2016 NPI Fellow,
Office of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
Major/minor: Senior Political Science and Economics double major
Hometown: Spokane, WA
Organization: Communications Intern at Office of Major Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose
Give a brief summary of your responsibilities/tasks in the internship.
As the Communications Intern at the Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo I was an integral part of the overall communications staff. In addition to compiling media clips, responding to constituent mail, summarizing City Council agenda items for media, and assisting with a week-ahead view of the Mayor’s public schedule, I assisted with special projects and events, like the State of the City Address. I also assisted with projects in other teams, such as Strategic Partnerships, including civic innovation work, and Policy, such as research work.
How do you think you made positive contributions to the department/organization?
First, I feel that I was able to assist with some of the more “nitty-gritty” items that take place in the Mayor’s Office, such as responding to constituent mail, that would have gone undone had it not been for an intern in the office. The Mayor’s Office has a lot of dedicated staff who are always quite busy, so to be able to provide some level of support is actually a huge contribution. Beyond that, I feel that I’ve had a lasting impact. I assisted with “Unleash Your Geek” civic innovation work, and helped staff State of the City. Hopefully at the very least, I had my hand in enough tasks to make a real impact each day.
How did this experience enhance or connect to what you are learning in your LSB or other courses?
As a political science/economics double-major, this internship was the perfect fit for me. Instantly I noticed the connections between my political science courses and my position. The public policymaking process can be incredibly difficult, and it can engage many stakeholders. Part of the challenge is keeping people and the public informed during the process. That was part of my job at the Mayor’s Office; keeping the public informed. Beyond that, I also worked on a number of really innovative and creative projects that aren’t happening in other cities; in this way, I had the chance to contribute my analysis skills—in both policy and economics. Is this an economical solution? Might there be legal issues? The Unleash Your Geek tasks have been the most exciting, because they’re fresh and new, and no other city is doing this type of thing.
What was the most beneficial aspect of this experience for you?
Generally, the most beneficial experience has been the opportunity to learn by doing in a field that I genuinely love. I’ve been assisted by outstanding, excellent mentors who I can tell care about my development and growth as a professional and as a person. I’ve had the opportunity to have my hands in many projects, and I’ve had the opportunity to see my work go “public,” so to speak—whether in posters or emails. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to learn more about local government and confirm my interest in the field.