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The Intern Experience: The Value of Involvement

Editor’s note: This is the second of a four-part series on student internships, produced by interns in the Office of Communications and Marketing: reporting intern Adaora Onyebeke ’17 and photo and video intern Elijah Guerrero '20.

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 6, 2017) — Each year, UAlbany handpicks a select number of junior or senior students with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.50 to join the Assembly Session Internship Program.

Matthew Garcia, a senior Political Science major in 2017, was ecstatic to be picked for the program, working as an intern in the Albany office of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (103rd District, Kingston). He earned a stipend and 15 credits but the greatest value came with the work itself.

“I like reading up about politics, but nothing compares to the actual experience of being involved in the process and learning how things operate behind the scenes,” Garcia said. “Sophomore year, I saw fliers for the Assembly internship around campus and thought to myself that it was something I really wanted to do either my junior or senior year before I graduated and attended law school.”

With his grandfather having been an assemblyman, senator and congressman, the internship seemed like the perfect fit for Garcia.

“I remember seeing photos of my grandfather alongside all the great politicians of the ’60s and ’70s, all the way to the ’90s, and it was during my teenage years of high school that I really started to grasp the importance of what he had done for people.”

During his time in Assemblyman Cahill’s office, Garcia’s love for the law grew tremendously.

“Interns were able to attend sessions to see how the legislative process works, track the progress of their assembly member’s bills, reach out to other assembly members to see if they would be interested in supporting a bill, and participate in mock sessions in the New York State Capitol,” he said.

Reflecting on his experience, Garcia said he’s pleased with his time in the internship program and encourages fellow students to take advantage of it.

“I think when it comes to choosing an internship, it is important to consider your education and your plans for the future, because as someone who wants to pursue a law career and attend law school, I think this internship was perfect for me.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.