TILF Success Stories: Meet Kevin Matula
Posted by Trudy Richards on 09/03/2013
It’s 2013, and in this odd-numbered year, one of our own TILF scholars was working to begin a journey in public service at the Texas State Capitol.
Kevin Matula spent the spring semester of his sophomore year as a staffer in the Texas State Legislature. Sharing some time with TILF, Kevin looked back fondly on his enthusiasm for UIL in high school.
“Every Saturday, I was going to a debate meet or journalism meet,” Matula said. “If I wasn’t doing it, I was wondering why the coaches didn’t want to go that weekend.” He advanced to the State meet in news writing twice, and competed in CX debate and prose interpretation his senior year.
Kevin shares his hometown of Karnes City, Texas, with the honoree of his scholarship, William L. Chapman. He now attends St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
“When I found out I was TILF scholar, I was very excited because I go to a private school and higher ed’s very expensive,” he said. “I feel like the leadership roles I had in high school and being involved in speech and debate, drama, and journalism honed a lot of my skills. I think it shows a good array of diversity and what you can do.”
Kevin set his standards high, and was chosen to participate in the Frank L. Madla Jr. and Irma Rangel Legislative Internship Program. The program is a competitive, hands-on initiative named in honor of two longstanding members of the Texas House of Representatives and graduates of St. Mary’s University.
“It was actually something I was looking at when I first applied to St. Mary’s, and I said ‘I have to be a part of that,’” he recalled. “I think being in this program is helping me know how to better serve people and how I can do that.”
Kevin described each day as different, but always filled with tasks to accomplish.
“I get to the office, I get mail, get the representative’s floor packet ready. We talk to constituents, we answer the phone,” he said proudly. “We serve the representative and constituents of our district. Just whatever people need us to do, we do.”
It’s a shift from his regular involvement in Student Government on campus and different from the rigors of college life.
“I’m enjoying working here,” Kevin said, “We have late hours, and there’s only 140 days in the session, so finding time for yourself is important.”
"The weekends are for sleeping,” he added.
While in Austin, Kevin corresponded with three different professors to guide help his coursework. Recently, he was admitted into the combined Undergraduate/Graduate program at St. Mary’s, allowing him to earn a Master's degree in Public Administration along with his Bachelors in Political Science in a total of 5 years.
“I don’t know what I want to do as far as professional school or law school, but right now I think a Masters in Public Admin will be something that’s beneficial to me,” Kevin said. “I’m really interested in city management, economic development, and things like that and so a Public Admin Master's is tailor-made for those kind of careers.”
Through the internship experience, Kevin hopes to take away the knowledge he learned from legislators and figure out where he wants to go in the future.
“So far, I think it’s going to be somewhere in government, serving people,” he said. “I care about those who don’t have a voice, and I really would like to be a voice for someone. I don’t know to what capacity yet, but I do know that public life is something I’ve always wanted to be part of.”
Written by Jan Ross Piedad