Future social worker Sara Bussman spends her summer interning in her chosen field
(Sept. 17, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.–William Smith senior Sara Bussman spent the summer wading through the welfare system and empowering the poor in New York City. It was a vacation any political science major and self-described American politics junkie would cherish.
Working with the Hunger Action Network of New York, Bussman lobbied for legislative change that would provide assistance to those on welfare or those who recently lost their welfare benefits. Her other duties within the for-credit college experience included compiling a transitional benefits packet given to welfare recipients, case workers and social workers that updates them on available services and programs.
Bussman also spent considerable time training people to lobby on their own behalf, and completing paperwork necessary for a grant that will allow the Network to maintain its funding.
“Everything about this internship was new to me,” said the Niskayuna, N.Y., resident.
Most notably, Bussman discovered that there are many people who qualify for programs but are not aware of them. She notes that there are programs that assist with everything from heating to phone bills, food stamps to health care coverage.
Her newfound knowledge reinforces her career decision. Bussman intends to attend graduate school for social work, studying social services and the law, after she graduates in May.
On the HWS campus, Bussman works for America Reads, tutoring children in local schools. She has been a member of the Herons crew team and the College Democrats club. Within the greater Geneva community, she has volunteered as a religion teacher for the St. Francis De Sales Church youth education program.
Because of this internship experience, Bussman, who calls herself an American politics news junkie and is always tuned into NPR or CNN, says she now views the news from a different perspective. “I can now see the complexity of many of the issues being discussed,” she explains.
Bussman was awarded a scholarship from The Bowman Award for Leadership and Civic Engagement at Hobart and William Smith Colleges to participate in this unpaid internship. The financial assistance helped offset her housing and transportation costs.
The fund was established by Hobart alumnus Harry Bowman, of Lake Forest, Ill. During the Colleges’ most recent capital campaign, Bowman initiated the fund to assist students who are interested in internship placements. Bowman’s desire is to help the Colleges become foremost among liberal arts institutions by giving students a chance for real-life work experiences. Bowman is a 1965 graduate of Hobart College and a long-time supporter of Hobart and William Smith.
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