University at Albany

Rockefeller Interns Head to Overseas Assignments

Follow the travels of our interns by reading their INTERNational Blogs

Contact:  Mary Hunt (518) 442-5264

Albany, NY (June 4, 2010) - Three Rockefeller College MPA students are headed overseas this summer to gain valuable experience in international development. Boston native Benjamin Brennan and New York State residents Kate Gargiulo of Clifton Park and Ryan Ashe of Mohawk will spend July and August abroad completing the internship component of their public service studies at Rockefeller College.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do with my life," said Ben Brennan of his assignment as project assistant with Hope International, a nonprofit agency that works with impoverished families in the Dominican Republic.  “This internship will put international experience on my resume.  This is definitely a great opportunity.  When I learned I got it, I was just ecstatic,” added Brennan, a microfinance specialist.   

Jennifer Maclaughlin, Rockefeller College’s director of internship and career programs, worked with Ben to find just the right fit for his internship.  Gaining international experience was important to Ben and he wanted to work for an organization that helped children.  His roots are Hispanic so he had a deep interest in finding a placement in Latin America or the Caribbean region.  “I encourage students to ask themselves what their interests, skills, and values are," said Williams.  "What’s going to make them want to go to work everyday?  The answers will be different for each person.  From an internship, they’ll build a skill set and gain experience that will lead to their next position.  I’ve seen a lot of Rockefeller College students be offered full-time jobs by organizations they have an internship with - - before their internship has even been completed.”

Rockefeller College Public Affairs Student Association (PASA) President Kate Gargiulo always knew she wanted to land an internship abroad during her master’s studies.  She’ll be stationed just north of the Equator in the Ugandan capital of Kampala working for SUNY’s Center for International Development (SUNY/CID) on its Linkages Project. Gargiulo, who previously worked in Capetown as a marketing and communications intern for the community development organization Greater Good South Africa, is one of this year’s two recipients of the prestigious Arthur Sist Fellowship awarded to graduate students through SUNY/CID.  Sist Fellows work in SUNY projects abroad. These multi-year projects have been established in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and are chiefly directed towards assisting national parliaments to strengthen their capacity to represent constituencies, participate in drafting and passing laws, and oversee the performance of executives in government.  The award is named for Arthur Sist whose distinguished career began with a doctorate in political science from Yale University and has segued into over 20 years experience promoting the consolidation of democracy through teaching democratic theory and directing programs for strengthening legislative and judicial systems in Latin America and Africa.  In recent years, Sist Fellows have worked in Jordan, Peru, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, and Brazil.

“I was really thrilled to have the opportunity to get to Africa again,” said Kate Gargiulo.  “Development work has been a passion of mine.  CID plays an important role in helping to foster democracy in developing nations.  The opportunity to work with CID was why I came to Rockefeller College.”  

A little over 400 miles southeast of Kampala on the other side of the Equator, Kate’s classmate Ryan Ashe, this year’s other Sist Fellow, will be working with the Kenyan Assembly in Nairobi on a legislative strengthening project for the Center for International Development.  Ashe, an analyst with the New York State Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee, has been concentrating his studies in international affairs and homeland security while at Rockefeller.  After reading about internship opportunities with CID, Ryan knew it was something he really wanted to do.  “There were three countries that I said I was really interested in working for.  Kenya was my number one.  I was really happy to get it,” he explained.  “To get to go to Africa and to do government work -- I can’t ask for anything better.” 

“The internships Ben, Kate, and Ryan are undertaking this summer will really help to make them marketable candidates for jobs.  They’ll come back changed people.  They will have grown personally as well as professionally,” Jennifer Maclaughlin believes.  “These internships will really help set the stage for what will come next in their careers.” 

Follow the travels of Ben, Kate, and Ryan by reading their INTERNational blogs on Rockefeller College’s website.