University of Arkansas – Fort Smith junior Taylor Wewers has been selected as a prestigious John Paul Hammerschmidt (JPH) fellow by Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3). The fellowship will allow her a unique opportunity to spend the summer fully-immersed in national legislative affairs at Congressman Womack’s Washington D.C. office.

The JPH Fellowship, established in 2013 through a partnership between UAFS and Congressman Womack’s office, is named for former Arkansas Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt (1966-1993), who passed away on April 1, 2015. 

The holistic program highlights the complexities of the U.S. House of Representatives, including conducting extensive legislative research, gaining insight into the budgeting process, attending hearings, monitoring activity on the House floor, and assisting with constituent communications and general office matters, allowing highly-motivated college students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the legislative process first-hand.

 “This fellowship means a great deal to our university and to the students who have earned their appointment as fellows,” said Dr. Edward Serna, interim chancellor of UAFS. “It is our duty as an institution of higher learning to be responsible and responsive to our society’s needs, through the development of our students as impactful leaders, and engaged citizens.”

“When we give students an opportunity to be part of the legislative process, we support democracy and help prepare our nation’s future leaders,” said Congressman Womack. “John Paul Hammerschmidt lived a life of service to his community, and this fellowship encourages our next generation to do the same.”

Taylor, who is a native of Fort Smith, is pursuing a degree in International Business with a double minor in Political Science and History. She is active in the university community and serves as a member of several organizations, including the Student Government Association, First Bank Corp. Student Leadership Council, First National Bank’s Collegiate Ambassadors Board, and Rotaract. 

“I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to experiencing the legislative process first-hand. I am eager to learn from Congressman Womack and his staff in their service to my home district,” she said.

Taylor is expected to graduate as part of the UAFS class of 2020 and plans to attend law school upon graduation. 

“I look forward to welcoming Taylor to our nation’s capital and continuing JPH’s important legacy of mentorship and public service,” said Congressman Womack. 

“Taylor has been deeply involved in affecting change and growth on our campus through her role as vice president of the student government association and numerous other leadership roles on campus,” added Serna. “We are proud to have this opportunity to support students like Taylor in their rigorous pursuit of civic service.”

John Paul Hammerschmidt Fellows earn college credit for completing the strict curriculum of legislative tasks throughout the fellowship.


Rachel Rodemann Putman, Interim Director of Communications
Photo Credits: 
Rachel Rodemann Putman
Date Posted: 
Monday, May 6, 2019
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