLIP, an educational internship program sponsored by Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and administered by the Texas Southern University (TSU) Foundation. TLIP provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to serve as interns in the Texas Legislature, in various state agencies, and in local government.

Thirty-seven students work in Austin, one in Houston for U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and one at the Innocence Project in New York. Of the 40 students, 23 are from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In addition, the program has countless alumni from HBCUs. Eleven TSU students are in the program – 10 law school students and one recent graduate.

Many of the distinguished TLIP alumni have entered politics, including Rep. Walle, state Rep. Ana Hernandez and state Rep. Ron Reynolds, who currently chairs the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Other notable alumni include members of the Houston City Council and judges.

“TLIP started as a small group of students 30 years ago and has blossomed into one of the most successful legislative internship programs in the nation,” Commissioner Ellis said. “I was inspired to create TLIP because my mentor, the late Congressman Mickey Leland, stressed the importance of using one’s individual success to provide opportunities for others.”

Another TLIP participant, RayVon Addison, 25, a law student at Southern University Law Center, said he’s excited to be in the program so he can “be a sponge and learn as much as possible.”

Being in a work environment like this is a priceless and invaluable experience to see and understand how the most influential people think, work together and tackle various issues.

St. Anne, Ill., native who works for Rep. Carl O. Sherman Sr.

“Sometimes it can be a lot going on, but in the end, it’s a fun and exciting opportunity to be in the room where I can continue to learn,” he said.

Addison said the program is an opportunity to make an impact and become more involved in spaces where people of color aren’t often represented.

“It’s also a great way to learn more about the law, as well as gain invaluable insight and experience on the legislative process and how it actually works,” Addison said. “It’s one thing to learn about it in school and through Schoolhouse Rock, ‘I’m Just a Bill.’ But to be involved in the actual process is exciting.”

Magee agrees.

“If I can just lead a bill or get a bill changed that helps people with the same things I struggled with, I will be happy,” she said. “Also, I want to make sure I can improve some people’s lives. To help people is why I got into TLIP.

TSU interns