When did you participate in the Undergraduate Session Assistants Program or Senate Fellowship?
Class of 2008
Which Senate office were you placed in during your internship?
Senator José M. Serrano
Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your internship office placement.
As the Senator had limited staff in Albany, I served as his full-time Legislative Assistant and helped to maintain daily operations in the Albany office. This opportunity allowed me to work on the Senator’s legislative portfolio and oversee committee legislation, and would staff him on the Chamber floor. One of the most fulfilling experiences of this program was getting to meet with constituent organizations with and on behalf of the Senator and Senior Staff, where I was able to get a first-hand look at individuals and organizations affected by the issues we took on each and every day.
Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I work for the Alzheimer’s Association, and was most recently promoted to Director of Government Affairs, New York State where I direct and manage all public policy planning and advocacy implementation on the federal, state and local levels in New York State. In this new role, for this upcoming session, I will be returning to Albany to once again work with members of the State Legislature and the Executive Chamber, now focusing on policy priorities for the over 390,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s in New York State and the over one million caregivers providing unpaid care to those living with the disease.
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?
First and foremost, I learned how to properly tie my tie. I will never forget walking into that conference room and meeting some of my Session Assistant colleagues, only to learn that they did the exact same thing I had done the night before which was to look on YouTube how to properly tie our ties. All kidding aside, I credit my New York State Senate Internship for really giving me my start. I learned the ins and outs of the halls of the Capitol. I look back at many of the relationships I formed back as an intern and how they have helped me to get where I am today. For example, who knew that one the staffers I sat next to almost every day during session would become not only a member of the Assembly, but the Chair of a prominent County organization.
One thing that stuck with me more so than anything was a quote by former Governor David Paterson on the last day of the 2008 Legislative Session to outgoing Majority Leader Senator Joe Bruno and that was “"Should you ever be thrown into a situation as suddenly and tragically as I was.. there's one old adage that is always true... don't forget where you came from." I never will forget where I came from and that was this internship program.