Riverside resident, Quinnipiac student works with municipal government

Five Quinnipiac University students, including Marc Steinberg of Riverside, have spent the last nine weeks getting a first-hand look at how municipal government works.

They are part of the university’s Presidential Public Service Fellowship Program, a course that gives students the opportunity to work in municipal government offices with a department head as a mentor-supervisor. The fellowship is supported by a generous financial donor trust and the federal work-study program.

In addition to Steinberg, this year’s fellows are: Jason Culmone of Wallingford, who was assigned to youth services; Bradley Macdowall of Hamden, who worked on community relations in the mayor’s office; Alexa Panayotakis of Hamden, who was placed in economic development; and Meg Wilson of Pequannock, N.J., who was stationed in police services.

The students tackled a wide variety of projects from working to improve the municipal phone system to helping to create a crime-mapping site that informs visitors where crime has occurred in town over the last three months. They also helped to organize several popular town events, including the weekly farmer’s market and National Night Out, an annual event that promotes community involvement and crime and drug awareness.

“The Quinnipiac Presidential Public Service Fellowship gave me the opportunity to combine the great Quinnipiac University classroom environment with real-world experience,” said Steinberg, a junior political science major who worked in Mayor Curt Balzano Leng’s office. “I was able to work with a team to investigate and begin updating the town of Hamden’s telephone system to ultimately save the town money. I also helped out at the town’s farmer’s market, where I enjoyed meeting members of the Hamden community, local businesses, as well as entrepreneurs who sell their fresh fruits and vegetables and delicious food creations twice a week.”

Culmone, a junior double majoring in political science and philosophy, said, “The public service fellows program is an excellent way to learn about the more detailed workings of local government. I learned not only how the Youth Services Bureau ran on a day-to-day basis, but how the local government of Hamden as a whole is run daily. This fellowship has taught me that I made the right choice in my major.”

Scott McLean, a professor of political science who directs the fellowship program, said Quinnipiac and Hamden have been partnering on this program since 2003.

“I still am amazed how often the students go from saying Hamden is ‘the town,’ to saying, nine weeks later, that Hamden is ‘our town,’” McLean said. “They learn so much about public policy and what it takes to nurture and maintain a municipality. Most of them learn about themselves – that they really have an interest and talent for leadership. This is a different kind of community service than they have experienced before. Most people in public service do great work without making headlines or receiving enough thanks or praise. The students really are treated as professionals in the Hamden government, and they come to share the hopes and mission of community leaders here.”

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 6,500 full-time undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students in 58 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business and Engineering, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the North in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s “Best Colleges” issue. The 2015 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s “Best Colleges” named Quinnipiac as the top up-and-coming school with master’s programs in the Northern Region. Quinnipiac also is recognized in Princeton Review’s “The Best 379 Colleges.” The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Quinnipiac among the “Great Colleges to Work For.” For more information, please visit www.quinnipiac.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Facebook at www.facebook.com/quinnipiacuniversity and follow Quinnipiac on Twitter @QuinnipiacU.

Quinnipiac University student Marc Steinberg of Riverside, left, Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Julie Smith.

Quinnipiac University student Marc Steinberg of Riverside, left, Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Julie Smith.

Quinnipiac University student Marc Steinberg of Riverside helped set up the farmers market in Hamden as part of his work in Quinnipiac’s Presidential Public Service Fellowship Program

Quinnipiac University student Marc Steinberg of Riverside helped set up the farmers market in Hamden as part of his work in Quinnipiac’s Presidential Public Service Fellowship Program

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