Pioneers Vote Interns have a passion for civic engagement

TWU Pioneers Vote interns, Andy Hackett and Alexa Hoekstra

Oct. 25, 2022 — DENTON — As one of the most civically engaged universities in the state, it’s no wonder that two Texas Woman’s students have made it a priority to spread the message about voting. 

Andy Hackett and Alexa Hoekstra both serve as interns for Pioneers Vote, a campus-wide initiative that emphasizes educating students on the importance and logistics of voter registration, the electoral process and civil discourse regarding different viewpoints on issues during election cycles. 

This fall these two civically-minded students visited 22 first-year experience classes and presented to more than 550 students about voter registration, the voting process and what is on the 2022 midterm ballot. 

Andy and Alexa are juniors at TWU who participate in Pioneers Vote and Legacy Leaders. Andy is from Bedford and is majoring in child development with a minor in political science. Alexa is from Euless and is majoring in political science and also participates in Residence Hall Association and Texas Civic Ambassadors.

We caught up with them to ask them a few questions about their semester and their time at TWU.

Q: What do you like best about TWU?

Andy: I love how small TWU is. I feel like because of this I have been able to form meaningful relationships with my professors and get involved in organizations that support causes I am passionate about. 

Alexa: TWU is my home away from home. The students, staff and professors all contribute to TWU being a place where I feel comfortable, valued and like I am truly learning. 


Q: What is your favorite class/who is your favorite professor at TWU?

Andy: Hands down my favorite classes I have taken are American Sign Language 1 and 2 with Dr. Chad Smith. I loved getting to learn a new language, and Dr. Smith always made sure my classmates and I understood new concepts and encouraged us if we ever doubted ourselves. He is definitely one of the most genuine people I have ever met, and you can tell he has a great passion for ASL and a love of teaching. 

Alexa: My favorite class has been Women, Elections and Strategies, and my favorite professor is Jennifer Danley-Scott.


Q: Why did you decide to join Pioneers Vote?

Andy: I joined Pioneer's Vote because I have always been an advocate for voting rights, and I felt like joining this team would give me the opportunity to make a lasting impact on campus during my time here at TWU. 

Alexa: Pioneers Vote was a way to truly engage the student body through my biggest passion: civic engagement. I have always been interested in politics, specifically engaging college students in elections and voting. As an Andrew Goodman Ambassador on the Pioneers Vote team, we get to talk to students, give presentations and plan events that are all related to voting! It was a great way to be involved in a campus community I really care about, while also doing work that I want to professionally be involved in. 


Q: What has been a memorable moment from your First Vote presentations?

Andy: One thing from the First Vote Presentations that I will never forget is the students' comments they would make while we were presenting. They would always talk quietly thinking we could not hear, but hearing them say things like "whaaaattt?!" or "I didn't know that!" under their breath really made me feel like I was making a difference educating students on things they did not know about. 

Alexa: We had the opportunity to present to the gymnastics team a few weeks ago, and many of the athletes are international students or from out of state. One of the candidate positions that we go over has the designation of overseeing the Alamo. And when one of the athletes did not know what the Alamo was, like a true Texan, another gymnast shouts "You forgot the Alamo?" It was hilarious and a really great memory. 


Q: What is your recipe for success?

Andy: I don't really think I have a "recipe" for success. I have learned over the years to put my authentic self out there, present ideas no matter how bold or "out there" they may seem, and just trust the process. 

Alexa: The success of the First Vote presentations would have not been possible without the Pioneers Vote Team. Together we were able to reach students and engage them with this upcoming election. It is so important to have team members that help you out and care about the work you are doing, and the Pioneers Vote team does just that. 



Page last updated 1:13 PM, October 25, 2022