Four ESU Seniors Complete Summer Internships in D.C. Through the Washington Center Program for Internships and Academic Seminars
Four East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) seniors, Tyler Day, Frank Pulgiano, Efia King and Jose Andres Martinez, served as interns in Washington, D.C., this summer through The Washington Center (TWC) Program for Internships and Academic Seminars.
Day, majoring in political science and history from Milford, Pa., was an intern with The Chwat Group, a lobbying and government relations firm (http://thechwatgroup.com). During his internship, Day met with Paul Sass, deputy director of the House Committee on Small Business; had lunch with Dave Donley, the executive director of the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee and attended a panel discussion at George Washington University about the future of U.S./China relations. Day helped to work on strategies to move bills through House and Senate committees, toured the U.S. Supreme Court, watched a Senate session from the gallery and took a TWC course on the federal budget process. He also volunteered in parks and schools as part of TWC’s Local Green Civic Engagement Project, where students learn about local environmental issues.
“During my time at The Chwat Group, I was able to relate what I learned in the classroom at my university to my professional duties there,” said Day. “The institution I dealt with most was Congress and my work in the classroom prepared me for this. Knowing the legislative process and how congressional committees are made up was a necessity for my internship. Although one can learn about the federal government in theory from a textbook, it does not compare to actually being in the city and being a part of its workings. I feel my summer in the nation’s capital will certainly make me a better student at ESU and a better candidate for potential employers.”
Pulgiano, from Edison, N.J., majoring in political science with a concentration in pre-law studies, was an intern with an organization called No Labels, a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and everything in between working together to forge solutions to our nation’s problems, according to its website (www.nolabels.org/about-us). Pulgiano helped to host a No Labels rally in July in Upper Senate Park, where more than 70 members of Congress proposed nine new bipartisan bills. Pulgiano attended the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, an opportunity he said was by far the most educating and rewarding experience of his life. As part of a TWC civic engagement project, Pulgiano also volunteered with Team Red White and Blue (http://teamrwb.org), a non-profit organization that seeks to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
“My internship really taught me more than any textbook could about how a bill is created, introduced, and eventually put into law,” said Pulgiano. “During a weekly TWC political leadership series, we heard from prominent professionals from various fields inside politics–from consultants and lobbyists to media secretaries for presidents. The series allowed me to hear from people in the jobs that I could one day try to attain. Hearing from the various professionals really helped me understand what it takes to be successful in D.C. Also, before this summer I knew little about veterans’ affairs. During my civic engagement activities I learned about some of the most pressing issues facing veterans every day, including post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, and lack of education. I learned what I can do as a citizen to make a difference. Veterans affairs civic engagement was the most rewarding experience during my time in D.C. and has made me want to continue to help veterans.”
King, of Philadelphia, Pa., is a double major in communication studies (concentration in speech communications) and sociology (concentration in general sociology.) Her internship was with Torture Abolition Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC). According to its website (www.tassc.org), the mission of TASSC is to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and to empower survivors, their families and communities wherever they are.
During her internship, King attended many House and Senate Committee hearings, and watched the Senate discuss the immigration reform bill a day before its vote to approve it. King also attended the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, which was founded by members of Congress to promote awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests and views of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. King also met prominent people who work for human rights organizations, companies and government agencies, including Elmy A. Bermejo, who was appointed by President Barack Obama as director for intergovernmental affairs for the U.S. Department of Labor. While in Washington, D.C., King also volunteered at Samaritan Inns, which helps men and women who struggle with homelessness and addiction.
“The summer I spent in Washington D.C. was one of the most amazing experiences that I have had in my college career thus far,” said King. “I learned more about the structure of government and the legislative process, and further developed professional skills as well. Interning with Torture Abolition Survivors Support Coalition International gave me the opportunity to clarify my desired career path, which is the international affairs and human rights field. I also gained a better understanding of the nonprofit sector. Overall, I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in The Washington Center Academic Seminar and Internship Summer 2013 program, because it was definitely an eye opening experience that allowed me to grow and learn in more ways than one.”
Martinez, from East Stroudsburg, Pa., majoring in economics and pursuing minors in mathematics and business, participated in an internship at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), an organization that conducts economic research on agriculture, food security, and climate change for countries in Latin America (www.iica.int/Eng/Pages/default.aspx). During his internship, Martinez built a database of research on the sources of risk for small family farmers in Latin America. He also attended seminars on food security and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and their impact on small family farmers. Martinez made a presentation to IICA officials on the benefits of an integrated farming system and its impact on managing risk and food security. He also volunteered at Mil Mujeres, which provides direct legal services in the area of immigration law to low income Spanish-speaking survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, according to its website (www.milmujeres.org). While at Mil Mujeres, he helped to inform the Latino community on different types of visas that exist. Martinez, who is originally from Guatemala, also visited the Guatemalan embassy and met with the ambassador from that country.
Day and Pulgiano were supervised by Kimberly S. Adams, Ph.D., ESU associate professor of political science and campus liaison to TWC, an educational non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides thousands of students from hundreds of colleges and universities nationally and worldwide with specialized internship opportunities in Washington D.C., and abroad. King was supervised by Andrea McClanahan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the ESU Department of Communication Studies. Martinez was supervised by Pattabiraman (Pats) Neelakantan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the ESU Department of Economics.
“Like many of my colleagues, I continue to seek innovative ways to provide ESU students with opportunities to learn through practical involvement in their respective fields of study,” said Dr. Adams. “The fact that four of our students, with diverse interests and majors, were chosen and participated in the program speaks volumes about the caliber of students we have here at ESU. I’m so proud of our students!”
For more information about the political science degree programs at East Stroudsburg University or the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, contact Dr. Adams at 570-422-3924 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.