Village hosts internship pilot program
The Village of Garden City is currently hosting a pilot internship program this summer for four Adelphi University students. The eight-to-10-week test run is also the first time the school has partnered with a municipality, according to its Center for Career Services.
Planning started in May when Mayor John Watras approached Village Administrator Ralph Suozzi about the possibility of hiring interns during July and August. Suozzi, who said he had student interns at his last job, said the program helps provide college students with experience in exchange for a new perspective for village officials.
“The idea was to bring in interns to supply us with fresh eyes mixed with current skills [and] with youthful energy,” Suozzi said.
Thomas Ward, executive director for Adelphi’s Center for Career Development, said the school is always looking for new ways to partner with various organizations to provide it’s students with different opportunities, so it didn’t take much to convince it to get on board. The university has had companies such as GEICO insurance and Michael Kors, among others, accept student applications in the past, according to its website.
“I think that is the biggest thing: students get practical, hands-on learning experience,” Ward said when asked about the importance of internships in higher education. “They’re able to work with, and in a good situation certainly like this one with the village, have mentors who can instruct them on things that they’re doing well and things that they need to improve on.”
Suozzi said he had originally received six applications total—three from Ward and three from Neil Holloran, a graduate professor and the internship coordinator at the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business—although more poured in as word spread amongst students. In order to keep the pilot program manageable, Suozzi said he only accepted four students with majors varying from psychology and marketing to political science and finance.
Holloran said the school is glad to now have a relationship with the Village of Garden City.
“We are very excited about it,” Holloran said.
In terms of what the interns are doing on a day-to-day basis varies slightly, considering the group meets with different village department heads every week, Suozzi said. The main goal of their work however is to compile data, he said, looking for trends in spending and ways to cut costs through constructing graphs and reports.
Alexa Savino, one of the interns and a senior political science and English double major at Adelphi, said she was drawn towards the research aspect of the position as well as learning about government on the local level in relation to her studies.
“We got to hear, first hand from [department heads], what kind of needs they have,” Savino said, “so we are drafting needs assessment reports to understand maybe if there is something we can help them with, in terms of numbers and finding trends and expenditure, or if there are any needs they can help each other address.”
By doing this, the interns will be able to provide the village with a record of these concerns and statistics, Savino said.
“When we get all the reports, we put things together like comparative annual reports or from 2007 through now, what did the pool expenditure look like or what revenues looked like or where their deficits were, where can changes be made,” Savino, a Massapequa native, said.
Looking to the future, Suozzi said the village hopes to expand the size of the program as well as to incorporate other surrounding schools. He also said there is a potential to acquire year-round interns for the village as well. Adelphi also has an interest in maintaining the partnership, according to Ward.
Regardless, Savino said she is grateful for the experience and is happy to lend a hand.
“I think my favorite part is the fact that we are actually contributing to something that we know long term will have some kind of tangible benefit,” she said. “We know that what we’re doing is actually going to push the village in a certain direction as far as reporting goes and that can be really helpful.”