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.
Extraordinary best describes my work experience at the New York State Capitol. From the moment I arrived as an undergraduate session assistant for former New York State Senator George H. Winner, Jr., I was elated by the enchanting artwork that filled the walls of the legislative buildings. Fortunately, my decision to intern proved to be the best direction for my enlightenment, culturally and academically. Honored to serve, I learned duties such as techniques for reading and summarizing bills, and highlighting content of importance to the Senator’s views. Furthermore, I participated in retrieving Senate bills for the agenda, answering phones, message-taking, and the mailing of acknowledgement correspondence, certificates and awards of achievement to constituents. Other projects provided me the opportunity of hands-on-experience in the process of serving committee staff. I conducted meetings with lobbyists and constituents and drafted related memoranda. In addition, I was given the task of researching data for legislative proposals. This honorable experience allowed me to develop a knowledge base of politics in its political strategic eloquence and to formulate my career aspirations.
Upon graduation from Albany Law School, I was awarded a Graduate Legislative Fellowship with the New York State Senate and assigned to New York State Senator Neil D. Breslin. (While in the fellowship, I researched legislative issues in policy areas including insurance, health care, constitutional reform, ethics and education; briefed the Senator on pending legislation; attended committee meetings and public hearings; drafted and introduced legislation; published reports on committee work; and met with constituents and advocates to discuss pending legislation and other issues. Working for Senator Breslin gave me the hands-on practice/education that I could never have gotten in law school.
Due to the Student Programs Office, I have been very fortunate to have worked for some of the hardest-working elected/appointed officials in the state, who have been willing to give me amazing opportunities to take on new challenges, learn and grow in their offices.
4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I currently serve as Legislative Counsel to Senator Michael N. Gianaris. In my role, I counsel the Senator on law, legislation, and policy (including public safety, government structure, constitutional questions/reforms, education, environment, housing, penal law, senate rules, etc.). I also develop legislation and policy, devise and implement strategies to advance legislation and policy initiatives.
The wide variety of issues handled keeps things interesting. You define yourself by who is on the other side of the coin of what you’re doing. The exposure provided during my tenure as an Undergraduate Session Assistant & Graduate Legislative Fellow, allowed me access to both partisan sides of the political arena of state government and allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of state government and its various complexities… it’s all about changing your method and technique, the more influences the better.
5. What did you learn from participating in the New York State Senate internship programs that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
The New York State Senate Student Programs Office opened doors for me I never knew existed. By interacting with legislators I learned the part of the political process not presented in textbooks. I enjoyed every single moment of my time in New York state government, working with wonderful colleagues who developed into friends who have inspired me. Regardless of your major or career aspirations, I highly recommend the programs. You never know who you may meet and where those relationships will take you.