Student Programs

**Effective 9/05/14 the new stipend for the 2015 Undergraduate Session Assistants Program is $4,900.**


From the halls of higher-learning to the halls of the State Capitol, New York State Senate Student Programs offers undergraduate and graduate students exciting opportunities to learn about state government and to experience firsthand the legislative process.

Visit this page throughout the year for updates from current participants and alumni. You can also learn more about the program

Updates

Undergraduate Program

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM

The Senate Undergraduate Session Assistants Program offers approximately 30 talented undergraduate students an opportunity to experience state government and the legislative process, through their participation in an on-site, academic enriching, and career building work experience. The Program runs about four months, beginning in early January and ending in late April.

August 26, 2014
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Where are they now?: Natalie Peterman -- 2013-14 Legislative Fellow

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?

Senate Fellowship -- 2013-2014.

2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship/fellowship?

Senator Neil D. Breslin.

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship/fellowship office placement?

August 21, 2014
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Alumni Testimonial: Trevor Bender -- 2014 Session Assistant

As an undergraduate public policy major at the University at Albany, the NYS Senate Session Assistants Program provided me with an opportunity to experience the real inner-workings of New York State government, an experience I could not have had anywhere else.  This internship gave me a wide range of benefits. It gave me the chance to work alongside State Senator Simcha Felder throughout a full legislative session. I was able to attend sessions, work on legislation, host meetings with advocates, and set up legislative committee meetings. These experiences allowed me to meet people from all over the legislature and to gain meaningful insight into all the jobs that are involved in the legislative process.

June 30, 2014
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Graduate Program

 

GRADUATE PROGRAM

The Graduate Fellowships offered by the Senate include Legislative Fellowships and Memorial Fellowships.

Legislative Fellowships

Each Legislative Fellow is assigned to a specific Senator’s office, where they will function largely as if they were regular staff.  While duties vary depending on the needs of the member, Legislative Fellows generally perform in-depth policy research, take part in meetings with various interest groups and constituents, and attend legislative sessions.

Memorial Fellowships

January 21, 2014
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Alumni Testimonial: Angelica R. Katz -- 2007 Session Assistant

As an undergraduate Political Science major, the NYS Senate Session Assistants Program provided me an opportunity to experience the real inner workings of New York State government – something that cannot be taught in classrooms.  This internship gave me a wide range of benefits. It gave me the chance to work alongside NYS Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Utica) throughout a full legislative session. It offered me a strong network of mentors to put me on the right track to pursue my passion.  And, most important, it gave me a head start in my career and quickly opened doors for me.

July 30, 2013
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In the News: Former Senate Fellow and 'Lost Boy' from Sudan Finds a Home in Public Service

From broken universe to Syracuse, former 'Lost Boy' lands city hall job

Syracuse, NY - When it came time to welcome a group of new United States citizens to Syracuse, Mayor Stephanie Miner’s representative stood up.

He faced a courtroom full of immigrants from Somalia, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Sudan and other “broken universes,” as he put it.

“Like myself,” he said.

May 14, 2013
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Congress to Campus Visit

In April, two Former Congress Members, Sue Kelly and George Hochbruechner, met with the 2012-13 Legislative Fellows and 2013 Undergraduate Session Assistants.  Students engaged in a lively discussion and received an inside look at the workings of Congress.

May 6, 2013
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In the News: SUNY Albany Students, Cindy Ogando and Erica Akpaka Share Their Internship Experiences

Photo by Mark Schmidt, University at Albany

 

Senate, Assembly Internships a Capital Experience for University at Albany Students

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 8, 2013) – The University at Albany’s legislative program serves as a major pipeline for students wishing to gain practical internship experience in the New York State Assembly and Senate. According to representatives at the Assembly Intern Committee, UAlbany sent more students this spring than any other university or college, which resulted in a record number of acceptances to internships in the New York State Assembly.

April 15, 2013
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Where are they now?: Dave Thoman -- 2010-11 Biggane Fellow

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?

2010-2011

2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship?

Senate Finance

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship office placement.

I came into the Finance Committee when the Republicans had retaken control of the Senate. We were staffing up during session, and the low staff numbers required a jack-of-all-trades approach – I would serve as support staff, help reconcile project information, and assist the analyst on Energy, Environment, and Agriculture.

March 13, 2013
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Where are they now?: Lee Hagy -- 2011-12 Senate Fellow

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?

I participated in the Senate Fellowship after graduating from Hofstra University School of Law, in the 2011-2012 fellowship year.

2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your fellowship?

My placement was in the Office of Senator Joseph E. Robach.  I worked with other staff members to serve constituents from the 56th Senate District, which encompasses part of the City of Rochester and nearby towns. 

