The Albany Internship Experience Offers Behind-the-Scenes Views of Politics and Government
Students from All Majors Benefit from AIE's Real-World Exposure
The Albany Internship Experience (AIE) Program was created by Dr. Martin Shaffer, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. One of the course options is an American State and Local Politics class, most recently taught by Dr. Krista Applebee, the Director of the AIE program.
Prior to working for Marist, Applebee worked as Director of Student Programs and in communications for the New York State Senate. She came on board as the director of the AIE Program in order to help design and implement the program and teach the related Albany-based courses.
The AIE program is generally open to juniors and seniors, of all majors. It is offered in both the regular academic school year and during the summer for students who cannot fit the program into their regular schedules. The American State and Local Politics class is offered both on the Poughkeepsie campus and in Albany.
The Marist College course catalog describes the course as offering an overview of state and local government and politics. It includes attention to New York State, the urban politics of New York City, and attention to representative county and town governments in the mid-Hudson area. It covers the social, economic, and political context within which state and local politics and policy-making that occur. The course examines linkage mechanisms between citizens and government, including elections, interest groups, and other forms of participation. Students study actors and institutions involved in policymaking at these levels and at the national level. Some selected policy areas that are reviewed include criminal justice, social welfare policy, education, and financing of current government priorities.
In May 2016, 22 Marist students from the spring semester’s class participated in the Career Trek to Albany. They participated in panels with legislators, policymakers, nonprofit administrators, and lobbyists, and were then given a tour of the Capitol building.
The American State and Local Politics class includes a variety of guest speakers as a component of the course. Speakers in the past include City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Robison, County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature Dale Borchert, District Office Director Lydia Biskup and Senator Sue Serino. A newer component added to the course by Dr. Shaffer and Dr. Applebee is the day long Career Trek to Albany. Beginning in summer 2016, this provided students the opportunity to meet with professional legislative and executive staff and nonprofit leaders and lobbyists.
The curriculum for both the Poughkeepsie and Albany courses incorporates both academic study and experiential education. “Each also incorporates a career component encouraging students to utilize these experiences to better clarify their intended career path,” Applebee said.
The course and the program as a whole, emphasizes the importance of combining academics with experience. “While this type of experience can be found in other course offerings at Marist, it expands on the purely academic study of political science,” Applebee explained. “We encourage students to think of how these experiences can enhance and inform the development of their career path, resumes, etc. Many students participating in these programs are able to gain greater clarity in relation to the type of graduate study they may pursue by interacting closely with professionals in their field.”
Kylie Balogh ’17, a Social Work major and Sociology/Global Studies double minor, spoke highly of her experience as a summer intern with the AIE program. Along with the American State and Local Politics course, she also interned with Families Together in New York State, where she lobbied, attended press conferences, assisted in grant writing, conducted research, and compiled questionnaire data into an extensive report to send to the grant funding source. “My time interning was exactly what I want it to be and more,” she said. “As an incoming senior, I have been struggling with what path I wanted to take to my degree. Through my social work classes, I noticed that change in an individual could rarely take place until systematic change has happened. This sparked my interest in social policy and the need to create macro-level change to help those in need of services.” In her six weeks in Albany, Balogh said that she got an authentic glimpse into policy work and a great foot in the door experience for her future.
Written by Adriana Belmonte '17
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