Home to Texas™

Home to Texas is a scholarship-funded summer program that connects first-year students with internship and research opportunities in their hometown communities.

Many students from small or rural communities come to UT Austin; however, few return to their hometowns after graduation. As a result, many Texas communities lose a significant talent base of future professionals and leaders.

In response to this emigration of talent, the School of Undergraduate Studies and Texas Career Engagement have partnered to host the Home to Texas program (an initiative started by IC2 Institute). Undergraduate student participants return to their hometowns after their first year at UT Austin to complete a full-time summer internship and to engage in community research. The goals of this program are three-fold: to develop a strong professional foundation early during the student’s UT experience, to build connections for a potential future in the student’s home community, and to help prepare the next generation of community leaders.

For questions about the program, please contact hometotexas@austin.utexas.edu.

Employers & Communities

Learn about the program and how your community, company or organization may participate by clicking the link below.

Employers & Communities


There are four main components that selected students participate in:

  • Internship: A full-time, nine-week internship with an employer in or near the student’s hometown
  • Research: A research project regarding a community’s challenges and opportunities
  • Course: A summer research and professional skills course
  • Community Event: A celebratory end-of-program event in or near the student’s home community

Participating students receive funding to participate in the summer program. Students in unpaid internships will receive a $5,000 scholarship, and students in paid internships will earn a minimum of $5,000 for the summer.

Eligibility Criteria

Students from all majors are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be:

  • a currently-enrolled first-year UT Austin student who will be starting their second year in the fall after participating in the program; sophomores who apply to participate between their second and third years at UT may be considered if space is available in the program
  • available to work 40 hours per week during the entirety of the program (summer 2024 dates to be announced late this fall)
  • from one of the summer 2024 participating Home to Texas communities (or from a community that is within a 30-minute driving distance from these cities). Participating summer 2024 communities will be posted on this webpage throughout December 2023 and January 2024.

Home to Texas Expansion

In summer 2023, Home to Texas expanded to dozens more communities thanks to a generous grant from Arnold Ventures and a research collaboration led by Drs. Becky Pettit (College of Liberal Arts), Tauheeda Yasin (College of Liberal Arts), and Brent Iverson (College of Natural Sciences). The research project focuses on judicial decision-making across Texas and is being supported through data that Home to Texas students collected throughout the program.

Below is a list of communities where  Home to Texas students interned during summer 2023. Note that the list includes pilot programs in some of the state’s metropolitan areas.

  • Amarillo
  • Big Spring
  • Boerne
  • Brenham
  • Brownsville
  • Cedar Hill
  • Comfort
  • Dallas
  • Del Rio
  • Eagle Pass
  • Edinburg
  • El Paso
  • Fayetteville
  • Forney
  • Fort Worth
  • Frisco
  • Garland
  • Helotes
  • Houston
  • Huntsville
  • Hurst
  • Kerrville
  • Leander
  • Little Elm
  • Longview
  • Lubbock
  • Lufkin
  • McAllen
  • Midland
  • Missouri City
  • Nederland
  • Odessa
  • Pflugerville
  • Pharr
  • Plano
  • Port Arthur
  • Round Rock
  • San Antonio
  • Smithville
  • Southlake
  • Sugar Land
  • Tyler
  • West Lake Hills
  • Wichita Falls


How to Apply

Check back later! The application for the summer 2024 program will be posted on this website around December 2023. The student application deadline is typically in mid-to-late February.

We’re looking for students who can represent UT well, but more importantly, we’re looking for students who are passionate about developing themselves and/or bettering their community. Applicants should express a clear motivation to learn, work, and research and should have a clear vision about why they’re interested in this program.

Students who exhibit these qualities effectively in their application will be asked to interview with members of the selection committee over Zoom in mid-to-late February or early March. The selection committee will take both the interview and application into consideration.

Internship Placement

A variety of placements are expected for summer 2024, including internships with public organizations, such as city government departments, economic development offices, school districts or airports; private companies, such as corporations and startups; and nonprofit organizations in areas such as the arts, media or humanities.

Once a student is selected into the program, a list of participating community employers and internship descriptions will be provided to the student, and they will rank their internship preferences.* However, applicants should be open to taking any internship that is offered through the program. Since Home to Texas takes place early during a student’s time at UT, participating employers typically offer broad professional development opportunities related to teamwork, time management, office communication, etc. While it is possible that a student’s placement will align with their academic major or career interests, we can’t guarantee that it will. For students interested in a more tailored internship experience, we encourage you to check out other internship postings via the HireUTexas job board.

*Note that some of the summer 2024 communities may only have one internship placement from which to select.

Research Course

Course research will include conducting and documenting interviews with members of the student’s community and providing analysis of the findings from interviews. Participating students will become familiar with human-subjects research methodology approval processes. At the end of the course, students will craft a final project. Previous participants shared that the course was insightful and that it helped improve their communication skills and increase their confidence.

Previous Research Course Syllabus

Student FAQs

Why should I participate in the Home to Texas program?

As an early career program for first- and second-year students, this program provides a strong professional foundation that can open the door to other opportunities.

Many students already plan to return home during their first summer in college, and this program can be a good opportunity to gain experience while there. Participating students receive $5,000 in the form of a scholarship or internship wages for participating in the nine-week program.

You’ll gain research skills that many students don’t learn until they are in graduate school. In addition to helping you in future research projects, these skills could help you stand out in a job interview or when applying to an advanced degree program.

You’ll become part of the Home to Texas alumni network, which can provide you with continued support from fellow students, hometown employers and UT staff – not to mention the friendships and future roommate pairings that will inevitably form.

What is the typical program timeline?

Application Deadline: Mid-to-Late February

Interviews for Select Candidates: Mid-to-Late February or Early March

Selection Status Notification: No later than March 31

Orientation: Mid-April

First Home to Texas Class Meeting: Last Week of May

Internship Dates: The Tuesday after Memorial Day through the end of July

*Dates related to the summer 2024 program will be posted around December 2023.

What will my day look like during my internship?

That really depends on the specific internship, but employers are encouraged to tailor the internship to a student’s interests where possible and to allow the student to participate in activities that are typical of a full-time staff member.

In general, students are expected to work 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday throughout the program (with an hour for a lunch break), but those hours may shift depending on the organization. Students may be asked by their employer to participate in the occasional evening or weekend event, but significant evening or weekend work is not expected.

Does the H2TX research course fulfill any of my academic requirements?

Participants are enrolled in a zero-credit course, EXP 000. While students do not receive credits for this course, it does show up on their transcript. There is no cost associated with this course.

What about that family vacation I had planned?

Students interested in this program should be willing to commit to the entire length of the program. Nine weeks is not a lot of time, so we want to ensure students are getting the most from their Home to Texas experience. As such, please schedule any summer vacations for May or August so that that they can take place before or after the program.

How were the communities for Home to Texas chosen? Why are there no Home to Texas internships in my community?

For summer 2023, Home to Texas communities were selected based on community interest and funding availability and viability for this summer’s research project. We hope to expand this program into other communities in future years depending on funding.

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