FLUSHING, NY, May 30, 2013 – What better place to observe the American political and legislative process in action than in the nation’s capital? Three Queens College students and political science majors who are “passionate about politics” – Katarina Matic, Joseph Stern, and Andrew Sokolof – have been given that very opportunity this summer, thanks to the City University of New York’s Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs. All will be interning with members of Congress.
For over 25 years, this highly competitive, intensive program has provided 12 CUNY students a chance to work full-time for eight weeks each summer in the offices of U.S. Representatives and Senators, congressional committees, federal agencies and a variety of national and international non-governmental organizations. In addition to their office responsibilities, interns fulfill the academic requirements associated with the program by maintaining a journal of their daily experiences, submitting written reports to their Washington sponsors, attending weekly colloquia, and producing major research papers for evaluation by the faculty at their home campuses. In return for their participation in the program, which runs from early June to the end of July, the interns receive six credits. All living expenses and housing costs are covered by CUNY.
“Students who are interested in careers in media, politics or lobbying get to experience first-hand the excitement of the American democratic system of government,” says Political Science Professor Michael Krasner, faculty director of the program at QC. “Interested applicants go through a rigorous screening process for these coveted spots, and only those who are bright, accomplished, self-motivated, and highly recommended are chosen.”
Katarina Matic, 21, a Brooklyn resident who emigrated five years ago from Serbia “where employment opportunities after college are limited,” is such a student. Not only does she carry a full course load and commute 1.5 hours each way to QC, but she also works as a hostess/assistant manager at a Manhattan restaurant and volunteers as a reading tutor. Until this past May, she interned for NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (JacksonHeights), who presented Matic with a citation for “outstanding service and deep commitment to improving the lives” of his constituents. Matic, who is also majoring in psychology, hopes to attend law school after her graduation in June 2014.
Matic’s public policy interests lie in education, social services and civil rights. Her current internship assignment is with U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney.
Joseph Stern, 21, a Bronx resident who also will graduate next year, plans to be an entertainment or corporate lawyer and eventually run for political office. By scheduling his classes in the evening this past semester, Stern was able to volunteer as an assistant researcher for the International Council for Middle East Studies, a think tank, and become actively involved in the Young Democrats of America. He also donated his time to the American Jewish World Service, which included a week in Nicaragua building a vocational school for destitute farmers and lobbying Congress to reform food aid in the farm bill.
Before enrolling in QueensCollege two years ago, Stern studied in Jerusalem, Israel, where he immersed himself in a foreign culture and engaged in political debates that would prove useful for his future research. At QC his knowledge and love for politics – specifically economic and banking policy – grew.
Like Matic, Stern has had previous internship experience, having worked in the offices of Speaker of the NYS Assembly Sheldon Silver and for former NYC Councilman James Sanders Jr., now a state senator. Stern is currently interning for U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Andrew Sokolof, 23, interning for U.S. Representative Eliot L. Engel, has an equally busy schedule. A resident of East Elmhurst, Sokolof divides his time between his classes and work, supporting himself and his single mother. Growing up, Sokolof took many trips to his mother’s native country of Bolivia where he witnessed firsthand the effects of widespread poverty on the standard of living, infrastructure and social services.
“My time abroad helped shaped my interests in social services and justice, education, environmental sustainability and immigration reform,” he says.
Sokolof is also vice president of the Environmental Club at QC and is actively involved in New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG), a student-run political advocacy group. After graduating next year, Sokolof hopes to get a Master’s degree in urban studies and participate more in public service.
As it celebrates its 75th year, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its over 20,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year in the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Learn more at www.qc.cuny.edu
Assistant Director of News Services