Academic journal article Human Ecology

Policy Makers in the Making: Cornell Capital Semester; Interns in the Cornell Capital Semester Are Truly Battle Tested in the Workings of the Nation's Most Complex State Government-And They Come through with Flying Colors

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Policy Makers in the Making: Cornell Capital Semester; Interns in the Cornell Capital Semester Are Truly Battle Tested in the Workings of the Nation's Most Complex State Government-And They Come through with Flying Colors

Article excerpt

Students who want to learn how policy is created spend spring semester living and working in Albany N.Y., while earning 15 academic credits.

Consider just the last four years. Ten of the 28 recipients of the New York State Assembly Distinguished Interns Award have been from the College of Human Ecology. This year's recipients are Seth Moskowitz '06 and Audrey Welker '06. Both are majoring in policy analysis and management (PAM). Each year the award is given to only seven interns from a field of 150 undergraduate interns hailing from colleges and universities around New York State.

High honors have also been accorded Human Ecology interns in the New York State Senate. The culminating event on the Senate side is a full-day mock Senate session. In the past four years, two PAM students have been elected Senate Majority Leaders and one was elected Senate Whip for that event.

"Cornell interns have developed a reputation of excellence with legislators," says William Rosen, program director and senior lecturer of policy analysis and management. "It is very rewarding to see the interns mature in their understanding of the political process and in their ability to succeed in a political/work environment."

Being given responsibility to succeed on their own at real work is one element that distinguishes the Capital Semester from internships in the federal government. Each Capital Semester student is the sole intern in his or her legislator's office. (In federal internships, 30 interns commonly work for one senator or representative.) Since legislative offices are notoriously short staffed, interns are expected to help draft legislation, conduct research, write press releases, and attend hearings. It's not unusual for interns to meet with consultants and lobbyists on their own.

Rosen meets weekly with the students at the New York State Government Affairs seminar, where he brings academic knowledge back into the political world. …

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