July 2023 Student Spotlight
Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs student, Staci Steinfeld tells us about her internship at the New York State Senate, being a peer mentor in the Baruch Dean’s Scholars honors program, and more.
What has your internship at the State Senate in Albany been like?
This internship has been one of the most rewarding experiences. While working for Senator Kevin Thomas, I’ve researched and drafted legislation, tracked bills, and seen the budget process play out. It’s been eye-opening to understand what elected officials do daily and get firsthand policy-making experience. This is a great opportunity for undergraduates to receive work experience while earning college credits and I’d highly recommend this program to anyone interested in politics or public service.
What’s it like being a peer mentor in the Baruch Dean’s Scholars honors program?
I always try to be active on campus, even from Albany, and peer mentoring has allowed me to stay in touch with students even while I’m not physically at Baruch. Transitioning from high school to college isn’t easy and I’m humbled to be able to advise new students and refer them to campus resources they don’t know are available to them. I’m constantly learning about clubs, majors, and classes as a peer mentor and I’m so thankful to have spent the last year in this position.
How has your BSPA experience been thus far? What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your classes?
The longer I’m in the BSPA program, the more I realize that Public Affairs is the perfect major for me. The coursework and professors are unparalleled and there are so many extracurricular and internship opportunities for those interested in the public and nonprofit sectors. I’ve learned many important lessons from BSPA classes, but the most important is to get to know your classmates and professors. Not only can they help you get through your semester, but they also have experiences and suggestions that you may be interested in learning more about or even pursuing later on. Another important lesson I’ve learned is to be proud of being a Public Affairs student! In my experience, a lot of Marxe and Weissman students feel inferior to students in Zicklin who work with prestigious companies and are said to have more difficult coursework. Ultimately, we public affairs majors will be the ones who create change and improve our communities; we should be confident in the great work we do.
What brought you to the Marxe School? What’s next for you?
I’ve always been interested in a career in public service, so the Marxe school seemed like a good place to set the foundation. The public sector is broad, and I’ve considered too many specific fields to pursue after college, from working as a public defender for children in family courts to becoming an executive for a nonprofit. Since coming to Albany, I’m leaning towards continuing legislative work and running for office one day. But before then, I’m looking forward to my last year at Baruch College and seeing what’s in store for the future!