NORTH HAVEN — Quinnipiac University students will get a first-hand look at how municipal government works this summer, as part of the school’s Presidential Public Service Fellowship Program.
“As a hands-on learner, I am excited about the opportunity to be able to gain real life experience in the field,” said student Michael Ciacciarella, a civil engineering major, in a statement.
Ciacciarella, of Naugatuck, will work with the Department of Engineering. He will be joined by Joy Aliano, of Stratford, and Andy Stafa, of Beacon Falls, in the Public Works Department.
“We are pleased to continue our participation in the Presidential Public Service Fellowship Program with Quinnipiac University and value the relationship that we have with President Judy Olian and the university,” North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda said in a statement. “We are looking forward to getting to know the students and provide them with the opportunity to put their education into practice, develop their skills and add to their experiences.”
Freda said the fellows are “bright, articulate young men and women eager to learn and take on new challenges and responsibilities” and they often bring new perspectives and energy into the town.
The fellowship program began in 2003 as a way to provide students with an opportunity to work in municipal government offices, getting hands-on experience and mentorship from the department heads.
Quinnipiac University Professor of political science Scott McLean directs the fellowship program and said the school strives to educate students in civic leadership and public service, an educational ideal which the fellowship embodies.
“Our fellows collaborate with public leaders and citizens on a project to benefit the community, but there is even greater value in experiencing direct engagement with people who benefit from local services and community-based programs,” said McLean in a statement.
“The national debates between Republicans and Democrats are not so divisive at the local level, where effective government depends on respectful listening to residents’ concerns, learning how to ask new questions, and being open to innovative ideas to solving practical problems," he added.
Seven students are also assigned to Hamden town offices. The fellowship is supported by a financial donor trust and the federal work-study program, according to Quinnipiac University.