Internships can be a rewarding means of linking classroom studies to real-world experiences in the local political arena. Ari Kaputkin, a Geography Major, recalls his formative summer internship:
“As a Community Development intern with the DUMBO Improvement District, I was able to participate in just about every facet of the Business Improvement District’s workings, making for a very diverse summer of experience and learning. From the start, I was working with graphic designers and computer programmers on producing a map as part of an initiative to develop Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle into the next Silicon Valley. Through attending meetings, data collection and working with many different organizations, this project gave me immediate insight into the vast collaborative effort it takes to produce studies of this scale, and move forward on projects in a place like New York City.
“ I was also given the reins to propose and site new bike racks for the DUMBO neighborhood, working directly with the Department of Transportation and local business and property owners. The experience of working with the DOT and observing intra-governmental procedures will be an invaluable experience as I move forward to study Urban Planning.
“ In the same vein, I was able to attend planning meetings with government officials, architects, engineers, artists and designers on various development projects, including restoring the neighborhood’s streets to their original cobblestone surfacing, commissioning mural artists, and creating new parks and plazas. I was often in contact with local businesses on these projects, and gained the often overlooked perspective on how these types of projects may affect and are perceived by local business and property owners. “
Political Science and International Relations majors also made notable contributions to distinct communities through summer internships. “Faculty members in the Department of Political Science and International Relations encourage students to seek out internships as a means of linking theory with practice as well as preparing to work effectively with the philosophies, institutions, processes, and behavioral aspects of politics in government, public affairs, and the law,” said Jeff Miller, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations.
Miller noted that many Political Science and International Relations majors who advance to government positions at the local, state and federal levels began their careers as interns.
The following students, all members of the Class of 2014, share some of their experiences as summer interns.
“This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Representative Nita Lowey, who has been fighting for women’s rights in the House of Representatives for more than twenty years. As a Political Science major with a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor, this internship effectively combined two of my main passions. It was very rewarding to work in local politics. I encourage all students to apply for internships to establish the networking sills and connections necessary in the today’s unsteady job market.”
“This summer I worked under the mentorship of New Paltz Village Board Trustee Ariana Basco. My experience was diverse and engaging. I attended board and committee meetings, researched local political issues, and participated in community outreach initiatives. This experience provided me the opportunity to experience the intricacies of local government, and also served to hone my understanding of quality research methods when I was tasked with the specific job of researching municipal mergers.”
“I interned at the Village Hall of the Incorporated Village of Massapequa Park (my hometown). I got the position by cold calling the village asking if they needed any interns. I organized road plans, maps, building plans, and blueprints dating as far back as the early 1940s and created an Excel database in order to keep track of record location. This summer allowed me to see government directly interacting with people.”