Nickolas Bartel

W&J sophomore secures virtual internship with New York State Senate

Created: July 6, 2020  |  Last Updated: July 6, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (July 6, 2020)—The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for many, but Washington & Jefferson College students like Nickolas Bartel are finding creative solutions to continue thriving during this time.

Early in the spring semester, the sophomore political science, environmental studies, and Spanish triple major was looking for internship opportunities just before the world went on lockdown to combat the rapid spread of coronavirus. With the help of W&J’s Career Services department, it didn’t take long for Nickolas to find the opportunity he was searching for.

“While I was looking for potential internships, Jami Klingensmith reached out to me with this opportunity with a joint internship between New York State Senator John Brooks and Democratic nominee Ann Brancato representing the ninth district in the New York Assembly,” he said. “I decided to apply for this position as smaller campaigns typically allow their interns to take on larger assignments and responsibilities. As someone who wants to go into policy research, I wanted to take what I have learned and learn more on the campaign to help bring attention to issues that are important to me, like promoting equity in society.”

His time with the campaign has been fast-paced and a constant learning experience as Nickolas assists with writing, revising, and publishing policy briefs. One of his biggest focuses has been around helping to create policy to decrease unemployment in the state of New York, and he’s written several briefs on fair work practices to reduce employee layoffs during economic downturns. Some of his writing has been incorporated in official campaign policy positions for the Brancato campaign.

Nickolas’s experiences at W&J have helped prepare him for his responsibilities in this internship role.

“Last fall, I took public policy with Professor Risko. In that class, she focused heavily on showing us how to format and create concise and efficient policy briefs,” he said. “Thanks to that class, I have been able to take on more opportunities within the campaign.”

This internship is an early step for Nickolas on his intended career path, where he hopes to work in international policy formation in either the public or private sector.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.