Tara Houska (’12) Receives Native American Congressional Internship
MAY 24, 2011—On May 26, third-year Law School student Tara M. Houska will begin her 2011 Native American Congressional Internship in Washington, D.C., supported by the Udall Foundation. She is one of only 12 students, from 12 tribes nationwide, to be awarded the prestigious ten-week internship, which runs until August 5.
Recipients of the fully funded internship were selected by an independent committee of Native educators and tribal policy leaders on the basis of academic achievement and a demonstrated interest in fields related to tribal public policy.
Houska, Anishinaabe from Couchiching First Nation in Fort Frances, Ontario, was born and raised in International Falls, Minn. As an undergraduate at the University, she earned a triple major in biology, art history, and Native American studies. During her first two years at the Law School, she added intellectual property and Indian Law to her areas of expertise and expects to tap into that knowledge during her internship.
The highly regarded internship program is intended to provide Native American and Alaska Native students with an opportunity to learn about the federal government and issues that affect nations and tribes. Interns are placed in Senate and House agency offices, cabinet departments, and the White House, where they research legislative issues, write briefs, meet with key officials, and get a firsthand view of government decision-making processes. Houska will work with the White House Council on Environmental Quality and says she is "definitely looking forward to the experience."
In the 2010-11 academic year, Houska participated in the Law School’s Indian Child Welfare Act Clinic representing parents of Indian children and won a rare dismissal of a case for one of her clients. "I enjoyed the program a lot," she says. "The work is really rewarding." In 2011-12, she will be a student director of the Clinic. After graduation, Houska hopes to work as a federal judicial clerk.
The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency established by Congress in 1992 to provide federally funded scholarships and honor brothers Morris and Stewart Udall for their legacy of leadership on natural resources and Native American issues. In 2001 the Udall Foundation and the University of Arizona founded the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, which funds the Internship program.