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Eric Fenske is a senior geography major who has recently completed an internship with the New York State Assembly. The text below details some of his experiences and the value of his education in geography at Plattsburgh State:
"The assembly session internship was an incredible experience and a great time, but it required a lot of hard work for me to get the most out of it. I went into the internship with little to no knowledge of politics or the legislative process of New York State. I made it my goal to learn as much as possible to make some good contacts and show everybody that knowledge of geography, specifically human geography, plays an important role in representing the concerns and opinions of constituents. I think that I accomplished all of these during the internship."
"I worked in the office of Assemblyman David Townsend, who represents Assembly District 115, comprised of parts of Oneida and Oswego counties. I have never lived in this district before, but my knowledge of the human geography of New York State helped me identify what the concerns of the constituents were. Occasionally constituents of other districts would ask Assemblyman Townsend for help, and I knew what the area they were from was like, which helped out immensely."
"There were two different parts to the internship. One part was the class component, which included a one-hour lecture once a week, reading, homework and a final paper. The second part of the internship was the actual office work. I was responsible for researching, drafting and tracking legislation, preparing the session calendar and preparing documents needed for committee meetings that Assemblyman Townsend was part of. I was also responsible for contacting and responding to constituents. In all I personally researched and drafted 25 bills, and tracked and dealt with over 100 bills. There were several occasions when I met with a constituent group on my own, which gave me an intimate look at the human geography of District 115."
"The final paper could have been counted as a third part of the internship itself. We had to choose and analyze any piece of legislation that we wanted as soon as it was active in the current session. We had to analyze what initiated the bill, who supported and opposed it and why, what the Governor's response was, what our individual assembly member's response was, what our own response was and what we thought the prospects for the bill were. … I wrote my paper on Assembly Bill A2048, which was introduced by Assemblyman DiNapoli. Yes, it required a lot of very hard work to write a good paper, but I think it was the best work I've ever done."
"Even though it was hard work, the internship was a lot of fun. My co-workers in my office and I became very close. My roommate and I had a lot of fun, and also helped each other throughout the internship."
"I feel the best way to learn about human geography is to immerse yourself right into the heart of it. I would recommend this internship to anyone who has an interest in human geography and/or politics. The quality of an experience that a student can gain from an internship is directly dependent on the amount of effort put into it."
If you would like more information about geography at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact
Dr. Edwin Romanowicz, Director
Office: Hudson Hall 132
Phone: (518) 564-2028
Toll-Free Phone: (877) 554-1041
Fax: (518) 564-5267