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship office placement.

March 1, 2013
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Where are they now?: Kendall Jacobsen -- 2012 Session Assistant

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?

 I participated in the 2012 Legislative Session, from January to June.

 2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship?

 Senator Joseph A. Griffo’s office.

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship office placement.

I sat at the front desk, answered phone calls, filed memos, prepared the senator’s active list and committee summaries for the day, and accompanied him to meetings and to Session every day

February 27, 2013
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Where are they now?: David Rozen -- 2006 Session Assistant/2010-11 Graduate Fellow

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?

August 2010 – July 2011 (Graduate Legislative Fellowship)

January 2006 – April 2006 (Undergraduate Session Assistant)

2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship?

August 2010 – July 2011 (Graduate Legislative Fellowship) – New York State Senator Neil D. Breslin

January 2006 – April 2006 (Undergraduate Session Assistant) - New York State Senator George H. Winner, Jr.

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship office placement. 

November 15, 2012
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Where are they now?: Tom Briggs -- 2008 Session Assistant

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?  

January 2008 – April 2008 (Undergraduate Session Assistant)

2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship?

Senator Bill Perkins

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship office placement.  

September 27, 2012
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Where are they now?: Tatyana Selyuzhitskaya -- 2011 Session Assistant

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?

I participated in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program in Spring 2011.

2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship?

I was placed in Senator Joseph A. Griffo’s office for the internship.

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship office placement.

September 5, 2012
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Where are they now?: Jillian Kasow -- 2010-11 Wiebe Fellow

1. When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?

I participated in the Senate Fellowship as the Wiebe fellow after graduating from law school, in the 2010-11 fellowship year.

2. Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship?

As the Wiebe fellow, I was placed in the Senate Office of Majority Counsel/Program—with the Democrat Majority when they were in power in 2010, and then with the Republican Majority when they resumed power in 2011.

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship office placement.

September 4, 2012
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Alumni Testimonial: Vincent Giannone

“The NYS Senate Session Assistants Program is a once in a lifetime learning experience.  Having worked the Joint Legislative Hearings on the Executive Budget, helped research material for possible legislation, and interacted with constituents, I have accumulated state government experience that is not possible elsewhere.  Attending session each day, participating in a mock legislative session on the Senate floor, and networking among Senate colleagues are the experiences that I enjoyed the most from the program.  Students thinking of taking advantage of this great opportunity will benefit immensely because one cannot truly grasp the intricacies of how New York State government functions until you experience it firsthand.  Even if your career path is not involving politics, this is an experience that is rewarding to your future on an abundance of levels.”

July 5, 2012
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Alumni Testimonial: Nicholas Barranca

“The Senate Internship Program is ideal for individuals intent on pursuing a career in politics or public service. As a Session Assistant, you are privy to the inner workings of state government and have the opportunity to gain an invaluable, comprehensive understanding of politics that cannot be obtained in the classroom. Aside from equipping students with knowledge that is undeniably crucial to a future career in government, the internship also provides a host of networking opportunities and once in a lifetime experiences. While the program can certainly be demanding, the rewards of hard work and dedication are both numerous and enduring.”

July 5, 2012
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SP Alum Featured in City and State's 40 Under 40

Student Programs is proud of Tania Dissanayake, featured in City and State's 2012 edition of the "40 Under 40."

Tania Dissanayake’s family came to the U.S. in 1989 to escape civil war in Sri Lanka, so when her mother encourages her to pursue her dreams, the advice carries some weight.

“My brother and I were raised in Westchester, proudly by a single mom, and she instilled in me a lot of big dreams and promise and trying to have a big future,” Dissanayake says.

July 5, 2012
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Alumni Testimonial: Nick LaStella

“I applied for the Senate Undergraduate Session Assistants Program for one reason -- to learn more about the legislative process in Albany. However, I learned and gained so much more. From networking with lawmakers and attorneys from both inside and outside the legislative realm to helping constituents with problems at home, I became familiar with most all of the functions of working in government. For someone who wants to pursue public interest positions after law school, I have taken away invaluable experiencesand made invaluable connections that will surely be of benefit wherever my future endeavors take me.”

July 5, 2012
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About Student Programs

 

 

From the halls of higher-learning to the halls of the State Capitol, New York State Senate Student Programs offers undergraduate and graduate students exciting opportunities to learn about state government and to experience firsthand the legislative process.

If you have ever thought about a career in public service or state government, now is the time to get started! Our on-site, experiential learning programs provide students with a work experience that is both professionally rewarding and academically enriching.

February 3, 2009
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