The Department of Political Science and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication met with legislators at the Texas State Capitol in Austin to collaborate on departmental projects on March 20-21.
Students in the Advanced Reporting class in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication worked with the Pope Fellows from the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice in Austin.
Dr. Kenneth Pybus (‘89), chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, took six students from his Advanced Reporting course as well as two editors from The Optimist, the student-run newspaper, on the trip. During the trip, the Advanced Reporting students worked on a variety of stories for a package on proposed Texas school choice legislation.
“The heart of the Texas legal system is on the Capitol grounds,” Pybus said. “I don’t think people realize how much of an effect the Texas Supreme Court has on their lives.”
The Jack Pope Fellows Program offers scholarships to students who are pursuing careers in public service. On the trip, the 13 Pope Fellows met a variety of professionals in public service jobs to allow them to make connections with potential future employers.
The last time this trip took place was in 2019 as the Pope Fellows met with lobbyists, the Texas Supreme Court, legislators and an event at the Governor’s Mansion with ACU students and alumni as well as Dr. Phil Schubert, ACU president.
“This trip was a great reminder for our Pope Fellows of Chief Justice Jack Pope, for whom their program is named for and who is a great example of public service,” said Dr. Neal Coates (‘87), chairman of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. “We even had the chance to meet professionals in the public service field, which gave students ideas about what they want to do with their future.”
Both departments had the chance to visit with Justice Jeff Boyd (‘83) who has served on the Texas Supreme Court since Dec. 3, 2012. In addition, the ACU Alumni Office hosted an event for Austin-area alumni at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, creating an opportunity for students to meet and network with other ACU alumni.
“We have a philosophy of collaboration by faculty members, and if we can do something together then we find something to do together,” Pybus said. “This is a great example of experiential learning.”
Learn more about the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice.
— Connor Mullins
March 29, 2023