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A Capital Program

Instead of spending the first week of the Fall 2018 semester on campus settling into their dorm rooms, reading through course syllabi, and catching up with friends, UAlbany’s Semester in Washington students had quite a different experience. Making the move to the nation’s capital for the next four months, UAlbany’s cohort of 18 students hit the ground running, starting internship placements in the public and private sector, including the U.S. Department of State, World Affairs Council, and the Executive Office of the President.

For 20 years, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy has administered the Semester in Washington program for the University at Albany, giving undergraduate students an opportunity to explore careers in government and the public and non-profit sectors.

“I chose to participate in the Semester in Washington program because I truly wanted to find my niche as I wasn’t sure where I wanted to end up in the realm of public affairs,” said Michael Alleyne, a senior public policy and management major with a concentration in government. He is interning as a student analyst trainee at the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “I initially wanted to wind up in the non-profit sector, but now that I’m so engaged in public policy at GAO, I can’t see myself doing anything else in the future.”

Before embarking on their semester-long internship placements, the students spent time in workshops on the subjects of professional attire, networking, mentorship, and how to leverage the semester experience into a future career.

The SIW program yields an expansive network of alumni, and students are connected with successful program graduates and political leaders, while also having the opportunity to take advantage of the historic, artistic, governmental, and recreational assets D.C. has to offer.

“D.C. has been amazing so far,” said senior political science and global affairs major Darian Harbeck, who is interning in the Office of U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY 20th District). “Before our internships started, we were able to get a feel for the city and explore the many free attractions that the District has to offer, including an impromptu tour full of fun facts and in-depth histories of cool exhibits at the National Archives Museum.”

Historically a spring semester program, this is the second cohort to spend the fall in D.C. after an expansion of the Semester in Washington Program in 2017 added a focus on homeland security, cybersecurity and global affairs. Students take two courses – CEHC 340: Contemporary Issues in Security and Preparedness and CEHC 341: Washington in Perspective in addition to completing their internship.

“At GAO, I’ve already had the opportunity to take on some of the tasks that their graduated analysts typically do, including interviewing executive branch department liaisons, writing out ‘record of interview’ statements, and conducting quantitative research on the measurement metrics that federal self-regulation committees that handle physical infrastructure use,” said Alleyne. “I’ve already been so involved in the process of reforming public policy at the federal level here, and I’m loving every second of it.”

“The SIW program has, in just a short time, introduced me to a vast array of people and networks that will undoubtedly be valuable to my career and professional development for the rest of my life,” added Harbeck. “Being on the Hill and having the opportunity to participate in government at the Federal level has genuinely been a dream come true.”

Fall 2018 SIW Internship Placements
Michael Alleyne Government Accountability Office
Michael Apollo U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Diplomatic Security Operational Medicine Unit
Alyssa Archie National Organization for Women: President’s Office/Political Action Committee
Alondra Berroa Federal Judicial Center
Matthew Cerone World Affairs Council: Emerging Global Leader Program
Osondi Dimgba FCC Internship Program: Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau
Connor Fayle U.S. Marshals Service: Judicial Security Division
Darian Harbeck The Office of U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY 20th District)
Paulina Hatzipetrakos Supreme Court Curatorial Internship
Jordan Higgins The Office of U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Noel Justiniano U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Joshua Kam The Office of U.S. Representative John Katko (R-NY 24th District)
Herman Parmar World Affairs Council: Emerging Global Leader Program
Saskia Pilorge EMILY’S List
Anna Pluckrose Office of National Drug Control Policy at the Executive Office of The PresidentData 6
Linda Rauch International Center for Terrorism Studies: Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Taylor Salaway National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
Alexandra Salenko U.S. Marshals Service: Tactical Operations Division/Special Deputations Unit

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 Rockefeller College News Magazine.