Lauren Szczesny’s classroom for the spring 2015 semester is in the state capitol. She’s earning 12 credit hours while interning in the Albany office of Assemblywoman Addie Russell. Russell represents the 116th District which covers portions of the north country counties of Jefferson and St. Lawrence. In the above photo Szczesny is on the left, Russell is on the right.
Szczesny came to OCC from Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square with a strong interest in Criminal Justice, but that changed when she took a class in Social Problems with Professor Glenda Gross. “She taught the course in such a passionate way it really opened my eyes to the big picture when it came to serious issues throughout our country and the world. It made me want to be part of good, positive change. I thought the political realm would be a perfect place to make a change.”
Szczesny started taking political science courses and loved everything about them. When the opportunity to spend a semester interning in state government presented itself she jumped at it. Szczesny now works five days a week helping with whatever is needed. She also attends workshops and issue forums where timely topics and current events are discussed.
Early in the semester Szczesny had a front row seat for one of the most memorable events in New York State Government history when Sheldon Silver, the Assembly Speaker for 21 years, was arrested on federal corruption charges. “The weeks surrounding his arrest were very chaotic. Nothing could be accomplished without leadership. Once a new speaker was approved we crammed about three weeks of work into a few days.”
Szczesny’s semester in Albany has been a period she will always remember. “Every day I learn something new here. It’s one thing to learn politics and government through a textbook. Working in it is a whole different world and an aggressive but good way to learn.”
Szczesny is a Liberal Arts major. She’s scheduled to graduate December 2015.