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.
The small size of Senator Robach’s office in Albany required me to assume a number of responsibilities in order to facilitate operations and to meet the varying needs of constituents. I helped to brief the Senator for floor debates and community meetings by researching legislation pertaining to criminal law and health topics within New York State. Additionally, I met with lobbyists during the legislative session and monitored public hearings to keep staff members up-to-date on proposed reforms to the thousands of bills that are created each legislative year.
The fast-paced nature of the Senate meant that no single day of work within my fellowship was alike. In order to relay information to community stakeholders, I continually educated myself about the resources available within New York State’s government and how they can optimally be utilized to serve others. My favorite part of the job was connecting constituents to state government agencies in order to get their questions answered and to solve issues that they faced within government. Given the tough challenges that New Yorkers have endured as a result of the recession and natural disasters, this aspect of the job required me to always have an empathetic, service-oriented approach to helping others.
4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment?
I was fortunate enough to be hired as a Legislative Aide to Senator Robach in July 2012. In this role, I continued fulfilling similar duties to those that I performed in my fellowship. In October 2012, I was accepted into a two-year Capital City Fellowship with the District of Columbia government, where I am currently employed. Here, I have rotated within the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance, where I helped the Mayor of Washington, D.C.’s Capital Budget Director to complete the 2014 – 2019 Capital Improvements Plan. I will continue to rotate with different government agencies in the future.
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 Fellowship taught me a great deal about the legislative process and how to analyze policy proposals, including how to weigh the competing interests of community stakeholders. On a daily basis, I am able to take the knowledge that I learned about government relations and communications as a fellow and apply it to my current job, even though it is in a different jurisdiction. I strongly recommend that anyone who is interested in government and making a positive difference to others through public service apply for the Senate Student Programs internship or fellowship.