Interning at the Legislative Gazette five years ago has had a tremendously positive impact on my life. While my career path has led me away from journalism, I always think of myself as a journalist at heart because of those exciting few months. Beyond writing well and knowing how to ask questions, being a young journalist in New York state politics teaches a college student many life lessons.
My favorite story to tell about The Legislative Gazette occurred on my first day interning. I walked into the office, and Editor Jamie Gormley let me know that I was in for a very special day because Governor Andrew Cuomo was holding a press conference, and I was going to attend. On my very first day as an intern just after finishing my sophomore year, I found myself sitting next to reporters from the New York Times, only a few dozen feet away from the Governor of New York state. This was an extremely exciting moment for me, but I stayed focused throughout the press conference and diligently took notes. As an inexperienced intern surrounded by seasoned professionals, I quickly learned the virtue of “fake it ‘til you make it.”
Anytime I have felt nervous in a high-pressure situation since then, I always think back on this moment. Recently, as an early career marketing professional at a large tech company, I have been lucky to work at a conference where my team was hoping to impress several executives. While I could sense nervousness around me, I thought of that press conference. I had the confidence to handle anything that happened, and my exciting first day as a Legislative Gazette intern helped.
A second, more serious lesson I learned is feeling comfortable being one of the few women in the room. According to a February 2017 article in the Albany Times Union, in New York state, just 27.2 percent of state lawmakers at that time were women. It was not much different during my internship in 2012. Reporting on New York state politics early on in my career made me realize just how few women we have elected, but also the importance of women’s voices in government and beyond. It additionally helped me become accustomed to being in male-dominated professional settings.
Through this realization, I also found a female leader who inspires me. Toward the end of my internship, I reported on an event that US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at, and I was in awe of how she spoke with authority, yet could interact with everyone with such empathy. I was very fortunate to find a role model in Senator Gillibrand that day as she made an important and lasting impression on me as a young adult.
From opportunities to interact with the most important elected officials in our state, to unique experiences that shaped my worldview, I will always be grateful for my internship with the Legislative Gazette.