Assemblywoman Galef Touts Civics Education through Internships in Her Local Assembly Office

September 5, 2012
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef knows how important it is for young people to learn about state and local government and their influence on our daily lives. She also knows that students can learn so much in an applied setting where they must learn by doing and put their critical reasoning, writing and speaking skills to work. Having just completed summer internships, college and high school students offer some highlights of their experiences volunteering in Galef’s local district office.

Angelina Xing from Briarcliff who attends Hackley School said, “Literally the day before I started my office hours, I got to visit the State Capitol in Albany. That was such an unexpected privilege. I got to see bills debated on the floor of the Assembly Chamber and really see government in action.” Catherine Traynor of North Salem, who came back for a second time this past spring to fulfill her senior internship placement, added that she “…expected to be a minute member of the staff, but in reality, I contributed a lot to the office and was entrusted with important tasks like writing press releases. I even had the opportunity to present a proclamation at an event in the local community. I was nervous having to go in front of so many people, but once I did it, I felt really good about myself.” Traynor, who graduated high school this past May, has gone on to study political science at a prestigious program at McCaulay Honors College at CUNY in New York City, and says she was definitely influenced to go in this direction by her work in Galef’s state office.

Samantha Heyward of Peekskill, who attends Hackley School, and Jasmine Di Bella, from California who summers with her aunt in Croton, also both returned this year for a second time because they had such a positive experience last summer. Debbie Goddard, mother of Kenyon Winfield from Ossining High School, said that Kenyon’s early college experience this year taking a mandatory course on the history and politics of Texas (at University of Texas) seemed to be more interesting to him than either of them would have expected, and suggested that it was a direct result of his internship in Galef’s office.

Will Simons from Briarcliff, recently matriculated at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and planning to study Political Science said, “Even small things like answering the phone and talking to constituents really helped me develop my people skills.”

“I really enjoy the variety of students who come to intern in my district office,” said Galef. “We learn from each other. I get an opportunity to see them grow and blossom here, and go on to be involved citizens in their schools and communities, and they have an opportunity to see how government works at the grass roots level, all the while improving their writing, speaking and research skills.” Galef added, “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for anyone with the slightest interest in understanding the legislative process or the role of state government, or even just to experience a professional office environment, to really get their feet wet.”

Assemblywoman Galef invites students to apply to her internship program year-round. For more information, visit Galef’s assembly website to fill out an application at www.assembly.state.ny.us/mem/sandy-galef, or contact Dana Levenberg at (914)-941-1111, or levenbergd@assembly.state.ny.us.