Brockport Student Readies Herself for Internship Opportunities.
When Hannah Wenzel first came to SUNY Brockport, State University of New York, her backup plan was Business Administration. After her second semester, she took a leap of faith—diving headfirst into the a Political Science Major with the Department of Political Science & International Studies. Since then, Wenzel has excelled in her new major.
“I was doing business, because I thought that if I don’t become a lawyer I’ll open a business,” Wenzel says. “I ended up looking into other majors that fill the requirement of what they’re looking for at law schools. The Political Science Department was right down the hall from the Business office, and I walked in one day and talked to the advisor.”
According to Wenzel, the transition was an “instant click,” even though she admits that her interest in politics had never been a focal point in her life. Now, the 20-year-old has a new outlook on life—one that could lead to a career in law or in politics.
Part of Wenzel’s future plans involve the SUNY Washington Internship Program—a study abroad program that allows students to get first-hand experience in different government, business and legal offices. Brockport alumnus and former Congressman John Faso started his career path with this same internship more than 40 years ago.
“They can place you anywhere,” Wenzel says on the opportunities offered through the internship. “If you want to be with a Supreme Court Judge or if you want to look into the criminal justice side of things, you can really do whatever you want. There’s even science internships out there.”
Though the offerings of the internship program are vast for a Political Science Major, Wenzel has set her sights high. She plans on applying to intern in the Supreme Court Justice system in her senior year. To ready herself for the competitive application process, she has been looking into summer internship opportunities that could give her a leg up on the competition.
“I’m looking forward to getting an internship this summer that I can use that as a prerequisite for a bigger internship in Washington,” Wenzel says. “I’m looking at some local law offices—maybe some out in Buffalo because it’s close. I actually did a program through high school that was downtown, so I have a couple of connections there at the courts.”
As for Wenzel’s ambitions, she has always wanted to be a state prosecutor. During her years attending Greece Athena High School, she was involved in the New Visions Program through the Monroe County BOCES program. Not only did this program get her acquainted with the court system, while visiting law offices in Buffalo, but it also offered her first glimpse at the Brockport campus. Although Wenzel was introduced to the Brockport campus while she was still in high school, she first attended a small private school in Pennsylvania before rerouting her college career.
“I did not like it just because it was too small,” Wenzel says, noting her college experience in Pennsylvania. “It’s way bigger here. Some people might think it would be less comfortable than a small private school, but there is more opportunity, and more people to talk to [at Brockport]. In Pennsylvania there was just one building with all the classes, and it was weird. It’s nice to have other voices than just a couple professors.”
After one semester at the small private school, Wenzel realized that she needed a change. She decided to pack her bags and return to her family’s North Chili home where she could live while attending Brockport.
“I always had Brockport in the back of my mind,” Wenzel says. “I’d been on campus before, so I knew where I was going and what to expect.”
Since coming to back to Western N.Y., Wenzel credits her college success to support she has received from faculty within the Department of Political Science & International Studies. She specifically noted the encouragement that Associate Professor Mark J Chadsey, Associate Professor Susan Orr, and Department Chair and Associate Professor Dena Levy has given her.
“You know what you’re doing when you’re talking to those people,” she says. “They give you hope.”
Recently, Wenzel was asked to be a presenter at Scholars Day for a project she worked on in Levy’s Theater and Politics class. Wenzel’s knack for persuasion, along with her flare for the dramatic (she minors Theatre), has helped her win arguments in Levy’s class.
“We put together a five to seven minute presentation about a topic with the intent to persuade the audience,” Wenzel says. “In class, we presented arguments on the death penalty. We had to either put that into a skit, or a panel. For Scholars Day, we talked about gun control.”
Wenzel was also featured in a Scholars Day presentation for the class Theatre and Dilemmas of Society.