NYS & Assembly Seal

New York State Assembly

Speaker Carl E. Heastie

Phone: (518) 455-4704
Fax: (518) 455-4705

New York State Assembly Internships

The New York State Assembly, since 1971, has offered internships to undergraduate and graduate students. The Assembly Internship is a comprehensive academic program which gives qualified students the chance to work in the state government.

The Assembly Session Intern Program offers full-time, semester-long undergraduate internships. The Assembly Graduate Scholars Program runs from the spring semester through the summer. Each of these internship programs includes awards to cover the cost of living expenses for students while residing in Albany. Students who participate in the New York State Assembly Programs perform substantive work such as research on state legislation, assistance in drafting bills, constituent service and other legislative tasks. The Albany internship programs include an academic component that is intended to enhance student understanding of the politics and process of legislation in the State of New York.

The New York State Assembly established the Intern Committee directed by a bipartisan group of legislators with strong interests in higher education. The Assembly Intern Committee is provided for in the Assembly Rules and is composed of the following legislative leaders: Speaker Pro Tempore, Assistant Speaker, Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chair of the Higher Education Committee, Minority Leader, Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, and Ranking Minority Member of the Higher Education Committee.

The Committee has a permanent staff which carries on the day-to-day activities of the Session Internship. The Committee appoints two Professors-in-Residence from a college or university in New York State each year to teach the regular courses and supervise the educational aspects of the program. The Session Internship is open to New York State residents matriculated in a college or university degree program as juniors or seniors. Out-of-State residents and international students, with the appropriate documentation, who are similarly matriculated in a college or university degree program in the United States, are also eligible to apply. Applicants may be from any major.

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 Carl E. Heastie


Carl E. Heastie is the first African American to serve as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, elected by his Assembly colleagues on February 3, 2015.

In his first budget as Speaker, he worked closely with members of the Assembly Majority to develop a financial plan that made an historic $1.8 billion investment in the education of our students, addressed the homelessness crisis facing our communities and gave working families the resources they need to achieve financial independence. Speaker Heastie is committed to fighting for the reforms and investments that will strengthen our families and uplift all New Yorkers.

Speaker Heastie represents the 83rd A.D. in the northeast Bronx and was first elected to the Assembly in 2000. As a member of the Assembly, he has been one of the leading advocates for the construction of new schools and his vigilance has led to the development of several new schools in his district. In addition, he has secured significant funding for housing, education, after school programming, health and human services, jobs readiness and computer training for constituents.

Amongst his many legislative achievements, Speaker Heastie was a principal negotiator in securing an increase in the minimum wage that took effect January 1, 2014. He was also successful in negotiating increases in unemployment insurance benefits, which had been stagnant since 1998. He was the prime sponsor of the Wage Theft Prevention Act which provided stiffer penalties for employers that steal wages from employees.

Speaker Heastie scored a victory for public health when he championed the passage of a law that prohibited the sale of water containing nicotine to children under 18 years old. He also authored a law to help victims of domestic violence by releasing them from lease obligations if it is found that remaining in the residence would keep the victim in a dangerous environment.

Prior to joining the Assembly, Speaker Heastie served as a budget analyst in the New York City Comptroller's office where he researched, prepared and authored reports on the City's spending patterns. He earned a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in Finance from Bernard M. Baruch College (CUNY) and a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Stony Brook University (SUNY).

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Deborah J. Glick

The Honorable
Deborah J. Glick
Intern Committee Chair

Deborah Glick, a lifelong resident of New York City, has lived in Greenwich Village for over 40 years. A graduate of the City University of New York's Queens College, she received a Master of Business Administration degree from Fordham University. Deborah owned and managed a small printing business in Tribeca before becoming Deputy Director of General Services at the City Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development, where she worked until May 1990.

Deborah's political activism began in college and she is still strongly involved in grassroots organizing. As an elected official, she has focused on civil rights, reproductive freedom, health care, lesbian and gay rights, the environment, housing, higher education, social justice, animal rights and funding for the arts.

