Rutgers students recognized by NJ legislature

<p>The internship program was sponsored by the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and student interns were given the opportunity to work directly with state legislators and policy makers.</p>

The internship program was sponsored by the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and student interns were given the opportunity to work directly with state legislators and policy makers.


The New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly passed a joint resolution on Dec. 16 recognizing five students, four of whom are from Rutgers University—Newark, for their significant contributions during their summer internships, according to a press release. 

The internship program was sponsored by the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus and the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation (NJLBCF), which aim to promote public policy by connecting the community with elected officials, according to the release. 

The NJLBCF partnered with the Rutgers University–Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA), the Department of Political Science and the Office of University-Community Partnerships.

“Many of the students had not had the opportunity to work with legislators and policy makers,” said Dr. Diane Hill, assistant chancellor for university-community partnerships at the Newark campus, according to the release. “This program provided them with hands-on knowledge and supports them as change agents.” 

The students, who worked in the districts where they lived, were chosen based on their interest in legislative initiatives, district development and government operations. 

The students from Rutgers University included School of Arts and Sciences—Newark (SASN) seniors Elijah Brown and Assatta Mann, SASN junior Brandon Mathieson and SPAA graduate student Ricky Stephens, according to the release. Jada Grisson, an undergraduate at The College of New Jersey, also participated. 

“This internship has helped me increase my knowledge of political science and has given me a passion for working in politics,” Brown said. 

The lawmakers who hosted the interns included City Council Chairman Chris James of East Orange, Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly (D-N.J.), Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake (D-N.J.), Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-N.J.) and Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-N.J.), according to the release. 

The students were able to work directly with their legislators and policy directors during their internships, according to the release. They also worked on developing policy solutions that addressed various issues within their district or the Black community.

Mathieson said the internship allowed them to have hands-on experience in the political field that provided a different learning experience than working in a classroom. Mann said she enjoyed working in her own district, according to the release.

“It has been a worthwhile and meaningful experience,” Mann said, according to the release. “It provided experience in how politics works at the local and state level.”

Stephens said he was hired as a legislative aide by Holley after completing his internship, according to the release. He said students should make the most of their opportunities. 

“There is something to take away from both the good and the bad experiences. It’s about really keeping things in perspective and using your experiences as tools to reach your professional goals,” Stephens said. 


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