For those invested in social justice, witnessing legislation in action and working hands-on with advocacy programs is nothing short of an incredible opportunity. This summer, Amanda Ward ’11 is working as a summer undergraduate intern at the Buffalo Office of Senator Chuck Schumer and as a program development intern at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center, gaining firsthand experience in the political realm and directly helping the lives of those in need.
Ward interned for Schumer last summer and decided to apply for the position again because of her positive experience. At the Senator’s office, Ward works as front desk intern, helping any constituents who come to the office. She also handles constituent phone calls and letters and works with press clippings.
“When Senator Schumer is in Buffalo I will help with events, organize press release folders for his speeches and attend press conferences,” says Ward. “I also compile research on different areas that are of interest to the Senator.” She was recently assigned the duty of helping constituents with questions or problems relating to grant work.
For Ward, the greatest challenge is dealing with callers she cannot help. “Some of the stories I hear are heartbreaking. I really want to help these people, but my hands are tied with certain issues. I feel terrible when I can’t resolve their problems right away.”
In spite of the challenges, Ward appreciates witnessing the legislative process. “As a political science major, I love seeing how Senator Schumer relates to constituents and how he handles their concerns,” she explains. “I also love to see the research work we interns do go into speeches, press releases, and bills that are developed. Seeing the legislation process first-hand is incredible!”
Ward found her second internship at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center through her high school mentor, with whom she worked to develop a student led non-violence conflict resolution program to be presented at high schools in her local area.
“Based on my work with him on that project and my work lobbying for increased afterschool funding, he offered me a position to help him develop programs for an inner-city summer day camp,” says Ward, who will begin work July 1.
“I am anxious to see how campers respond to the programs we developed. I hope I’ll learn a lot about children’s program development, especially by creating more programs based to fit the campers’ individual needs. Because these programs are new, I’ll have to be on my toes so I can respond to any problems and challenges that might arise,” she explains. “Afterschool programming and school conflict-resolution have been passions of mine since high school. I am very excited to be developing programs that I can put into effect firsthand.”
Ward is a double major in international social justice (an individual major) and political science with a minor in English. She has participated in the March of Remembrance and Hope, the Egypt summer program, HWS Leads, Amnesty International, Student Activists for Darfur, Rotaract, Americans for Informed Demoracy, Social Justice Collective, Learn 2 Lead, Laurel Society, Project Nur, Relay for Life, HWS Votes, HWS Responds, and Hai Timai. She is also the Bonner Leader for Political Engagement and studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In the photo above Ward reads to elementary students in Geneva.