Deborah is the first openly lesbian or gay member of the New York State legislature. Her legislative victories include passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), which was finally signed into law in December of 2002, and Assemblymember Glick's Hospital Visitation Bill became law in 2004, providing domestic partners the same rights that spouses and next-of-kin have when caring for a loved one in a hospital or nursing facility. She has worked on issues of concern to women for thirty years, including advocating for reproductive freedom, a change in the rape statutes, and women's health concerns. The Women's Health and Wellness Act, a bill that promotes early detection and prevention of certain medical conditions affecting women, including breast cancer and osteoporosis and provides coverage for contraceptives, became law on January 1, 2003. Deborah has been the lead sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act, to codify Roe vs. Wade in New York State law. This bill has become a component of the Women's Equality Act (WEA), and as a result Deborah has been a leader in passing the full 10-point bill.

Deborah is serving her 13th term in the Assembly. During her tenure, she has been a strong advocate for tenant's rights and has sponsored and won renewal of the Loft Law. This law brings formerly commercial buildings up to residential code and protects current tenants, many of them artists, from eviction. This law became permanent in 2010. Deborah has always been a strong proponent of the arts and has consistently advocated for increases in funding statewide because of her conviction that the arts play a crucial role in the economic and cultural life of New York City and New York State. Currently, she is the sponsor of several measures to protect the rights of tenants, as well as legislation to provide a tax credit to renters.

In February 2007, Deborah was appointed Chair of the Assembly's Higher Education Committee, which oversees all private and public higher education institutions, financial assistance for students, and professional licensing. Deborah also serves on the Ways and Means, Rules, Governmental Operations and Environmental Conservation Committees. Deborah passed a crucial truth in student lending reform. Additionally, in 2013, Deborah was also named Chair of the Assembly's Intern Program.

Deborah authored legislation aimed at improving conditions in New York City's mass transit system including legislation requiring the MTA to make 100 key stations handicap accessible, and that work continues today. She has sponsored legislation promoting pedestrian and driver safety and a phase out of diesel buses to improve air quality in New York City. In 2002, the Legislature passed her graduated licensing bill, which provides a stepped process for young drivers to gain driving experience, prior to receiving full license privileges. It became law on September 15, 2003. Deborah has focused on pedestrian and driver safety by requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, regardless of the side of the road the pedestrian is on. In 2014, she passed legislation authorizing localities to use speed cameras in school zones, and previously advanced legislation permitting red light cameras.

Deborah has also been active in protecting animals. She passed a ban on the electrocution of fur bearing animals, a bill to prohibit the slaughter of domesticated dogs and cats and the use of their fur in novelties. In addition, Deborah brought the Humane Society and NRA together to ban internet hunting. Finally, in 2014, Deborah passed a ban on the sale, possession, breeding or transportation of Eurasian boars. Many of these animals, popular in canned hunts, have escaped and propagate in the wild causing extensive damage to agricultural crops, and endanger the quality of our water supply.

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Kathleen McCarty


Dr. Angela D. Ledford
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Dr. Angela D. Ledford

Angela D. Ledford received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina. She specializes in contemporary political theory (particularly gender theory and transnational social movements and collective violence). She teaches courses primarily in democratic theory, feminist theory, modern political thought, and race and class in America. Dr. Ledford has published articles on topics such as the movement to relocate the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the relationship between political representation and social class. Her first book, Group Representation, Feminist Theory, and the Promise of Justice, was published in 2012 and makes the case for alternative electoral arrangements to increase the representation of women and minorities in America. Dr. Ledford is Professor of Political Science at The College of Saint Rose.

View Dr. Angela D. Ledford's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Anthony J. Maniscalco
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Dr. Anthony J. Maniscalco

"Tony" holds a MA, M. Phil, and Ph.D. in Political Science from the CUNY Graduate Center. He has taught numerous courses in American Politics, Urban Policy and Planning, Constitutional Law, and Political Theory. He has also served as the campus faculty coordinator of the Government and Politics Internship seminars at John Jay College, Hunter College, and Brooklyn College.

