The University of Texas-Pan American broadcast major, Jennifer Villarreal, will be packing her bags and traveling the state of Texas this summer after earning a summer internship with Don't Mess with Texas.
"I was in complete shock when I found out I had received the internship," Villarreal said. "I wasn't expecting it. It was a very good surprise and I am excited," she said.
Villarreal comes from the small town of Monte Alto, Texas. Small, however, cannot describe her ambitions, dreams or upcoming internship opportunity. Villarreal submitted an audition tape to the Don't Mess with Texas campaign and received the votes needed to become a new Don't Mess with Texas celebrity.
"We were looking for people who were energetic, genuine, passionate about the environment and who could communicate well with others and Jennifer definitely possesses all these qualities," Brenda Flores-Dollar, Texas Department of Transportation program manager for the Don't Mess with Texas Campaign, said.
Villarreal's internship began June 1 and will continue through July 31. She will be working with two other interns in leading "litter challenges." They will be creating and developing new ideas for the Don't Mess with Texas Campaign with their target audience being 16-24 year olds.
"Jennifer has so many great ideas that we are working on implementing into the events they attend. She is very creative and ready to look at the big picture and talk to her peers about the importance of litter prevention," Flores-Dollar said.
In addition, the interns will tour Texas helping local communities get rid of trash and develop litter prevention events. Villarreal and the other interns recently attended the Keep Texas Beautiful Conference where they shared their ideas and environmental passion with more than 300 people. They will also be making appearances at sport venues, mall and VIP events such as the Vans Warped Tour in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, where they will be passing out litter bags and talking to young people about litter prevention.
"I am looking forward to the Vans Warped Tour. It's going to be a really great experience where we will get the chance to speak to a large group of our target audience," Villarreal said.
To document their journey, Villarreal and the other interns will star in six Webisodes. The Webisodes will begin with the initial stage of their audition videos and continue with a camera crew documenting their travels and interactions with the public. The Webisodes will then be posted on the Don't Mess with Texas Web site beginning July 13.
"Jennifer really deserves this honor. She helped to start Bronc Radio with our first awards ever," Fred Mann, lecturer and Bronc Television and Radio adviser said.
Jennifer graduated in May 2009 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. She was involved in Bronc Television and Radio and reported on and off camera. She even appears in two UTPA commercials. She hopes to work at a local television station to start her career or in the public relations and advertising fields.
"Mr. Mann is a great professor. He has done so much for me by pushing me and getting me interested in broadcasting and now it is something I enjoy," Villarreal said.
As for her internship, Jennifer wants to reach out to her peers and let them know how easy it is to not mess with Texas.
"I want to spread the word about litter prevention, make a difference and let others know how they can make a difference to," Villarreal said.
For more information on the Don't Mess with Texas Campaign or to stay up to date with the interns and their work visit, www.dontmesswithtexas.org