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Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program (MLEIP): History

A Legacy of Impact and Influence

U.S. Congressman George "Mickey" Leland

Photo of Mickey Leland
The late Mickey Leland, U.S. Representative from Texas

The Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program (MLEIP) began in 1992 at the Texas Water Commission (predecessor agency to the TCEQ) in partnership with the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Chemical Council, the Texas Council of the American Electronics Association, and a host of private corporations.

The program honors the late U.S. Congressman George “Mickey” Leland, a strong advocate of public health and environmental issues.




Congressman Leland is noted for having:

  • Served as a member of the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment
  • Consistently addressed public health issues related to minority communities
  • Demonstrated a passion for growing future leaders by advocating for the education and professional development of students, particularly those in underserved and underrepresented regions

Photo of Mickey Leland
Leland leads a House delegation to Ethiopia on a tour of famine-stricken areas in 1984.

Congressman Leland was killed in a plane crash on August 7, 1989, enroute to Ethiopia on a mission as Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Hunger.

Congressman Leland was one of the nation's most effective leaders on environmental issues and a mentor to many of today's Texas leaders. He remained a community activist who provided attention, time, and resources to help the underprivileged and under-represented. This internship program was initiated to celebrate and honor his work.

MLEIP Mission

  • To heighten the awareness and encourage the participation of minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged college/university students regarding environmental-related issues and policies.
  • To develop a diversified work force within Texas' environmental agencies and private corporations by promoting employment opportunities for students exploring future careers in environmental and related fields.
  • To train and equip students as environmental professionals and future leaders.

The Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program (MLEIP) Today

Video recipient of the Innovation Award in the Cross-Media, Data, Permitting, & Agency Management Category, Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), 2019.

The Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program (MLEIP) is a one-of-a-kind experience that offers college students an unparalleled glimpse into the future of science and conservation, helping them launch their careers through hands-on paid summer internships. More than 2,000 interns have completed the program, many of whom are now in leadership positions and paying it forward by hiring and mentoring their own interns.

More than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, primarily STEM majors, apply annually from across the nation for an opportunity to gain valuable work experience; expand their knowledge; fulfill college requirements; and learn marketable skills. Internship assignments are at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), other state agencies, non-profits, and private companies in Texas.

The MLEIP honors the legacy of former U.S. Congressman George “Mickey” Leland and his dedication to promoting sound environmental stewardship. Now in its twenty-ninth year, this well-established and recognized program continues to expand its partnerships with external sponsors who may hire interns recruited by TCEQ.

Learn more about sponsoring an intern.