Dr. Maniscalco is the author of PUBLIC SPACES, MARKETPLACES, AND THE CONSTITUTION (SUNY Press, 2015), which looks at legal rights of free expression and citizen engagement in cities and suburbs around the United States.

In 2001, Dr. Maniscalco was named Director of the CUNY Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs. Since then, he has developed and led multiple internship programs and academic seminar projects at the City University of New York. Those programs include the Women's Public Service Internship Program and the Caucus Scholars Program. Tony also develops and coordinates the seminar components for the SOMOS Summer Internship Program and the Washington Summer Internship Program. These programs emphasize academic success through experiential learning and active citizenship in local, state, and national affairs.

He has also led two major civic engagement projects — the Model New York State Senate Session, which was established in 1997, and the Model New York City Council, which he created in 2002.

Tony also produces the "CUNY Forum," a televised public policy discussion among college students and faculty, public officials, practitioners, and other experts.

Professor Maniscalco serves as a Senior Researcher/Faculty Affiliate at the Public Space Research Group. He was recently named to the Advisory Board at the Howard J. Samuels State and City Policy Center.

View Dr. Anthony J. Maniscalco's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Wesley D. Nishiyama
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Dr. Wesley D. Nishiyama

Wesley D. Nishiyama received his Ph.D. in Political Science, with an emphasis in Political Theory, from the University at Albany. His dissertation, The Structure of Narratives in Political Theories, investigates how different types of narrative genres are employed by various political theorists to persuade and convey their ideas to particular audiences. In addition, he published Voting Rights for the Homeless, which argues that a single member district representation in the United States at the federal level leads to the disenfranchisement of many of the homeless, and regularly presents his work at conferences on topics showcasing his many interests, including but not limited to, Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Social Choice Theory, and the Electoral College. Dr. Nishiyama has also studied econometrics and served as a researcher for the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society. He teaches courses in Political Theory and American Politics at SUNY Albany. In addition, he teaches International Human Rights and State Government at Sage College of Albany.

Dr. Janet Penksa
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Dr. Janet Penksa

Dr. Penksa has held a number of senior level positions in academia and the public and private sectors. She launched her career in the New York State Legislature as a Graduate Scholar on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. She rose to the appointed position of Secretary to the Ways and Means Committee in 1993, making her the first woman in the history of New York State to oversee one of the three key state fiscal offices in Albany. Dr. Penksa subsequently served as an Associate Vice President at the University at Buffalo from 1999-2005, overseeing the Office of Government Affairs.

From 2007 to 2012, Dr. Penksa served as Commissioner of Administration, Finance, Policy and Urban Affairs for the City of Buffalo. Among her accomplishments, Dr. Penksa directed the city’s fiscal management practices that resulted in the end of the NYS imposed financial control period and increases in the city’s Wall Street credit ratings to “A” grade, the highest in over 40 years.

Dr. Penksa received her doctorate from the University at Buffalo. She earned a master’s of public administration and an undergraduate degree at SUNY Binghamton. She has been a Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs and a Visiting Associate Professor at Buffalo State College, teaching public budgeting, metropolitan governance, and strategic planning for not-for-profit agencies and government in its MPA program.

View Dr. Janet Penksa's Curriculum Vitae

Supporting Staff

Debra A. Sanders
Deputy Director


Former Professors-in-Residence

  • Dr. Dennis R. DeLong, 1978-1981, Empire State College, SUNY
  • Dr. Michael E. Lynch, 1981-1982, SUNY College at Oneonta
  • Dr. Shirley E. Ostholm, 1982-1984, York College, CUNY
  • Dr. Andrew D. Virgilio, 1982-1984, The College at Brockport, SUNY
  • Dr. Jeffrey M. Stonecash, 1984-2005, Syracuse University, Maxwell School
  • Dr. Robert F. Pecorella, 1986-2005, St. John's University
  • Dr. Helen Desfosses, 2006-2011, University at Albany, Rockefeller College
  • Dr. Dennis C. Smith, 2006-2015, New York University, Wagner College