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Assembly internship offers new insights

Senior Francisco Polanco has learned to deal with the politics of life.

The political science major from the Bronx interned last spring with the state Assembly, an experience he said has prepared him for graduation this fall.

“The main problem with college is that we stay within our comfort zone,” he said. “This internship forced me to step out of that zone, and it was the best experience of my life.”

Polanco interned with Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow of Westchester County, a member of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus. He worked daily with lobbyists and various organizations, negotiating budgets and circulating bills.

One of his most challenging and rewarding tasks was being required to prepare and present speeches on short notice.

“You have to think on your own two feet,” Polanco said. “I love thinking under pressure. Pressure is a privilege. For someone to put you in that situation, obviously you’re doing something right.”

In addition, Polanco and his peers created the first intern caucus at the Assembly. The program, which he hopes will serve as a blueprint for a more permanent organization, is run by and caters to the needs of interns.

“Francisco has become a more directed young man, and has become much more confident in his abilities,” said Tanya Robinson, senior assistant director for academic progress at Off Campus College. “The internship was a self-directed opportunity where students had the opportunity to develop their skills because a lot of responsibility was given to them.”

Polanco is exploring post-graduation job options and said he plans to pursue an MBA in a few years.

One of his biggest goals is to give back to the University’s Educational Opportunity Program.

“If it weren’t for EOP, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “They provided me with the academic and financial resources I needed to succeed.”


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Last Updated: 10/14/08