Ten Quinnipiac University students spent this summer gaining valuable hands-on experience in local government.
The university awarded Presidential Public Service Fellowships to juniors and seniors to help them gain a clear understanding of how town governments operate.
“The mission of the fellowship is both educational and civic,” said Scott McLean, professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the program. “The fellowship seeks to expose fellows to the workings of municipal government, the history of the community and issues of economic development.”
Fellows go through an extensive orientation program and bi-weekly seminar/dinners with guest public servants who help them reflect on their experiences in the town, he said. The program began on June 4 and wrapped up on Aug. 3.
"The fellowship is an excellent opportunity for Quinnipiac students to immerse themselves in the Hamden community,” said Mayor Scott Jackson. “They bring a fresh perspective to our municipal environment, creating a mutually beneficial relationship. These are the best and the brightest that Quinnipiac has to offer and we are very fortunate to have them with us each summer.”
“The program has helped me better understand and realize how the various functions of government work, the great interconnectedness and interdepartment reliability necessary in order for governments to function efficiently and effectively, as well as how necessary governments actually are to communities and large groups of people in terms of improving the town for the better in all aspects as well as the lives of the residents through the various commissions and boards that focus on certain problems and complaints and seek to fix them,” said Tyler Yanosy, of Hamden, who worked in Hamden’s finance/risk management office.
“This program has given me first-hand experience and a better understanding of government functions in relation to serving the public," he said, "not only from a financial standpoint, but also from a community-focused standpoint, which, for me, really hits home being from and living in Hamden.”
Quinnipiac has placed students throughout the Hamden government since the fellowship’s inception, and have expanded its presence in North Haven over the past two years.
“The program provides a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience local government and exposes them to the challenges and rewards of day to day management and operations,” said North Haven First Selectman Michael J. Freda. “It is certainly a wonderful growth experience for the students while providing a value to the town of North Haven.”
John Muzzy, of Greenville, Maine, worked in the North Haven first selectman’s office.
“What you learn in the classroom is very important but it can only do so much for you,” Muzzy said. “Certain skills can only be ascertained and further developed by getting genuine experience. This fellowship has made me take varying information I’ve learned from multiple classes and apply it in a real-world instance.”
The civic benefits to the community of Hamden and North Haven is to have fully subsidized, full-time fellows who can offer their technical skills and energy to specific programs and projects identified by town department heads, McLean said.
This year’s recipients are: Kristen Daniels, of Shelton; Ashley Hartle, of Bellefonte, Penn.; Amy Maciejowski, of Woodbridge, N.J.; Evangelos Milas, of Woodbridge, Conn.; John Muzzy, of Greenville, Maine; Jenna Pederson, of Wilton, Maine; Tori Rice, of Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; Susan Riello, of Hamden; Catherine Tobin of Bogota, N.J. and Tyler Yanosy, of Hamden.