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Political involvement inspires student to lead

Name: Sean Lebowitz
Degree: BA in political science, minor in economics
Plans: Attend Law School at the University of Florida

Getting involved in the political process gave Sean Lebowitz the chance to become a leader. His drive to encourage students to vote and learn about the democratic process has sent him to the helm of campus organizations, the front of classrooms, the U.S. Senate and the stage at this weekend’s Commencement, where he will serve as student speaker for the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences ceremony.

Lebowitz has much to be proud of as the first member of his family to graduate from college. His list of achievements, particularly in leadership positions at Binghamton, would make anyone on campus proud.

Lebowitz has been a resident assistant in Bingham Hall for two years. He calls being an RA “an incredible experience” that taught him mentoring, advising and listening skills, and showed him how people from different walks of life can get along and live together. That role further supported his decision to become a lawyer.

He believes that his best experiences at BU have been his relationships with professors. “They don’t think of you as a number,” he said. “They have personal conversations with you and try to help with your future.” Lebowitz served as a teaching assistant for Steven Scalet, assistant professor of philosophy, whom he said not only makes sure students memorize the material, but also intuitively understand it.

“Sean is a terrific student and asset to the classroom,” Scalet said. “He knows how to take a stand, debate intensely and yet maintain a constructive and friendly atmosphere. Other students respect him and he respects them.”

Joining the BU College Democrats as a freshman was a pivotal step for Lebowitz, because of how his enthusiasm has changed from a mere interest into a self-described obsession. The club elected him vice president in 2001, an office he held until being elected president this year.

Lebowitz’s involvement in College Democrats has been as educational as his classroom experiences, enabling him to meet with former President Bill Clinton, U.S. senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, candidates for the New York State Assembly and several Broome County officials.

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity and experience to work with politicians because it really compliments the study of political science,” Lebowitz said.

As a sophomore, Lebowitz served as vice chair of the Student Association Elections Committee and SA student representative. Last fall, Lebowitz founded and chaired Students for Howard Dean because of his admiration for the former presidential candidate. “Howard Dean constantly said on his campaign trail, ‘It’s you who has the power,’ and he’s absolutely right,” Lebowitz said.

Lebowitz remains fervently committed to the College Democrats’ mission of getting students involved with politics and is ardently advocating for U.S. Senator John Kerry’s bid for office. “We’re trying to convey the message that the two presidential candidates are very different and your vote does matter,” he said.

Lebowitz’s passion for politics carried over to his career when he interned for Schumer last summer. Working in Schumer’s Long Island office, Lebowitz heard constituents’ inquires and concerns and researched potential issues.

Listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, Lebowitz is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Phi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, Golden Key International and the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. He will receive the Edward Weisband Award for Distinguished Achievement in Political Science at Harpur College’s recognition ceremony on May 15.

“I’ve had so many positive experiences at Binghamton, both inside and outside the classroom,” Lebowitz said. “It’s hard to pick one memorable event.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08