Analysts Give Students a Look Into Politics

By Christopher Barrera

Figure 1 Mary Beth Schaefer(left), Laura Hendrickson(middle) and Janet Elliott(right) giving a Q&A after speaking at Mass Comm Week.
Figure 1 Mary Beth Schaefer(left), Laura Hendrickson(middle) and Janet Elliott(right) giving a Q&A after speaking at Mass Comm Week.

SAN MARCOS – Texas State is holding its annual Mass Comm Week, which gives mass communication majors a chance to connect with many potential employers.

During the second day of Mass Comm Week, Janet Elliott, Laura Hendrickson and Mary Beth Schaefer of the Texas House of Representatives’ House Research Organization came to talk to students about potential employment opportunities. The House Research Organization is a nonpartisan independent department of the Texas House of Representatives, which analyzes all legislation for the state and puts the information into layman’s terms.

Analyst Janet Elliot was the key speaker for the House Research Organization and talked about the day-to-day operations of an analyst.

“It’s more than a full time job,” Elliott said. “Our workers have to go over pieces of legislation and have 36 hours to appropriately define the bills and legislation into terms that are able to comprehend them.”

Many of the workers work long hours to get the job done and then it’s on to the next piece of legislation. During the most hectic time, which falls between March to June, workers are said to handle at least five to eight pieces of legislation to go over and meet their 36-hour deadline.

Laura Hendrickson, director of the House Research Organization also spoke on the demands of the job.

“Many of our employees come from all fields of studies,” Hendrickson said. “Whether it’s journalism, political legislation or economics the job makes our employees use knowledge they learned while studying.”

There are many aspects of the job that can play to certain people’s strengths and weakness. The House Research Organization makes sure that all employees are trained of what to expect when it comes to all facets pertaining to the job.

Mary Beth Schaefer, an editor for the House Research Organization spoke on her experiences of her first year working for the organization.

“It has been a very interesting work experience,” Schaefer said. “Before this I was a intern for the governor’s office and that prepared me for what to expect.”

One of the main conclusions from all three speakers was the fact that no matter the hours and effort that is put into each piece of legislation, there is a rewarding feeling in seeing and knowing that people are reading and using their hard work. To find out more information about the House Research Organization go to their website.


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