Gianna RomanoAlbany, NY
“Working as a legislative intern in the personal office of U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer was an exciting and sometimes overwhelming four months.” So begins Gianna Romano’s final assignment for Prof. Tony Carrizale’s MPA Internship class.
We caught up with Romano, who works as a legislative aide for the New York State Assembly, for a debriefing on her internship, which took place from September through December last year. “I most enjoyed the feeling of being part of an organization that is so multifaceted,” she said. “Our federal government is the U.S. Congress; working in government, it doesn’t get better than that. And putting the senator’s name on my resume was a good feeling. It was truly an honor to work for such a prolific legislator.”
As one of about 30 interns in Schumer’s office, Romano’s duties were, she writes, “understandably limited to mostly menial tasks, so keeping yourself available to any opportunity was key.” Romano says she reached out to Schumer’s aides in housing and health care policy, “and probably went to a hearing or briefing at least once a week.” After attending these sessions, she drafted memos that summarized the proceedings.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Romano felt her MPA coursework helped her on the Hill. “In the back of my mind, I had the core pillars of public administration — such as transparency and accountability — that are really important in an office setting. I think I lived up to the expectations of my supervisors by employing those MPA standards.”
Do her future employment plans include moving to D.C.? “Yes. I was excited to come back to Albany, but working at the state level isn’t quite as far as I’d like to go in my career,” she said. “My office is aware I’d like to go back to D.C. after this legislative session. Then I will definitely get my resume out to offices on the Hill.”
The most important lesson learned during her internship, Romano said, is “to be humble. You have to realize that, while your position is important, you’re not above anyone else and shouldn’t act as if you have a higher status. You never know who you’re talking to, it could very well be a member of Congress.”