Maria with Senator Joe Morelle - 2013

Name: Maria Volpe-McDermott              

Major(s): Political Science

Hometown: Albany, NY

Graduation Date: May 2014

Tell us about your current internship?   Employer, brief summary of duties, major projects.

This semester, I am working with New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and an interdisciplinary team comprised of students and faculty from Geneseo as part of the “Supporting the Whole Child” initiative. This initiative, designed by Majority Leader Morelle, is meant to identify problems and effective solutions regarding the well-being of children, primarily in Monroe County. Throughout this semester, I have conducted research on early childhood education programs being implemented in the Rochester area, as well as meeting with stakeholders such as The Children’s Agenda and members of Joe Morelle’s staff. Although the process has been slow, the goal is to have a white paper constructed and a yearly summit held to address potential problems within the Monroe County educational system. 

Is this your first internship? 

No, this is not my first internship. I have had an internship in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office working with his Appointment staff, as well as two internships with New York State United Teachers, a union representing teaching staff and professionals.

Motivation.  Why did you decide to do an internship?

I came into college undecided, so since the beginning of my freshman year I wanted to gain as much experience as possible to help me decide what I wanted to pursue after college. Each internship experience has provided a glimpse into a different area of government and has helped open the doors for me to obtain other opportunities.

How did you find this particular internship?

I found this internship through an email that Geneseo sent out.

Recommendations for other students?

Internships, whether they are paid or unpaid, are a valuable experience to help students realize what they may or may not want to pursue after graduation. They also allow students to begin developing an extensive networking base that can be asset for future career plans. I would recommend that students begin participating in internships as soon as possible. Using friends, family, and the career office are all great resources to help students in their search. I also think LinkedIn is a very valuable resource that is underutilized by many students.

What did you learn about yourself by doing an internship?

Each internship experience taught me something different, but ultimately I gained an immense amount of knowledge in learning how to conduct myself in a workplace environment, meeting deadlines, and handling pressure. One of the most important lessons my boss taught me was to find a career that I’m passionate about. If you do not love your job, it is going to affect other parts of your life.  

Did you have an aha moment during your internship?

Since my internship is still in progress, I have not had one aha moment. When I realize that this project is going to be used to possibly create new legislation regarding education in New York, I do feel like I have accomplished something. 

How did the internship impact your career goals?  Have they changed? 

There are a multitude of careers associated with the political field. Doing this internship made me realize that I would love to work for either the state or federal government doing political policy related work.

How has the internship made a difference in your life, personal goals?

The internship helped me realize that I can be an asset in an organization. I gained more confidence, better public speaking and communication skills, and an opportunity to practice my leadership skills.

Describe a typical day at your internship (or the most exciting day). 

I think the most exciting day I have had in my current internship was when I got to sit down and brief Majority Leader Morelle and his staff on the research I had found. It is not every day that constituents get to interact with their political representatives or have an open forum to voice their concerns. Usually, my typical day involves doing research on a particular topic or interviewing different stakeholders about their opinions on the topic.