Political science major and general business minor Ariel Traub won the 2015 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Excellence in Service Sammy Award. Traub, who grew up in Groveton, will graduate college in May 2016.
Many members of Ariel's family have attended SHSU, including her mother and her two sisters, who are both now doing graduate work in Biology. In addition to having a strong familial tie to Sam, Ariel was offered the prestigious Smith-Hutson Scholarship, which has covered all of her tuition and fees.
Ariel says that Professor Mike Yawn, who introduced her to the pre-law cohort, also influenced her decision to attend Sam. Entering college, Ariel wanted to get as many experiences out of her time here as possible; Ariel explains that she knew Professor Yawn was the best avenue to make those experiences happen.
Beginning her first semester, Ariel dove into the opportunities offered at SHSU. Ariel was inducted into the Honors College, became involved in The Freshmen Leadership Program, and joined the College Republicans, even serving as the organization's Webmaster, all during her freshman year.
Throughout her subsequent years at Sam, Ariel was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, served on both the Student Service Fees committee and the Campus Life Development Fund Committee, and became involved with the Center for Law, Engagement and Politics—a program for which Ariel served as President.
Involvement with the LEAP Center has allowed Ariel to participate in many special events. Ariel says one of her best experiences with LEAP was hosting the 10th Court of Appeals, which tried four cases at SHSU. During a lunch break, Ariel was able to converse with SHSU alumni, Chief Justice Tom Gray, which led to her developing a greater interest in local, state, and federal issues and politics.
An extremely heavy work-load has been Ariel's norm during her time at Sam, as she has consistently taken full course loads ranging from 12-15 hours per semester, juggled a full-time job off-campus with Park and Durham, Attorneys at Law, actively participated in student organizations, and completed volunteer work.
In addition to these responsibilities, Ariel has also completed three separate internships since beginning college. While serving as an intern for the Huntsville Main Street Program, Ariel worked many great events, such as Scare on the Square, the Christmas Fair, Main Street Music Series, Junk-A-Palooza and Fair on the Square.
Ariel's superior performance during the internship led to her being named Interim Coordinator of the Main Street Program, an honor never before bestowed on an intern. To this day, Ariel remains on the Program's Advisory Board.
Ariel also interned at The Wynne Home Arts Center in Huntsville. The Wynne Home Arts Center offers art programs to the community each season, various free art galleries for the public to view, free historic tours of the Wynne Home and other art programs throughout the year.
During her time at The Wynne Home, Ariel coordinated the schedule of classes offered at the home during the summer and taught her own cooking class. Additionally, Ariel volunteered at various events at the home, including the Gingerbread House Contest, Rock 'N the Arts week-long program, and several art gallery openings.
Ariel completed her third and final internship this past spring semester for Senator Charles Schwertner's Office during the 84th Legislative Session through the LEAP Center's Austin Internship Program. As a Legislative Aide, Ariel did reception and case work, drafted external correspondence, and analyzed bills—at one point up to 35 in a day! Bill analysis, which requires critical thinking, allowed Ariel to advise the senator how to vote.
While living in Austin with two of her fellow interns, Ariel worked 40-50 hour weeks and took a full 12-hour course load. Not only did Ariel work on the assignments she was given during her internship, but she also had the opportunity to work on pushing through her own bills; Ariel was particularly interested in bills pertaining to educational policies. Additionally, Ariel staffed the Senator on the Business & Commerce, State Affairs, and Transportation committees.
As a result of her Austin internship, Ariel has recently accepted a full-time position as a Field Representative for Congressman Kevin Brady. Ariel's long-term goals include working for the federal government, either for the military focusing on veterans or for the Department of State, focusing on international relations.