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.
During my fellowship, I worked on issues before the energy, environmental conservation, and agriculture committees. My fellowship took place during the return of the Republican Majority as well as the Governor’s first year in office. My own office was largely newly hired and there was an incredible energy and zealousness associated with this climate. It was the first year in many living memories that the budget was passed on time, and more reform legislation was passed by both houses and signed by the Governor than anyone had anticipated. On a day-to-day basis, the majority of my work focused on the legal analysis of proposed legislation, including advice and recommendation on such legislation. I also participated in committee meetings and I regularly met with lobbyists on pending legislation before my focus committees. But I must say, the highlight of my fellowship was to participate in round-the-clock negotiations with the Governor’s office and the Assembly on the “Power NY” bill, which restarted the power plant siting process in New York—a statute that had been expired for about ten years—and introduced new, cutting-edge financing mechanisms for homeowners to undertake weatherization projects. This bill will set the stage for a new state energy policy as well as new large-scale energy projects throughout the State, which is an incredible way to start one’s career in their chosen issue area.
4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I am currently Assistant Counsel in the Senate Office of Majority Counsel/Program. I was very excited to be offered a full-time position upon the completion of my fellowship, and I continue to work on the three issue areas that I worked on as a fellow—energy, environmental conservation, and agriculture. While many of my day-to-day activities are similar to those during my fellowship, I do enjoy greater responsibility over my issue areas as well as the ability to sign off on legal recommendations on proposed legislation.
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 fellowship program is an incredible opportunity that anyone can take advantage of, in the sense that one will invariably receive back the investment one has put into a position like this. Being a self-starter is highly valued in this field. If you work hard, show yourself to be indispensible, and never turn down an opportunity, it is all but certain that you will establish a strong network by the end of the fellowship. This is a philosophy I gained from my participation in the fellowship that I will carry with me for the remainder of my career.