2014 Legislative Internship Program
The Connecticut General Assembly Legislative Internship Program, offered every spring during the legislative session, provides an educational opportunity outside the traditional academic setting, bringing on college students as legislative aides to acquaint them with both the formal and informal aspects of the legislative process. Interns do bill analysis and tracking, spot and in-depth research, drafting of news releases and speeches, liaison work, constituent casework, and more. Two QVCC students, Joey Carvalho ’13 and Tyla Potvin ’14, were among the 61 interns from 20 colleges and universities who spent much of the spring semester at the state Capitol in Hartford.
Tyla Potvin ‘14 admits to being a goal-oriented person, and it is clear she knows what she wants. A graduate of Tourtellotte Memorial High School in Thompson, after two years at QVCC she is transferring to the University of Connecticut to major in political science and economics, join ROTC, complete a master’s degree in public administration, and leave Storrs as a commissioned officer in the Air Force.
She also plans to run for public office after college, an interest that was sparked in part by the legislative internship, where she worked with Rep. Jan Giegler of the 138th District and Rep. Richard Smith of the 108th District. Whether writing support for grants, responding to constituent inquiries or problems, doing research, or tracking bills, Potvin was immersed in the legislative process, getting an insider’s view of how Connecticut government works. At 19, she recently became the youngest member of the Killingly Republican Town Committee.
A dean’s list student and member of Phi Theta Kappa, Potvin will receive an associate’s degree in liberal arts and sciences on May 29. She said her success at QVCC “can be measured through my achievements in the classroom, as well as outside of the classroom, including my involvement in Student Government Association and other service learning projects. I could not have had a better college experience thus far.”
Potvin said she is not the typical community college student because she finished her liberal arts degree in four semesters, and she praised the quality of education offered at QVCC. “Over the last two years my experience, education, and opportunities at QVCC have far exceeded my initial expectations,” she explained.
“QVCC opened so many doors for me,” said Potvin, who recently received the Ryan S. Doyle Scholarship and, along with the other interns, a citation for outstanding work from Governor Malloy. “The professors, staff, my peers, and the QVCC Foundation have impacted me in so many profound ways, and for that I will be forever grateful.”
Putnam resident Joey Carvalho '13 received an associate’s degree in fine arts from QVCC in 2013. When transferring to the University of Connecticut, he discovered his major required several classes he had not taken. He opted to return to QVCC to complete those courses, save money and take advantage of smaller class sizes.
As a high school graduate with little sense of direction, Carvalho started college by taking philosophy, history, English, humanities and art. “These all caught my interest and got me asking questions I never asked before,” he said. Being surrounded by the wide variety of students at QVCC, he gained insights into the community and its needs. “It was these insights paired with the bigger questions I was learning to ask in my classes…that stirred my curiosity into how the community works and how to make it better,” he added. With a budding interest in civics, government and politics, applying for the Legislative Internship program was a “no brainer,” he said.
Carvalho, who plans to major in political science and economics, was assigned to intern for Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams of the 29th District. The internship provided knowledge and experience that will serve him well at UConn. “I learned about the committee process, how bills become law – or fail to become law - and most importantly, I learned more about my rights as a citizen and the importance of participating in the democratic process,” he explained. “One would be surprised at how accessible the Capitol and Legislative Office Building are and how an average Joe like me is allowed to participate in the process.”
Asked why he enrolled at QVCC, Carvalho said it was nearby, inexpensive and accessible. “I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to study as I graduated high school,” he added. “My experience at QVCC enabled me to explore my interests on the cheap and learn important lessons in and out of the classroom. There is no place like it.”