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Cornell University Cornell Brooks Public Policy

Capital Semester

Experience a paid internship in the New York State Legislature 

For wherever your policy interests may be— higher education, healthcare, environmental conservation, economic development, or elsewhere— Cornell offers the unique opportunity to help students begin careers in public service, public policy, politics and government.

Experience a paid internship in the New York State Legislature, earning up to 12 credits. Please contact your college and program for specific credit requirements.

Opportunities are available for both undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of major.

Undergraduate Capital Semester students are full time Assembly or Senate interns who spend the spring semester living in Albany and working in one of the most vibrant and student-centered cities in New York State.

NYS Senate Fellows are graduate students who spend both fall and spring semesters working in the legislature. NYS Assembly Graduate Interns participate during the spring semester.


“While interning in the New York State Senate, I got to work closely with a Senator and play a critical role evaluating policies and providing recommendations. I met with lobbyists, special interest groups and concerned constituents on behalf of the Senator on practically a daily basis. I also assisted in writing briefings and conducting policy research. My experience in the Senate was rewarding, substantive and very ‘hands on.’ I highly recommend this internship opportunity for students who want to experience and be part of policy decision-making in an exciting work environment— it was, by far, the best experience for me.”

Joshua Mbanusi 


Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students will be placed in an Assembly member or Senator’s office. Responsibilities may include conducting research, responding to constituent correspondence, tracking legislation, and attending and reporting on a variety of meetings with legislators, lobbyists and other interest groups. The Cornell Capital Internship Liaison will make every attempt to ensure interns are working in offices that support their policy interests.

In addition to daily duties, both the Assembly and Senate each have their own program expectations and unique events, such the annual Mock Legislative Session. Please see individual applications for program descriptions.

Undergraduate interns receive a $6,600 stipend. Note that if you are receiving financial aid, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) remains the same for the academic year and aid is adjusted according to the higher or lower costs of the program. Students should contact Financial Aid to discuss this prior to applying for the internship.

Undergraduate applicants must contact campus liaison, Zoë Nelson, before applying to either the NYS Assembly or NYS Senate program. Graduate students may apply directly, but are welcome to connect with Zoë for any additional information or questions. 

For additional detailed information and complete applications, see NYS Assembly website and NYS Senate website.


“This program not only enables one to learn about the functioning of a state legislature and the inner-workings of state politics, but also to immerse into a community that is more than Cornell – the opportunity to work with more than 100 interns from different universities, backgrounds and even countries. Coupled with the chance to work closely with a real-life politician and his or her political team, this semester-long program is indeed a unique offering even within an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

Isaac Lee 


Graduate students

Graduate interns and fellows perform more in-depth policy work, attend session and perform many other duties vary depending on Assembly or Senate placement. More information can be found on the NY Assembly website and NY Senate website.

Applicants apply directly to the program. Contact Zoë Nelson for additional details.  


Located just one block from the Capitol, Cornell’s Office of State Government Relations represents the university before the executive and legislative branches of state government and among other stakeholders to secure state funding and otherwise advance university priorities. Interns are highly encouraged to use the office as a resource throughout their time in Albany.


Capital Semester students live in Albany, an energetic and student-friendly city. Although Cornell does not provide designated housing, Cornell students are given guidance in establishing their residence in Albany. Many interns quickly find housing typically at nearby universities or within walking distance of the Capitol and Empire State Plaza.

Application Questions?

Please contact Zoë Nelson for full application details. 

Zoë Nelson
Cornell University
Office of State Government Relations
126 State Street, Suite 200
Albany, NY 12207-1637