Marist offers a range of experiential opportunities that have captured the attention of its “politically involved, bright students.” For students interested in anything to do with media, politics, government, public policy, activism, or foreign affairs, Marist offers ways to intern, study abroad, and research at home. Undergraduate researchers work with faculty members as part of a team, and can participate in case study competitions requiring intensive research and presentation among a national audience.
The Marist in Manhattan internships help students to get practical experience in the worlds of art, fashion or media. Students get college credit for interning with top companies and complement their on-the-job experiences with group activities, lectures, and networking opportunities. A broad range of options means there is room for just about any interest. Past interns have worked at CNN, NBC News, and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report as well as at other media outlets, museums, presses, and fashion houses.
Marist students also prize the “help [they get] with obtaining internships outside of New York State,” an international business student said. Through the Washington Semester Program, hosted by the School of Professional and extended Studies at American University, Marist students study and work with other undergraduates from around the globe. Here, too, students attend class and work as interns, but during their Washington Semester, Marist students will also “have the option of choosing to conduct an in-depth research project using Washington, D.C. as a laboratory of information or to take an elective class from [American University’s] hundreds of offerings to fulfill an academic requirement,” according to American. Students gain access to the program’s extensive network of organizations for internship opportunities and resources that help with résumés, cover letters, and interview prep. On the other side of the Atlantic, in association with the London School of Economics and Political Science, Marist students in the Hansford Scholars Program follow the same model of study and internship as they discover the British political system. Students engage in academic work that includes classes, guest lectures, and supervised research, and work as interns with “an NGO, a government department, a lobbying group, or in the Houses of Parliament themselves.”
Marist has several programs that help students integrate service into their educational experience, whereby, as a criminal justice major told us, “Marist provides a quality educations with a strong emphasis on making connections and giving back to the community.” One such program is the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership, or CCEL, which aims to develop leadership skills by helping students get involved with local community organizations. Through programs like the Tarver Summer Internships, named after community leader and civil rights activist, Marie Tarver, CCEL teaches students how to be creative and independent while working alongside existing organizations toward a common goal. These paid internships require students to design and execute a project in coordination with a faculty member, who serves as a mentor, and a community organization, which provides the infrastructure for the student’s project. Students have a wide degree of latitude when developing their project, but they must select a community partner from an approved list of organizations from the Hudson River Valley. In consultation with their mentor and the local organization’s director, interns identify key issues their work will address and how the project’s objectives align with the strategic goals of the organization. Experiences like these help students manage multiple lines of communication and develop strategies to integrate their ideas into existing action networks—increasingly important skills as the world becomes more interconnected, and resources, including institutional infrastructures, more limited. Through the internship, students learn how to develop actionable plans, coordinate resources, measure effects, and present their results to the campus community.
Dahley Turner, a 2014 Tarver Intern, with the help of her mentor, associate professor of social work Daria Hanssen, developed a youth intervention program in association with an organization called Liberty Partnership Program, or LPP. LPP is a local initiative sponsored by Marist and funded by the New York State Department of Education to help at-risk high school students develop skills that will help them succeed in college and their careers. LPP works with the local school districts and has extensive access to at-risk students. Dahley worked with the director of LPP to develop and implement “a self-confidence building curriculum” and devised a method to measure the intervention’s impact through pre- and post-assessments, according to the college. She then prepared a report on the intervention’s findings to the campus community.
The program makes it easy for students to devote an entire summer to their project because the internship includes free campus housing during the summer, three free tuition credits, and a significant stipend. By devoting all of their time to the project, students get a more realistic idea of what full-time project coordination and development feels like, and it helps them develop follow-through skills while granting them a sense of project ownership.
Marist has a robust leadership development program. The Emerging Leaders Program offers students a series of workshops, lectures, and activities that cover everything from basic leadership skills, like effective evaluation and feedback, to specific leadership plans, such as leadership during a transition or how to deal with poor performance or low participation within an organization. The program is free to students, and the college offers a certificate to those who complete five or more programs. The college has recently added the Raymond A. Rich Institute for Leadership to its repertoire of leadership programs. Endowed by the industrialist Raymond A. Rich, the Institute for Leadership is housed on a historic estate about ten miles north of campus. The institute helps students develop “communication, interpersonal, and social skills necessary to lead complex organizations in a global setting,” according to Dean Rinehart, by establishing campus residencies for leaders from government, corporations and nonprofits, hosting leadership conferences, and providing students with workshops. The institute aims to “encourage potential leaders to become better at motivating others through consideration and persuasion, and to foster dedication to a better social and economic environment,” Dean Rinehart told us
Any student interested in government or public policy knows that the pollster is the campaign manager’s best friend. Marist students have a privileged opportunity to put their finger on the pulse of America and learn the challenges of polling. One student told us that being “home to the Marist Poll” was one of the college’s greatest strengths. The Marist Institute for Public Opinion conducts the Marist Poll, a long-established and well-respected poll used by journalists and analysts around the world. In 1978, it became the first survey center embedded in a college to engage undergraduate students in the business of survey research. Students participate in every aspect of the dynamic polling process, which “[allows] them to weave political science, computing, communications, marketing, and psychology into an interdisciplinary learning experience,” according to the college. Through the institute students have access to “employment, internships, conferences, and seminars with leading journalists, pollsters, and government officials.” Because the Marist Poll covers a wide range of issues on local and national scales, students are sure to find work relevant to their interests.
But the Marist Institute for Public Opinion should appeal to more than just political science students. As polling is used in nearly every social science and is a huge component of marketing, the institute offers great opportunities for students to work on something bigger than a class project. It also gives students a chance to see how polls are constructed and interpreted, and students are likely to explore how concepts of behavioral economics, like message framing and anchoring, work in a real-world context.